TCU’s Duggan Among Heisman Finalists


Max Duggan steps back to throw in TCU’s 38–31 victory against Kansas. | Image by Jay Biggerstaff/USA TODAY Sports

The finalists for the 2022 Heisman Trophy have been announced, and TCU’s Max Duggan is one of the candidates.

Duggan is joined by Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, Georgia’s Stetson Bennett, and USC’s Caleb Williams. All four candidates are quarterbacks this year. Stroud was a finalist in 2021. Williams is currently the projected front-runner. The final decision will be announced on December 10.

Duggan was far from an anticipated candidate for college football’s biggest honor at the start of the season. In fact, the 21-year-old was not even a starter in Week 1 but was pressed into action when Chandler Morris went down with an injury.

Morris was an off-season transfer who overtook Duggan in the preseason. Duggan was the starter for TCU the previous three seasons under former head coach Gary Patterson, but was told prior to the start of 2022 by new head coach Sonny Dykes that Morris would start.

“I’m probably as proud of Max as any player I’ve been around,” Dykes said after the Colorado win. “He never had a bad practice. He never pouted. He never thought of himself one time. How many people can you truly say that about? I’m kind of emotional about it, honestly. He’s the way you’d want your son to handle that situation.”

The demotion was just another hurdle in the way of Duggan’s rise from a kid growing up in Council Bluffs, Iowa, to the starting quarterback of a Horned Frogs team that went 12-0 in the regular season but came up just short against Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship game. Duggan will get at least one last opportunity in a Frogs jersey on December 31 when TCU faces Michigan in the Fiesta Bowl.

This season, Duggan threw for 3,321 yards, completing 239 passes and 30 touchdowns — all career highs. His four picks on the season tie his lowest number. He also recorded 404 yards rushing with six touchdowns.

His grit and determination to win were on full display against Kansas State. He fought through obvious pain and exhaustion to lead the Frogs on a scoring drive to tie the game in which he ran for the touchdown and then tossed a two-point conversion to force overtime. He is no stranger to fighting through discomfort and facing adversity along the way.

In 2021, Duggan played most of the season with a broken bone and a torn ligament in his foot. Surgeons were surprised that he was able to tolerate the pain of the injury. Furthermore, during a routine COVID-19 screen, Duggan was informed that he had a heart defect that required surgery. A blood clot forced him to undergo emergency surgery days later, but Duggan was able to return to action on September 26.

Teammates describe Duggan as a warrior and a leader who is soft-spoken but also a consummate professional who never quits. His drive to win and his ability to lead by example are key reasons that he is now in the discussion for the Heisman Trophy, awarded to the best college football player in the country.

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