12 August 2013

Who will win the Heisman Trophy in 2013?

History was made last year with Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel becoming the first freshman to ever win the Heisman Trophy (albeit a redshirt freshman, mind you). Therefore, he has the opportunity to win the award three more times (which won't happen, but hey), and he will be gunning to defend his award this fall. Of course, being investigated by the NCAA is not the best way to start off that campaign, but it's not like we have never had a Heisman winner with issues with the NCAA. But will Manziel defend his Heisman Trophy successfully, or will someone else win it?

1. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
OSU coach Urban Meyer has said before that he has never had as dynamic of an athlete at quarterback in his offense ever (although who knows had Cam Newton stayed at Florida) and he has the game to be the explosive dual threat and put up numbers similar to those that Manziel put up last year. Now he does not have the greatest arm in the world but I think it is good enough to couple with his excellent running abilities to lead Ohio State to the National Championship Game and get him a Heisman.

2. Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
Very rarely do you have a defensive player be one of the top Heisman contenders BEFORE the season, but Clowney is precisely that as he is on pace to be tremendously tremendous in 2013. After all, this is a guy that put up eight sacks as a freshman when he didn't even know what he was doing. Clowney was awesome last year with 13 sacks, including 4.5 against Clemson in the Palmetto Bowl, and 20 sacks is not out of the question. And if South Carolina gets to the title game, look out.

3. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Now having Manziel at three is not a result of the ongoing investigation by the NCAA, I simply think that he is not going to have the ridiculous season that he had last year. His line was sensational last year and while key pieces do return, most notably tackle Jake Matthews, who is moving from right to left, it will not be as good as it was last year without left tackle Luke Joeckel. He will also be without Christine Michael at running back and I think losing offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury will not be overstated either. Plus, he won't be a mystery at the start of this year like he was at the start of last year.

4. A.J. McCarronQBAlabama
I can see why McCarron did not get much Heisman love this past year, but that is not to say that I agree with it. One would be foolish to deny how awesome McCarron truly was last year. Yes, he was a tick shy of 3,000 yards but a 30-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio is just nasty. I know he runs a conservative offense with plenty of talent in the backfield but I think you will see Nick Saban air it out much more with a strong receiver unit and a conference that is starting to open it up. If (or when) McCarron leads the Tide back to the title game, he will be in the mix for the Heisman.

5. Marquise LeeWRUSC
There is nobody more poised to have a Desmond Howard-type than Lee, who is far and away the top wideout in the college ranks and he should put up tremendous numbers not just in the passing game but also in the return game. But his Heisman candidacy could hit a couple of potential snags. First off, if USC is disappointing yet again (this seems to be a general trend during Lane Kiffin's tenure), hype could be minimal. And second, quarterback Max Wittek or whoever is under center has to be on their game and based on what the former showed last year, there are questions to be asked.

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