In his first season as a starter, E.J. Manuel displayed bits of Heisman-level potential.
Though the Seminoles faltered under a tremendous amount of hype in the 2011 season, expectations are high again for the 2012 season, with a lot of talent returning.
As Manuel nears the end of his run at Florida State and looks ahead to the pros, 2012 could be opportunistic.
Nothing would elevate his status more than a Heisman trophy, as we've seen with recent winners like Robert Griffin III and Cam Newton.
Here's a look at what it will take for E.J. Manuel to get invited to New York.
For the most part, Florida State will only go as far as Manuel can take them.
Though quarterbacks have an edge in the Heisman race, Manuel can't afford to have a poor performance.
Some of last year's losses were partly due to that fact. Manuel played below average against Wake Forest (via ESPN). He threw two interceptions and completed just 54 percent of his passes.
That poor showing could be blamed partly on an injury suffered against Oklahoma, as it was his first game back after missing the previous game against Clemson (via AOL Sporting News).
Stat padding against cupcakes like Murray State and Savannah State will only help a little in a bid for the Heisman.
Crushing teams you're supposed to beat doesn't turn heads.
Beating teams like Clemson, Virginia Tech, Florida and Miami is a different story. More importantly, Manuel needs to look good in these games.
While the Seminoles did take care of most of their big-time opponents last year, a bad stretch of losses that started with the fall to the Sooners spoiled the rest of the season.
Oh, and beating Wake Forest will help too.
This one is rather obvious, but it's necessary.
While he only has so much control over whether he can stay on the field or not, Manuel needs to do as much as he can to make sure he can compete in every game next season.
Missing games can derail a Heisman effort—to no fault of the player's own.
Manuel clearly has the talent to make a push for the Heisman. His size, speed and ability to play at the quarterback position will undoubtedly make him one of top prospects in the country.
Even before last season, his teammates truly believed he was (and still is) more than capable of getting it done (via the Orlando Sentinel).