Heisman Watch 2012: Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins of the Clemson Tigers

Kris Neild@therealkn42Contributor IISeptember 20, 2012

Dec 14, 2011; Waco, TX, USA; The Heisman trophy won by Baylor Bears quarterback Robert Griffin III during the first half of the game between the Baylor Bears and the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats at the Ferrell Center.  Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-US PRESSWIRE

Heisman Watch 2012 has begun, and with three weeks of games already in the books, two Clemson players have stood out as possible candidates for the award in Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins.

The ESPN Experts currently have Boyd ranked as the No. 10 candidate on their 2012 Heisman Watch update, and their ACC writer Heather Dinich has Boyd and Watkins as two of the best three ACC candidates along with FSU's E.J. Manuel. 

While the two Clemson players are by no means at the forefront of the race, they could make some serious moves upward depending on their play this weekend against Florida State. Here is what the two have done, and still need to prove in order to be taken seriously as Heisman candidates.


Tajh Boyd

What He's Done:

Tajh has led the Tigers to a 3-0 record to begin the year. While the team hasn't played the best competition (No. 130 in strength of schedule according to the USA Today's Sagarin Rankings), Tajh has spread the ball, minimized mistakes and used his feet to keep plays alive. He's found 14 different receivers for completions and already has three scrambles for 10-plus yards, including one for 27. For the season, he's thrown for 747 yards with six touchdowns and one pick. 

What He Needs to Prove: 

As it stands now, Boyd is clearly not the best quarterback out of the handful currently in the running for the 2012 Heisman. To many, he is not even the top quarterback in his own conference.

Boyd can silence many of his critics with a great performance against Florida State this weekend. He will be matched up against boyhood rival E.J. Manuel in a test to see who the premier league quarterback is. Boyd's critics say he gets dance-y feet during big games, leading to ill-advised pocket exits and turnovers.


Sammy Watkins

What He's Done: 

If you had to pick a player based on talent alone to win the award, Watkins would be one of a select few you would have to consider. His blazing speed and ability to take over a game are unrivaled. In his season debut last week, he took a ball out of the backfield 58 yards to the house, clearly out-burning everyone on the field (including his own receivers trying to block for him). His freshman campaign was one of the best for a freshman receiver in history, establishing much goodwill between the voters and himself. 


What He Needs to Prove: 

Now that he's back on the field after a two-game suspension to start the year, Watkins needs to inflate his statistics. His teammate DeAndre Hopkins has been the box score filler thus far, and is actually is tied with Tajh Boyd in the previously mentioned 2012 ESPN Heisman Watch.

Through history, receivers have had a tough time winning the award (only three have taken home the trophy). Watkins has to prove he is multi-faceted; that he can win games catching the ball, running out of the backfield and returning punts in order to move up the ranks.