Each BCS Conference's Best 2013 Heisman Hopeful
Eleven of the past 12 Heisman Trophy winners have been quarterbacks, including the last three. But this year there are other skill-position players who will enter the discussion.
Another quarterback, last year's winner Johnny Manziel, is an obvious choice for Heisman front-runner. But there are strong candidates for the award, including two running backs and a wide receiver, in the other BCS conferences as well.
American Athletic Conference: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
Teddy Bridgewater led the Louisville Cardinals to a surprise win over Florida in the Sugar Bowl and instantly became a Heisman front-runner.
He threw for 3,718 yards and 27 touchdowns last season, completing 68.5 percent of his passes.
A rising junior, Bridgewater is returning to a talented and experienced team that has a BCS win under its belt. As a result, Louisville should have a successful season, and Bridgewater should receive an invitation to the Heisman ceremony in New York..
Big Ten: Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
Last year Braxton Miller finished outside the Heisman finalist list, despite rushing for more than 1,000 yards and passing for more than 2,000 yards in Urban Meyer's offense at Ohio State.
Over the past two seasons, Miller has jumped into the national spotlight and is leading a national title hopeful in 2013.
Miller has improved each year. One more year of growth will earn him serious consideration for the Heisman.
Pac-12: De’Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon
De’Anthony Thomas is the most dynamic athlete in the Pac-12. In a league that is built on speed, that is saying something.
He will line up as a return man, at running back and at receiver. Thomas rushed for 701 yards and added 445 on receptions last fall, and those numbers figure to grow this fall.
Thomas is too versatile and difficult to defend to be stopped consistently. He will help Oregon stay nationally relevant this fall and earn an invite to the Heisman presentation in the process.
ACC: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
Sammy Watkins arguably will be the best receiver in college football this fall. He is a dynamic threat who returns to a proven offensive system.
Watkins missed three games last fall, but still managed to catch 57 passes for 708 yards and three touchdowns.
As a freshman, he had 82 catches for 1,219 yards and 12 touchdowns.
If he is able to stay healthy and on the field this fall, Watkins will be among the nation’s elite at receiver and earn a lot of looks for the Heisman.
Big 12: Damien Williams, RB, Oklahoma
Damien Williams will be the premier playmaker for the Oklahoma offense this fall. He had a solid year in 2012, rushing for 946 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also had 320 receiving yards.
Oklahoma is in search of dynamic threats who can put this offense back on the map in the Big 12. Williams is that guy.
The Sooners are looking to win championships this fall, and Williams, who has been in the Sooners' system for a yar, is a key component in that quest.
SEC: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
As much as some may hate to admit it, Johnny Manziel is the leader for the Heisman heading into the fall.
He won last season after a masterful year guiding the Aggies' offense, and he continued to impress with his strong performance in the spring game on ESPN.
Manziel is an electric leader who has a sandlot-style, freelance element to his game. But he is also able to stay in the pocket and shred a secondary.
Unless there is a major hiccup in his sophomore season, Manziel may become the second two-time winner of the Heisman.