Predicting 2013 Offensive, Defensive Player of the Year for Every BCS Conference
The summer workout season is about to hit full swing on campuses across the country. The BCS conferences have Heisman hopefuls and top defenders taking the field, but only one can walk away with Player of the Year honors.
There shouldn’t be too many surprises on offense this season, with names like Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel looking for Player of the Year honors. Even the defense is layered with notable players like Jadeveon Clowney and Jackson Jeffcoat.
These players will lead their conferences in 2013.
AAC (formerly the Big East)
Offensive Player of the Year: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville Cardinals
Bridgewater already took home this honor in 2012 after passing for 3,718 yards and 27 touchdowns. He completed 68.5 percent of his passes and won the Sugar Bowl by shredding the Florida secondary for 266 yards and two touchdowns.
Heading into the fall, he is Mel Kiper’s top quarterback (subscription required) for the 2014 draft. He should take home the hardware again in 2013.
Defensive Player of the Year: Yawin Smallwood, LB, UConn Huskies
Smallwood is as talented as they come at linebacker. Last fall, he registered 120 total tackles, 15 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. His efforts earned him the No. 3 spot for linebackers (subscription required) on the 2014 draft on Mel Kiper’s board.
This fall, he will become a nationally recognized name as he helps the UConn defense push the Huskies back to relevance.
Offensive Player of the Year: Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson Tigers
Credit the surrounding talent all you want, but don’t discredit Tajh Boyd’s work at Clemson. His time as a starter has been impressive. He's thrown for 3,800 yards for two straight seasons, and he's tossed 33 or more touchdowns in each season as well.
Last year, Boyd showed his skills as a runner, adding 514 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns to his stat line.
He also helped guide Clemson to an 11-win season and a bowl victory over LSU. He is this year’s dark-horse Heisman candidate, and he should battle Teddy Bridgewater as the No. 1 QB in the 2014 draft class.
Defensive Player of the Year: Jack Tyler, LB, Virginia Tech Hokies
Tyler finished the 2012 season as an All-ACC selection at linebacker. He finished with 119 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.
This fall ,Tyler will be the leader for the Hokies defense as it attempts to return to center stage in the ACC. The defensive unit took a dive last year, but Tyler should have it on the right track heading into the fall.
Offensive Player of the Year: Casey Pachall, QB, TCU Horned Frogs
The Big 12 was spared a bit last year when Casey Pachall stepped away from the game for a few months. But this year, the conference will be at the mercy of the talented signal-caller.
He still hasn't secured the starting job, according to Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News, but he will be the leader heading into the fall.
As a sophomore, Pachall took over the starting position, throwing for 2,921 yards and 25 touchdowns.
He launched the Horned Frogs to a 4-0 record, throwing for 948 yards and 10 touchdowns before departing. You can expect the same masterful results when he takes the field this fall.
Defensive Player of the Year: Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas Longhorns
Jackson Jeffcoat saw his junior season cut short with injury, but he is back for his senior year and expects to be better than before.
He started six games last fall before the injury and registered four sacks along the way. He also ended the year second on the team in tackles for loss after playing in only six games.
Jeffcoat is the best defensive end in the Big 12, and a full year tossing quarterbacks will secure him the hardware.
Offensive Player of the Year: Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State Buckeyes
Miller is one of the 2013 favorites to push for the Heisman. And after a 12-0 push with the Buckeyes last fall, he has earned the hype.
This fall, he will be looking for a title run, and the Big Ten may not have enough to stop it.
In 2012, Miller balanced his game between the ground and passing attack. He finished with 2,039 passing yards and 15 touchdowns, and he was also able to add 1,271 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns to the offense.
Defensive Player of the Year: Anthony Hitchens, LB, Iowa Hawkeyes
The Iowa Hawkeyes are struggling under Kirk Ferentz, but Anthony Hitchens hasn’t taken notice.
Last year, the middle linebacker finished with 124 total tackles and 5.5 tackles for loss. He only played in 11 games and led the conference in tackles.
If there is a shot at a turnaround for Iowa, it will come on the heels of Hitchens' Defensive Player of the Year-type season.
Offensive Player of the Year: De’Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon Ducks
Watching De’Anthony Thomas burn through defenses is the one of the most impressive sights of the college football season.
Next year, he will become the feature back for the Ducks and should top the 1,000-yard rushing mark. Last season brought 701 rushing yards and 445 receiving yards. He registered 18 total touchdowns.
As the primary back, Thomas' production will increase, putting him firmly in the Heisman discussion for 2013.
Defensive Player of the Year: Eric Kendricks, LB, UCLA Bruins
Kendricks is a rising junior who destroyed the Pac-12 last year. In the UCLA 3-4, he is a dangerous blitzer and run defender.
He registered 10 or more tackles in eight games last fall, with three of those producing 15 or more.
The Pac-12 is loaded with defensive talent, but Kendricks is in a league of his own heading into the fall.
Offensive Player of the Year: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M Aggies
In 2012, Manziel became the first freshman Heisman winner in history. This fall, he will attempt to become only the second to win the award in consecutive seasons.
After an impressive spring showing, he is expected to make a real push for the bronze.
Manziel slashed the SEC last season to the tune of 2,289 passing yards, 697 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns. He completed 70.4 percent of his passes against conference foes. He also finished the year with 3,706 passing yards, 1,409 rushing yards and 47 total touchdowns. And he set the SEC record for total yards in a season.
His sophomore campaign should bring much of the same production, leading to an Offensive Player of the Year push.
Defensive Player of the Year: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina Gamecocks
Clowney may become the second defensive player to win the Heisman in 2013.
He is a freakishly talented defender and will be the cornerstone of the Gamecocks defense this fall. Last year, he was able to register 23.5 tackles for loss and 13 sacks.
This year, he will be keyed on by offenses, but his impact will still be felt as he marches to the Defensive Player of the Year award.