Teammates Who Will Steal 2013 Heisman Votes from Each Other
Most teams are fortunate to have one Heisman candidate, but what happens when two players from the same team could receive an invitation to New York City?
While such a circumstance would benefit their team, it also would hurt those players' chances of taking home the most prestigious award in college football. Having two Heisman contenders on the same team takes the shine off both players.
With so many great players competing for the award, each candidate needs to be in the spotlight as much as possible to increase his odds of winning.
It's nearly impossible to make a distinction between a Heisman-contending quarterback and running back who are on the same team. Strangely enough, voters will be asked to try to do just that this season.
From reigning national champions to a flashy team in the Pac-12, there are a handful of Heisman-candidate teammates who will hurt each other's stock.
Taylor Martinez and Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska
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Nebraska has two dark-horse Heisman candidates in quarterback Taylor Martinez and running back Ameer Abdullah. They've had tremendous success and could be in the running for individual awards if Nebraska can improve on last year's 10-4 record.
The Cornhuskers had the best offense in the Big Ten last season, averaging 460.8 yards a game. Martinez actually looked like a real quarterback for the first time, completing 62 percent of his passes. He also kept his big-play edge on the ground, rushing for 1,019 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Abdullah led Nebraska with 1,137 rushing yards and scored 10 touchdowns. With former star Rex Burkhead nursing injuries, his production came out of nowhere and was greatly appreciated. Now that Abdullah is no longer a secret in this offense, he is sure to receive a heavier workload and will take even more pressure off Martinez.
For either player to have a real shot at the Heisman, Nebraska would need to compete for a conference title. Even then, with both players stealing the spotlight from each other, that still may not be good enough.
Stephen Morris and Duke Johnson, Miami
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Is Miami officially back?
But, thanks to quarterback Stephen Morris and running back Duke Johnson, there is sure to be more excitement than there has been in quite some time.
Morris is attracting the attention from NFL scouts due to his incredible arm strength and ability to make all of the throws. Last season, he threw for 3,345 yards and 21 touchdowns, while also producing 33 plays of 25 or more yards.
After his incredible play as a true freshman, Johnson could be considered the best running back in the country. He did everything for the Hurricanes, rushing for 947 yards, catching 27 passes for 221 yards and contributing in a big way on special teams. He added eight pounds of muscle during the offseason and will touch the football a lot more due to his bigger frame.
Miami will be highly competitive, but if the school had a chance to produce its third Heisman winner, it would be tough to decide between these two big names.
AJ McCarron, Amari Cooper and T.J. Yeldon, Alabama
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While the defense gets most of the credit for Alabama's success, head coach Nick Saban and his staff have put together an impressive offensive trio.
AJ McCarron is the most efficient quarterback in the country, T.J. Yeldon has NFL scouts drooling after one season and Amari Cooper is a top-five wide receiver in the nation.
Who would you pick to win the award?
McCarron continues to improve his completion percentage (67.2), but he has yet to throw for 3,000 yards in a season or make the big play consistently.
Yeldon rushed for 1,108 yards and 12 touchdowns as a freshman, but he will likely split carries in a crowded backfield.
Cooper is a flashy receiver, but the position hasn't produced a Heisman winner since 1991 when Desmond Howard won the award.
Although all three players are fantastic, it looks like Alabama will have to be satisfied with team accomplishments.
Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins, Clemson
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Quarterback Tajh Boyd and wide receiver Sammy Watkins are going to look for each other often this season. In 2011, Watkins caught 82 passes, and that was with first-round NFL receiver DeAndre Hopkins on the team. Last season, Hopkins caught 82 passes when Watkins missed playing time and struggled to find his rhythm.
Simply put, Boyd looks for his playmakers and tries his best to give them the football. This will be the case even more now that Clemson's other wide receivers are unproven. Receiver Martavis Bryant, who is likely the second option, only has 19 receptions in his two-year career.
Boyd is a legitimate Heisman contender after topping 3,800 yards and 30 touchdowns the last two seasons. The issue is that a lot of those numbers come from Watkins' ability to make plays after the catch. In two seasons, Watkins has 20 plays of 25 or more yards and has averaged 13.86 yards per catch.
Does the quarterback make the receiver, or vice versa?
The voters would be in a tough spot if they had to choose.
Marcus Mariota and De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon
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Will an Oregon player ever win the Heisman?
It's amazing that all of the video-game numbers and success the last few years hasn't produced a serious Heisman candidate for the Ducks. They have the flashiest offense in the country, consistently appear in BCS bowls and are on national television more than enough.
Some would argue that the Oregon "system" is the reason for the statistics being off the charts. Sure, you run 80-plus plays a game and the likelihood of rushing for 1,000 yards is going to increase. But is 32 passing touchdowns in Oregon really different than 30 passing touchdowns in Alabama?
It's a question voters may have to answer.
After completing 68.5 percent of his passes and rushing for 752 yards last season, Marcus Mariota has proven to be the perfect Oregon quarterback.
De'Anthony Thomas, well, he remains one of the fastest players the game has ever seen and will continue to be a nightmare for defenders to tackle.
Unfortunately, picking one of these players for the Heisman seems unlikely if past years are any indication.
Aaron Murray and Todd Gurley, Georgia
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The most obvious duo that will hurt each other's Heisman stock is Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray and running back Todd Gurley. The two are part of a loaded offense that returns 10 starters and averaged 467 yards a game last season.
After rushing for 1,385 yards and scoring 17 touchdowns as a true freshman, Gurley may be the nation's best running back. Murray has been the definition of consistent, as he's topped 3,000 passing yards three straight years and is on pace to shatter virtually every SEC QB record.
There is a valid argument that can be made for both being the best players at their respective positions. However, there's a reason quarterbacks have won the Heisman six out of the last seven seasons. They are the pretty boys—the stars—and they get a majority of the credit when the team wins.
Barrett Sallee of Bleacher Report believes Gurley is the one who would take the backseat in this race. History shows this, but truthfully, these two are almost certainly going to steal votes from one another.