Every year, it seems as if this will be the year the ACC finally gets another Heisman Trophy Winner. Last year it was E.J Manuel and Tajh Boyd. The year before that it was Sammy Watkins. The conference is still looking for its first Heisman Trophy Winner since Florida State’s Chris Weinke in 2000. This year, it seems as if the ACC really does have a shot to bring home a Heisman. The obvious favorites are Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville and for Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M to repeat. However, outside of that, there are not many really contenders. Remember, Preseason Heisman Candidates do not really mean anything anyways. Remember Matt Barkley?
Here are 5 ACC Players that could be in New York City in December when the Heisman Trophy is awarded.
1. Tajh Boyd, Clemson- Tajh Boyd is probably the 3rd Quarterback behind Bridgewater and Manziel that would have a shot this year. In years past, Boyd has been a candidate who has started the season strong, but consistently failed to keep the hot start going and fades away at the end. He loses DeAndre Hopkins to the NFL but he still has the best Wide Receiver in the Nation in Sammy Watkins. Coming off a big bowl win Vs. LSU, look for Boyd and the Tigers to stay in the Heisman and National Title Race at year’s end.
2. Duke Johnson, Miami- Duke Johnson has all the makings of a Heisman Winner this year. Coming off a stellar Freshman season in which he was named the ACC Freshman of the Year, Johnson is looking to be even better this season and lead a resurgent Miami team back to the glory days. He broke Clinton Portis’ Miami Freshman rookie rushing record this past season. I can see Johnson shattering even more Miami Running Back records by the time this season is done.
3. Sammy Watkins, Clemson- Every Batman needs its Robin, and I guess that is what you can say about Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins. After a stellar Freshman season, Watkins fell off the map this past season with injuries and being overshadowed by Hopkins. Now, Hopkins is gone and Watkins emerges again as the clear number one target for Boyd and the Tigers offense. Look for Watkins to retreat back to his play during his Freshman campaign and have another breakout season.
4. Stephen Morris, Miami- The “U” might finally have a Quarterback that can help Miami live up to its name of “Quarterback U”. Morris is a Senior and is coming off an improved Junior campaign. He has the arm strength, the mobility, and the weapons around him to have a Heisman worthy season. It’s up to Morris, and whether or not he can put it all together and give Miami fans and coaches a reason to believe.
5. Jameis Winston, Florida State- It wasn’t the easiest thing to find a 5th quality Heisman Candidate from the ACC (Maybe Stefon Diggs?), but Jameis Winston could turn some heads this season. He is a speedy, option type Quarterback with a lot of upside. Just like no one knew about Johnny Manziel last year, no one knows about Winston, or what he really has. Look how that turned out for Manziel, though. Florida State will always have talent around the Quarterback, so that shouldn’t be a problem for Winston. If Winston can mature as the year goes on, we could have another Johnny Football on our hands.