It has been almost 38 years since a player has won a second Heisman Trophy. QB Johnny Manziel is the latest player to be in a position to win a second. Many have been in this position since 1975 but nobody has been able to achieve the feat. Manziel definitely has the talent to do it, but his situation off the field has overshadowed his performance on the field and anything short of a undefeated season will make it nearly impossible for him to win two in a row. Here are four players who are looking to have magnificent seasons and claim the Heisman Trophy for themselves.
Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
Miller had a very good season and it was very quiet compared to the season and hype that Johnny Manziel received. As a sophomore Miller passed for 2,039 yards, 15 touchdowns and only six interceptions with a 58.3 completion percentage. He won Big 10 Player of the Year and finished fifth in the Heisman. Ohio State was ineligible for a bowl game last season because of a past situation involving Jim Tressel, Terrelle Pryor and a few other former Buckeyes. If Miller can live up to the high expectations and lead Ohio State to Pasadena for the National Title, then the trophy will be his.
Marqise Lee, WR, USC
Marqise Lee is in a very tough position. As a sophomore last season he had 1,721 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns. Matt Barkley was his quarterback almost the whole season. In the last two games, Max Wittek was the starter because Barkley got injured against UCLA. Wittek, who was a redshirt freshman, did okay against Notre Dame in the last game of the year throwing for 186 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. In the Sun Bowl against Georgia Tech, Wittek got destroyed, he was only 14 for 37 with 107 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. Lee only caught 11 passes for 116 yards in those two games.
Lee brought home some prestigious hardware. He picked up Pac 12 Offensive Player of the Year, becoming the first wide receiver to win the award since Troy Edwards in 1999. He also won the Biletnikoff given to the nation’s best receiver. To top those awards off, he finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting. If USC can find a solution to their quarterback issues, then expect Lee to have a decent chance at this year’s Heisman as well as a chance to be a high draft pick. If USC doesn’t find success at quarterback then their season will suffer, Lee won’t have any chance at the Heisman, and Lee, as well as everyone else on USC, will see their draft stock fall.
Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson
Last season Tajh Boyd picked up 3,896 passing yards and 36 touchdowns, which is a single season ACC record, while completing 67.2 percent of his passes. Boyd has set himself and Clemson up nicely. He has all the personal awards he could want besides the Heisman, and he has a good team this year. Clemson is a team that I think should be pre-season #7. Boyd’s situation is similar to Braxton Miller’s. If he makes the championship game he should win the Heisman. So many times has the Heisman winner played in the national title game. This is a year where that will probably happen.
Boyd has more weapons than just his arm. He rushed for 514 yards with ten touchdowns last season. Dual quarterbacks have won the last three Heisman Trophies. There is a good chance that a dual quarterback will in it because Manziel, Boyd and Marcus Mariota (Oregon) are all exceptional athletes and have good teams backing them up.
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
Last season Bridgewater led Louisville to a Sugar Bowl win where he was named MVP. On the season he was a 68 percent passer and had 3,718 passing yards, 27 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. The Louisville Cardinals will probably enter the season ranked somewhere between 10 and 15. If Bridgewater can get them to finish in the top five and get back to a BCS game he will probably win the Heisman.
There are a bunch of players who are currently flying under the radar. Marcus Mariota of Oregon won Fiesta Bowl MVP and had a 32-6 TD to INT ratio. AJ McCarron has three national title rings, including MVP of the 2012 game, and is going for a 4th championship. Jadeveon Clowney is the best defender I have ever seen. If South Carolina does really well he will for sure win the Heisman. I just don’t see that happening. His personal stats will probably be enough to give him a top five Heisman finish though.
1. Braxton Miller
2. Johnny Manziel
3. Marcus Mariota
4. Jadeveon Clowney
5. Tajh Boyd
You can follow Thomas Frey on Twitter: @ThomasFreyRP