After a mere week of college football on the books, a few players threw themselves onto the Heisman Trophy watch list with impressive week one performances, while others slipped down the list with some not-so-stellar outings. Here’s my top 5 picks for the Heisman as we head into week two.
1. Tajh Boyd (QB, Clemson): Boyd put together a five-touchdown, 312-yard performance against the No. 5 Georgia Bulldogs, who the media picked to win the SEC East. The senior threw for three touchdowns, completing 18-of-30 pass attempts for 270 yards. Boyd also ran for 42 yards and scored twice on the ground. The next toughest and most spotlighted game for Boyd will be against North Carolina State on the road on Thursday, Sept. 19. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.
2. Teddy Bridgewater (QB, Louisville): The junior, who may be South Carolina junior Jadeveon Clowney’s only threat for the No. 1 spot in next year’s NFL draft, diced Ohio’s defense in a 49-7 blowout win to start his Heisman campaign. Bridgewater finished 23-of-28 for 355 yards and five touchdowns, which are numbers he’ll probably have to replicate on a weekly basis to overcome the No. 8 Cardinals’ weak schedule to have a shot at the Heisman.
3. Braxton Miller (QB, Ohio State): Miller’s 178 passing yards and 77 rushing yards in the Buckeyes’ 40-20 win over Buffalo won’t be a game Heisman voters come back to, but it won’t necessarily hurt the junior either. Voters will be tuned in when the Buckeyes take on No. 21 Wisconsin on Sept. 28 at home and No. 19 Northwestern on the road the following Saturday. A regular season finale against No. 17 Michigan and a possible Big Ten championship game will also be opportunities for Miller to gain some steam in the Heisman race.
4. Johnny Manziel (QB, Texas A&M;): The trash-talking sophomore who threw three touchdowns despite being suspended for half of the Aggies’ 52-31 win has to be taken seriously in Heisman debates until someone shuts him up or a team shuts him down. Fortunately, for those annoyed with Manziel, the Aggies get a visit from No. 1 Alabama next Saturday. But if Manziel can manage to take down the back-to-back BCS National Champions for the second straight season, get used to hearing his name and every controversy that comes with it.
5. Jameis Winston (QB, Florida State): The newest name on my list and the youngest star on the rise in college football is Jameis Winston — the redshirt freshman quarterback for No. 10 Florida State. Playing on national television Monday night, Winston torched Pittsburgh’s defense for 356 yards and four touchdowns in the air and another 25 yards on the ground as the Seminoles cruised to a 28-point win. The freshman’s toughest tests for the year, however, are both on the road against No. 4 Clemson and No. 12 Florida.