The college football season is FINALLY underway, and the Heisman watch is off and running! Week one was full of stunning performances, setting up for what could be the closest Heisman race in recent memory. So, without further ado, here are my top five players in the 2013 Heisman Watch: Week 1.
1. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson
In the only top-10 battle in week one, Clemson senior QB Tajh Boyd led the no. 8 Tigers to an upset (for lack of a better word) of the no. 5 Georgia Bulldogs. Boyd completed 18 of 30 pass attempts for 270 yards and three touchdowns to start his 2013 campaign. Oh, and let’s not forget his 42 yards rushing, plus two additional touchdowns on the ground. Boyd was involved in all five of Clemson’s touchdowns, leading his team to the thrilling 38-35 victory.
Unlike most national contenders, the Tigers didn’t schedule a cakewalk, tune-up game. They opened the season against a top 5 team, and beat said team thanks to their phenomenal quarterback play. Boyd’s stats against such a competitive team in week one set him apart from the rest of the field, landing him in my number one spot.
2. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State:
In all of the “experts” Heisman previews, the name Jameis Winston was nowhere to be found. After his thrashing of the Pitt secondary, it’s safe to say the Florida State quarterback could be this year’s Johnny Football. Now, that doesn’t mean I think he’s going to win, it simply means he could be this year’s surprise.
Winston led the Seminole aerial assault, completing an astounding 25 of 27 passes (for all you math people, that’s 93 percent) for 356 yards and four touchdowns. And did I mention this was the freshman’s first collegiate game? Beginners luck? I think not.
3. Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville:
Before the Louisville quarterback threw his first incomplete pass, Bridgewater already had two touchdowns under his belt. He would go on to throw three more, while completing 23 of his 28 attempts for 355 yards and one interception.
The junior quarterback is considered by many analysts to be the candidate to pick, seeing as Louisville’s schedule is less than challenging. Due to the easy schedule, fans can kick back and enjoy because this could very well be a weekly occurrence.
4. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State:
The field general for the Scarlet and Gray Brigade started his junior season off by completing 15 of his 22 attempts for 178 yards and two touchdowns. Why were the numbers so low? Well, it sure wasn’t Buffalo’s defense. RB Jordan Hall ran for 160 yards and two touchdowns, leading the Buckeyes to a total of 261 yards on the ground.
Miller stays in my top 5 for one reason: pure ability. Miller could put up insane numbers every week if he and Coach Urban Meyer wanted, but the Ohio State offense is so deep that he might not be the star each week. Players like Bridgewater, Winston and Boyd have to be the man on their teams, but Miller doesn’t, which could hurt him in the long run.
5. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M:
Rounding out the top 5 is none other than America’s favorite headline, Johnny Manziel. Johnny Football’s week one was a lot like his off-season: complicated. After his autograph scandal, Manziel was sidelined for the first half against Rice. His second half? Well, that was cut short too. After being penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct (shocking, right?) for taunting and trash talking several players on defense, Manziel was benched for most of the fourth quarter.
However, in his short time on the field, Manziel still found a way to throw three touchdown passes, completing six of his eight passes. Manziel was predicted by many to be the front runner to win the Heisman again, but it seems that his on and off field antics could be getting in the way.
Don’t agree with my list? Cast your vote here for who you think is the front runner so far!