2013 Early Top 8 Heisman Candidates
Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel
Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel
Posted Dec 9, 2012

2013 Early Top 8 Heisman Candidates - Who are the guys likely to get all the offseason Heisman hype?

2013 Heisman Early Look

The Top Eight Candidates 

- 2012 - Johnny Manziel Becomes Johnny Heisman
- 2013 Early Heisman Candidates - No. 9 to 16

E-mail Pete Fiutak

8.WR Marqise Lee, Jr. USC

Let's get the 2013 hype going because … he'll have a strong-armed quarterback in Max Wittek to get him the ball deep, and he'll have the experience to know what he's doing. This might be projecting way ahead, but there doesn't appear to be a slew of nasty secondaries to deal with. Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA and Notre Dame should be the only teams on the schedule with a pass defense worth worrying about.

He's not going to win because … it takes something historic to be a wide receiver in the Heisman race. With running mate Robert Woods likely off to the NFL, Lee will have to deal with having the bull's-eye on his back. Wittek should be great, but can he be Barkley right away? The quarterback situation might be a wee bit of a question mark.

7. QB Marcus Mariota, Soph. Oregon

Let's get the 2013 hype going because … it's all there. No matter what the system or who's the coach, Mariota is a terrific prospect and a great playmaker with the passing skills to go along with his home-run hitting running ability. He deferred a bit to the running backs in his first year in the system, but when he was on, like he was in the second half in the six touchdown day against Cal, he can throw darts and take a game over. There's a chance he could take his game to a whole other level.

He's not going to win because … there's a good chance that Chip Kelly will take off to the NFL and Oregon might not be as crisp or as deadly. He'll have to share some of the Heisman spotlight with De'Anthony Thomas, and he might not have the comparative statistics to Johnny Manziel and other quarterbacks. His campaign will come down to how he does in the really, really big games, but there aren't many next year. Does a home game against Tennessee count? There's no USC on the slate, so Stanford will have to suffice as his moment – that might not be big enough.

6. QB Tajh Boyd, Sr. Clemson

Let's get the 2013 hype going because … he was fourth in the nation in total offense and has proven over the last few seasons he could put up the stats needed to be involved in the discussion. There might be a few too many picks, but he's a good runner and few are better when everything is going right. Going into is third year as the starter, he knows exactly what he's doing and he has one of college football's most dynamic playmakers in Sammy Watkins to work with. The Tigers should be fantastic.

He's not going to win because … there was the ACC championship in 2011, and … ? He has certainly had a few nice moments, but to be in the Heisman chase he has to prove he can show up in the biggest games, and that means he has to beat Georgia in the opener, South Carolina late, and get by Florida State in between on the way to winning an ACC title. He'll have the stage, but can he come through? He'll likely lose receiver DeAndre Hopkins early to the NFL.

5. QB Blake Bell, Jr. Oklahoma

Let's get the 2013 hype going because … he's not just the Belldozer. While there might not be a more bruising short-yardage runner, Bell really is a passer who can potentially throw like Landry Jones while also barreling ahead like Tim Tebow. He has the nickname, he has the talent, and he'll have the weapons – think Collin Klein with better passing ability and an NFL receiving corps to throw to.

He's not going to win because … Landry Jones is the greatest statistical passer in Oklahoma football history and he never came close to getting to New York. Also, Bell's not a lock to win the starting job. Drew Allen has the potential to take over the starting gig with a big spring. However, if Bell does get the call, he'll have to work behind a shaky offensive front that did a decent job this year, but has to be worked on.

4. RB Ka'Deem Carey, Jr. Arizona

Let's get the 2013 hype going because … if you liked what Carey did in 2012, wait until you see what he's about to do in 2013 now that he knows what he's doing in the Rich Rodriguez offense. Three starters return on the line to help pave the way for the nation's leading rusher in yards per game. With an offseason of hype about to come, and with UNLV and UTSA early on to put up huge early stats, 2,000 yards isn't a crazy goal – he might get that this year with 243 yards in the bowl game against a miserable Nevada defense.

He's not going to win because … Steve Slaton didn't make a whole bunch of noise in the Heisman chase. RichRod runners don't seem to get a lot of respect, and it's going to be hard to get on the national radar merely by putting up big stats. There's an honest chance he'll hit 2K this year and he's barely getting mentioned for All-America honors.

3. RB Johnny Manziel, Soph. Texas A&M

Let's get the 2013 hype going because … Johnny Football already broke one barrier, and Johnny Heisman could bust through another to become Johnny Repeat. He'll have more than his share of chances to show he's ready to wear the honor proud with Alabama early on and a road trip to LSU late. However, like this year, there are lots and lots of squishy-soft defenses on the slate to jack up the numbers. Here's the scary part – he knows what he's doing.

He's not going to win because … getting through the repeater ceiling and into Archie Griffin territory will be much, much harder than just winning the Heisman as a freshman. Everyone will be gunning for him now even more than ever, and his expectation bar is going to be set at a ridiculously high level. It's not going to be enough to have another great season; now he has to set the SEC total offense mark again to become an immortal and win the thing twice. The field is going to be much stronger in 2013 with the main competition unlikely to come from the defensive side.

2. QB Braxton Miller, Jr. Ohio State

Let's get the 2013 hype going because … it's Urban Meyer's quarterback coming off a terrific first season with his new coach. Miller was at least in the ballpark of this year's Heisman finishing fifth, but the statistics and the Most Valuable Player argument were there to make a case that he deserved to be in New York. The potential is there for next year's offense to become a monster with nine possible returning starters, and the schedule works out nicely with a trip to Northwestern the toughest road game before the regular-season finale against Michigan.

He's not going to win because … will the mind-boggling stats be there? Tim Tebow won the Heisman because he became the only member of the 20 passing touchdown, 20 rushing touchdown club. Miller isn't going to blow anyone away with his numbers, so it's going to take a few special plays in big moments to get into the front-runner spot. This year, the case for him revolved around being able to carry a good team to 12-0, and next year he'll have a better team, at least on offense, and going unbeaten again isn't going to be a breeze.

1. The Field

Let's get the 2013 hype going because … of Jameill Showers. Coming out of spring ball, Texas A&M had a four-way battle for the starting quarterback job under new head coach Kevin Sumlin with Showers looking like a possible star if he could beat out some Manziel guy. Robert Griffin III, Cam Newton and Mark Ingram weren't total unknowns, but they came from out of leftfield to win the Heisman. Meanwhile, Manziel is still introducing himself to America. If you want to argue for a certain player to win the Heisman, go ahead because you could certainly be right.

Paul Millard, the likely new starting quarterback next year at West Virginia? Okay, go for it. Bryce Petty, who'll probably take over for the nation's leader in total offense, Nick Florence, at Baylor? Fine. Zach Mettenberger, Knile Davis, Teddy Bridgewater, Everett Golson? Throw it at the wall and see if it sticks.

The Field isn't going to win because … this is a far stronger group of Heisman candidates than in the recent past. There are a slew of very young, very exciting options going into 2013. The Heisman race is overdue for a chalk pick.
- 2013 Early Heisman Candidates - No. 9 to 16