With the college football season on the horizon, it's time to take a look at the talented student athletes most likely to contend for the prestigious Heisman trophy award in 2013. CLA expects a wide open race with many worthy competitors.
Johnny Manziel QB / Texas A&M
Texas A&M redshirt sophomore quarterback Johnny Manziel became the first freshman to win the Heisman trophy in 2012. With several marquee matchups on the schedule, including a September 14 showdown with defending national champion Alabama, Johnny Football will have plenty of opportunities to shine on the big stage and strengthen his chances of repeating as Heisman trophy winner.
Teddy Bridgewater QB / Louisville
Louisville junior quarterback Teddy Bridgewater should lead the Cardinals to a perfect season in 2013. The schedule lines up nice for Bridgewater and company. Road games at Kentucky and at Cincinnati in the season finale pose the most difficult challenge. Bridgewater's explosive play combined with an undefeated record may land Teddy the hardware.
Braxton Miller QB / Ohio State
Ohio State dual threat junior quarterback Braxton Miller flourished in Urban Meyer's offense last season en route to leading the Buckeyes to an undefeated campaign. Miller threw 15 touchdowns and rushed for 13 more and should continue to produce moving forward. Ohio State's favorable schedule should keep Miller in the thick of the Heisman race all season.
Jadeveon Clowney DE / South Carolina
South Carolina junior defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is the likely first overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. The game-changing pass rusher will wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks this season and should have the Gamecocks in contention for the SEC crown. Clowney's impact on the field could make him the first defensive player to take home the Heisman since Michigan's Charles Woodson in 1997.
A.J. McCarron QB / Alabama
Alabama senior quarterback A.J. McCarron will look to lead the Crimson Tide to their third consecutive national championship in 2013. McCarron has complete command of the Bama offense and demonstrates poise under pressure. With the Tide expected to challenge for another national title, McCarron's Heisman candidacy should benefit.
Marcus Mariota QB / Oregon
Oregon redshirt sophomore quarterback Marcus Mariota is coming off a stellar 2012 season where he threw 32 touchdowns while completing nearly 70 percent of his pass attempts. Despite the departure of head coach Chip Kelly to the NFL, Mariota is poised for another productive season that should warrant Heisman consideration.
Aaron Murray QB / Georgia
Georgia senior quarterback Aaron Murray threw for almost 3,900 yards and 36 touchdowns for the Bulldogs in 2012. The veteran Murray has a wealth of experience and proven production under his belt and has all the tools necessary to make a strong bid for this year's Heisman.
De'Anthony Thomas RB / Oregon
Oregon junior running back De'Anthony Thomas is one of the most explosive playmakers in the country. Thomas is a threat to take it to the house every time he touches the football. Thomas big play potential and Oregon's national ranking could land the Black Mamba the Heisman trophy.
T.J. Yeldon RB / Alabama
Alabama sophomore running back T.J. Yeldon will carry on the proud tradition in the Crimson Tide backfield. As a freshman, Yeldon made several big plays that were critical to the Tide's championship success. With a strong offensive line and experienced quarterback under center, Yeldon will have plenty of opportunities to shine and make his case for the Heisman.
Tajh Boyd QB / Clemson
Clemson senior quarterback Tajh Boyd threw for nearly 3,900 yards and had 46 total touchdowns for the Tigers last season. Boyd will have a golden opportunity to launch his Heisman campaign when Clemson hosts Georgia in the season opener. Both teams enter the contest ranked in the Top 10. The matchup will pit Boyd against fellow Heisman hopeful Aaron Murray.