Hunting the Heisman: A final look at our candidates
There’s no and, ifs or buts about it—this won’t even be close.
Winston has been without doubt the most impressive player in college football this season and is far above his competition. The field is a nice group of extremely talented players coming off excellent years, but is there to enjoy the honor of an invite.
That said, second place is completely up in the air. You could really draw the names of the other five candidates from a hat and decide on the rest of the order.
And that’s exactly what I did.
Here’s the final Heisman update of the 2013 season:
Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
vs. Duke: 19-of-32 (59.4 percent), 330 yards, 3 TDs, 2 INTs
2013: 237-of-339 (69.9 percent), 3,820 yards, 38 TDs, 10 INTs … 77 carries, 193 yards, 4 TDs
Why: Barring the most shocking news in Heisman history, Winston will be your winner by a landslide. The only thing that was holding him back before was the sexual assault allegation, and that cloud has been lifted. You can’t assume anything. His name has been legally cleared—at least for the time being—which means he is the best candidate.
1. A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama
2013: 207-of-306 (67.6 percent), 26 TDs, 5 INTs
Why: Like everyone has said all year, his stats won’t match up with any of the other candidates. But A.J. McCarron has had one of the most prolific careers in college football history, with the chance to end with a 37-3 overall record as a starter with Oklahoma looming.
2. Andre Williams, RB, Boston College
2013: 329 carries (6.4 ypc), 2,102 yards, 17 TDs
Why: Anytime you surpass 2,000 yards rushing for a BCS school, your name deserves to be among the top players in college football. Williams was a workhorse for Boston College, averaging 29 carries in games where he was healthy. He had five games with over 200 yards and nine over 100.
3. Jordan Lynch, QB, Northern Illinois
vs. Bowling Green: 21-of-40 (52.5 percent), 219 yards, TD, 2 INTs … 26 carries, 126 yards, 2 TDs
2013: 233-of-369 (63.1 percent), 2,676 yards, 23 TDs, 7 INTs … 274 carries, 1,881 yards, 22 TDs
Why: Lynch had a pretty rough game against Bowling Green in the MAC Championship, but he still deserves a trip to New York. His name is in the NCAA records for most rushing yards for a college quarterback, and he combined for 4,557 yards and 45 touchdowns this season.
4. Tre Mason, RB, Auburn
vs. Missouri: 46 carries, 304 yards (6.6 ypc), 4 TDs
2013: 283 carries, 1,621 yards (5.7 ypc), 22 TDs
Why: Mason has eight 100-yard performances in his last 10 games, scoring at least one touchdown in every single game this season but one—and that was in Week 3. His 46-carry, 304-yard, four-touchdown performance against Missouri in the SEC Championship Game lifted him into this position.
5. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
2013: 270-of-391 (69.1 percent), 3,732 yards, 33 TDs, 13 INTs
Why: Manziel struggled down the stretch of the season, finishing 70-of-115 (60.9 percent) for 865 yards, seven touchdowns and five interceptions in his final three games. He had the opportunity to lead Texas A&M to a BCS game, but lost two of those three games. In my personal opinion, Manziel received an invite for his name alone—the committee didn’t have to send out six invitations.
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