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Who is best college football player?

11:25 PM EST, December 6, 2012

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USC's Lee amazing

Teddy Greenstein

Chicago Tribune

My Heisman choice will remain a secret until Saturday's announcement. So removing the four players (Collin Klein, Jordan Lynch, Johnny Manziel and Manti Te'o) that made up my ballot I'm left with two defensive studs and a game-breaker at USC.

The game-breaker is Marqise Lee, a sophomore stud at USC. He's so good, his five-catch, 75-yard effort against Notre Dame qualified as his second-worst performance of the season. His best was comical — 16 catches for 345 yards and two scores at Arizona.

Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones, a junior, and South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, a sophomore, will get their love on an upcoming NFL draft day.

tgreenstein@tribune.com

Manziel did it in SEC

Don Markus

Baltimore Sun

Notre Dame senior linebacker Manti Te'o is a dominant player on the No. 1 team in the country, but as competitive a schedule as the Irish played compared with past seasons, he didn't do it in the SEC.

Johnny Manziel did, as a freshman in Texas A&M's first season in college football's toughest league. He put himself in the same company as Tim Tebow and Cam Newton statistically.

Manziel accounted for 4,600 yards and 43 touchdowns, better stats than Tebow had as a sophomore at Florida and Newton as a junior at Auburn.

Te'o is a great college player, but Johnny Football was the best in the country this season.

dmarkus@tribune.com

Lee nearly unstoppable

Chris Dufresne

Los Angeles Times

The Heisman Trophy is supposed to be awarded to the nation's Most Outstanding Player, but as we know it always doesn't work out that way. Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M is going to win because he combined a great statistical season with a marquee upset against No. 1 Alabama late in the season.

In my opinion, though, the best player I saw this season was USC receiver Marqise Lee, who was virtually unstoppable with the ball in his hands. Lee was limited only because he doesn't touch the ball every play. Jeff Locke, UCLA's great kicker, took Lee out of that game by not letting him even touch the ball on kickoffs. But Lee with a ball in his hands is the closest thing college has seen since Reggie Bush.

cdufresne@tribune.com

South Carolina's Clowney

Iliana Limón Romero

Orlando Sentinel

While the Heisman Trophy finalists arguably meant the most to their teams and delivered elite performances this season, South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney was the best athlete in college football this season.

Clowney (6-5, 256) is a unique talent with the power, athleticism and sheer strength to terrorize opposing teams at both the college and the NFL level. He had a breakout freshman season in 2011, racking up 31 tackles — including 12 for loss — and 61/2 sacks.

The potential No. 1 NFL draft pick has caused major headaches for SEC coaches all year. "He can ruin your day," Florida coach Will Muschamp said. "You've got to have your antenna up to know where he is."

ilimon@tribune.com