While it’s too early to predict just who will win the Heisman Trophy, it’s never too early to look at several candidates who could contend for college football’s highest individual honor.

Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
The Buzz: Miller finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting after racking up 3,310 total yards of offense and 28 total touchdowns during the 2012 season. He was second in the Big Ten in total offense, fourth in rushing (1,271 yards) and fifth in passing efficiency (140.5), all the while leading the Buckeyes to an undefeated season. His development in Urban Meyer’s spread offense is one of the reasons Ohio State has been picked by so many to contend for a national title this season.

Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
The Buzz: Bridgewater burst onto the national scene last season after leading Louisville to its first 11-win season since 2006, including an upset victory over Florida in the Sugar Bowl. The Miami native finished the season with 3,718 passing yards and 27 touchdowns. The Cardinals ended the year ranked among the nation’s top 15 teams. At 6-foot-3, 207-pounds, Bridgewater has the size and arm strength to be first-round NFL Draft pick in April.

Jadeveon Clowney, DT, South Carolina
The Buzz: It’s rare when a defensive player makes a Heisman Trophy watch list, but then again, Clowney isn’t your average player. With his size — 6-foot-6 and 272-pounds — speed and strength, Clowney has had NFL scouts drooling since the moment he crashed into Michigan running back Vincent Smith during last season’s Outback Bowl. He finished last season with 54 tackles, including 10.5 tackles for loss, while leading the Gamecocks with 13 sacks.

Marqise Lee, WR, USC
The Buzz: Like Miller, Lee finished last season in the top five in the voting for the Heisman Trophy. He is looking to become the first wide receiver to win the award since Desmond Howard at Michigan in 1991. Lee was the top receiver in the country last season with 118 receptions and 1,721 receiving yards with 14 touchdowns. He’s also a threat on special teams.

Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
The Buzz: History is against Manziel, who hopes to win his second consecutive Heisman Trophy. It has  happened only one other time — Ohio State’s Archie Griffin won it in 1974 and 1975. With the type of controversy that has surrounded the Texas A&M quarterback this offseason, his Heisman hopes seem to be the least of his problems. An NCAA investigation and the public relations hit his image took could be a big turnoff for voters.

 

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