The 2013 Heisman Trophy winner will be announced tonight. It’s the 79th time college football’s most prestigious award is given out and this year 6 players have been invited to the occasion in New York City. All of this year’s potential winners are either quarterbacks or runningbacks as other potential winners such as wide receivers Marquis Lee and Mike Evans, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, and linebacker C.J. Mosley were unable to enter the statistical mix. To be honest though, I am not overly eager for this year’s ceremony for a number of reasons, first and foremost the controversy and black cloud that hangs over the likely winner.
But before I get there, here are some fun facts about the Bronzed Statue Award:
- School with the most winners – Notre Dame with 7
- Ohio State has 7 trophies as well but Archie Griffin has 2 of them
- Each Heisman winner gets a vote each year plus media and a single fan vote
- Only 8 Heisman Trophy winners are in the NFL Hall of Fame
- Jason White isn’t one of them
- The last 4 Heisman have gone to QBs and 11 of the last 12 went to the signal callers as well
- Army has three winners…which is three more than Tennessee, West Virgin, Michigan State, Arkansas, and Virginia Tech combined…yup
The Official Thunderblog Heisman Ballot
“The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity.” (The Heisman Trust Mission Statement)
How It Works: I can only vote for the six players invited to the ceremony (sorry Ka’Deem Carey). I will rank each of them, give there 2013 statistics and then my reasoning for their rankings. To be honest, beyond what I alluded to above, I am not overly impressed by this year’s crop, especially after what Newton and Manziel did the last two years. But we must work with the cards we are dealt so without further ado, your 2013 ThunderHeisman goes to…
1. Johnny Manziel – Quarterback, Texas A&M, Sophomore
2013 Season – 3,732 Passing Yards, 33 Passing Touchdowns, 13 Interceptions, 69.1% Completion, 686 Rushing Yards, 8 Rushing Touchdowns
You can say what you want about the polarizing Johnny Football, but he actually had a better statistical season than last year and most believe him to be the best player in college football. I truly believe that he lost the Heisman with his performances in the last two games of the season against now-#14 LSU and #9 Missouri as the Aggies lost both games with their star quarterback playing with an injured shoulder and without a defense such as the Seminoles. The Aggies have the 89th ranked scoring defense giving up an average of 30.9 points per game, over 20 more than Florida State. Almost everyone watched the Alabama-A&M game and the heroics of Manziel in that game to keep his team in it. That happened every single game this season, as he knew he had to score to win, unlike Winston and others on this list that didn’t feel the pressure of putting a team on their respective backs. Couple those two late season loses (24-21 against Missouri) with two nail-bitters against #2 Auburn and #3 Alabama and did any other candidate have such a grueling and unforgiving schedule? Same amount of total touchdowns as Winston, a higher completion percentage, and he played in the SEC? I will not lie; I like Manziel, maybe a little too much. But statistics don’t lie. There is a biased against former winners going for their second trophy that needs to end. Who would you rather have on your college team, Manziel or Winston? I have no choice but to say that Johnny Manziel is the ThunderHeisman Trophy Winner this year as the MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL.
2. Jameis Winston – Quarterback, Florida State, Freshman (R)
2013 Season – 3,820 Passing Yards, 38 Passing Touchdowns, 10 Interceptions, 67.9% Completion, 4 rushing touchdowns
There is no denying how good this young gunslinger is. Winston took the football world by storm right off the bat and proceeded to lead the Seminoles to blowout after blowout of overmatched foes, never winning by less than 14 points. Their spotlight game of the year, against then-#3 Clemson in Death Valley, was more of a coming-out-party/rout as State rolled 51 to 14 and Winston threw for 444 yards. #1 in the BCS, Florida State hasn’t even been tested although their #63-ranked schedule is a hindrance and he did struggle a tad late in the season with 7 interceptions in his last 7 games. But what can’t be ignored is the freshman’s poise and leadership…and the 38 passing touchdowns and 3,820 yards. Yes, he may have the best receivers, two NFL runningbacks, and the best defense in the nation (10.7 points per game) to go along with him, but this future 1st overall pick made mince-meat of every single defense he faced. While the sexual assault cloud still lingers, he was never charged and one is innocent until proven guilty. So why is he second on my list? This award shouldn’t be given to the best player on the best team. Robert Griffin and Manziel have proved this. My opinion could change after the BCS National Championship game and I think that is when this award should be given out. But until then, I simply can’t ignore the talent around Winston that does not exist at all around Manziel.
3. Tre Mason – Runningback, Auburn, Junior
2013 Season – 1,621 Rushing Yards, 22 Touchdowns, 2,137 All-Purpose Yards, 1 Kickoff Return Touchdown
If only Tre and the Tigers had been on everyone’s radar earlier! He has lead the Tigers to the #2 ranking in the BCS and this Team of Destiny is on the doorstep of another national title because of the thighs of Mr. Mason. 1,621 yards in the SEC, check; Broke Cam Newton’s Rushing Touchdown record, check; Broke Bo Jackson’s school record for all-purpose yards, check; rush for 164 yards against then-#1 Alabama in the Iron Bowl, check; rush for 304 yards and 4 touchdowns in the SEC Championship game against then-#5 Missouri. He is perfect in the Tigers’ high-paced spread rushing attack. So why is he only #3 on this list. First, the players above him were pretty darn good. Second, he had 53% of his production in the last 5 games of the season, which is staggering but his consistency early on hurts his candidacy. He is certainly deserving of the invitation but not over the above two. He is only a junior though and if he returns will be in the running with Winston and maybe even Manziel.
4. AJ McCarron – Quarterback, Alabama, Senior
2013 Season – 2,676 Passing Yards, 26 Passing Touchdowns, 5 Interceptions, 67.6% Completion
McCarron has always been, and always will be, labeled as a game-manager. I understand the argument with Alabama’s rushing attack and defense plus the offensive system he is in. But he still puts up huge numbers, especially this season. McCarron deserves more credit than he gets. He has the spotlight on him every game and playing quarterback for the #1 team in the nation going for the three-peat puts more pressure than most think. But he has the yards, touchdowns, and completion percentage to put him near the top. What hurt him in my eyes is that in 7 of his 12 games he threw for less than 200 yards. In today’s pass-happy age, this is not going to win you a Heisman and while I feel that McCarron is a great quarterback and will have success at the next level, he statistics just didn’t do enough for me. Would have liked to see him play on a team that really needed him consistently, although 334 yards against A&M and 277 against Auburn show he stepped up when needed.
5. Andre Williams – Runningback, Boston College, Senior
2013 Season – 2,102 Rushing Yards, 17 Rushing Touchdowns, 6.4 Yards-per-Carry
Ok, this cat is good. So why only #5? 7-5 in the ACC? I know that BC had all of two wins last year but 7-5 isn’t enough. I know I made the argument above about Manziel but Boston College lost to North Carolina (24 points), Syracuse, (3 but still) and USC (28 points), not LSU, Missouri, Alabama, and Auburn. Williams is still scary good with 5 200 yard games including a 339 yard effort against NC State. He was 51% of BC’s total offense and also deserves a spot here. But he was very one-dimensional with no catches on the year and averaged only 91 yards in the 5 loses. Would still love to have him in my backfield, just not for the Heisman.
6. Jordan Lynch – Quarterback, Northern Illinois, Senior
2013 Season – 2,676 Passing Yards, 23 Passing Touchdowns, 7 Interceptions, 63.1% Completion, 1,881 Rushing Yards, 22 Rushing Touchdowns
If the award went simply to the man with the most statistics is there anyone better? Seriously, 45 total touchdowns and 4,557 total yards? That’s beyond Madden-esque, that is straight-up ridiculous. 321 rushing yards in a game for a QB? Even Johnny Football’s jaw dropped. So why not more love for Lynch? If you want to win the Heisman Trophy and you are not in a power conference, you simply can’t lose to Bowling Green, period. And he struggled in that game, rushing for only 126 yards and throwing for only 219 with two interceptions to 1 pick. The strength of schedule hurts a lot, plus extremely limited national exposure. Lynch will go down as more of a mysterious legend in the annuls of college football than a bona fide Heisman candidate, but it’s good to see the smaller school stars get some love.