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BLOG: Who's in the Heisman hunt?

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We are less than a week away from the kickoff of the college football season, and it's never too early to think about the Heisman frontrunners.

It's a wide open race this year. Will a dark horse come out of nowhere like Johnny Manziel did last season? Will an established player like AJ McCarron or Teddy Bridgewater lift the stiff-arm trophy? Of Perhaps, Jadeveon Clowney decapitates enough quarterbacks to take the stage in front of the Heisman Trust.

Here's my list of players that are in the hunt for a Heisman:

 (Note this list is in particular order)     

Quarterbacks

Tajh Boyd (Clemson) – For Boyd to win, he has to continue to put up big numbers, but also needs to beat the two SEC schools that bookend the schedule.

Marcus Mariota (Oregon) – He was impressive as a freshman, but will need to avoid a sophomore slump, and win the PAC12.

AJ McCarron (Alabama) – All McCarron has done is make history, leading his two to back-to-back BCS National Championships. The negative for McCarron is he doesn't put up the sexy yardage numbers. For McCarron to win he must pass for over 3,000 and lead the Tide to Pasadena.

Aaron Murray (Georgia) – After falling 5 yards short of a SEC Title, Murray has gained a reputation of not being able to win the big games. Murray has to put up last season numbers, plus lead the Bulldogs past the SEC Championship.

Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M) – Last year's Heisman winner now suddenly has a lot to prove on the field after an offseason for the history books. The big test for Manziel is winning with a target on his back…oh and beating revenge minded Alabama team in week three.

Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville) – He proved he was legit by beating Florida in the Sugar Bowl, but now he has to run the table and put up style points. Louisville plays in a weak American league, and must dominate for Bridgewater to win the Heisman.

Braxton Miller (Ohio State) – An unbeaten Ohio State team would push Miller towards a Heisman invite. But for Miller has to boost-up his numbers this season to actually win the Heisman.  

Running Backs

De'Anthony Thomas (Oregon) – He has all the speed and ability of a Heisman candidate, but needs more rushing numbers. There is no doubting, Thomas is as electric as they come, but he will not win the Heisman on kickoff returns alone.  

Todd Gurley (Georgia) – Gurley busted onto the scene last year as a freshman, rushing for over 1,300 yards. It will be extremely hard for Gurley to overcome Murray as the Georgia's Heisman favorite.

TJ Yeldon (Alabama) – Yeldon has the same problem that Gurley has. How can he overcome AJ McCarron as Bama's Heisman favorite? Yeldon would need to rush for over 1,600 yards and have McCarron throws a couple of bad picks; all while staying unbeaten. The idea of that happing is a little farfetched.     

Duke Johnson (Miami) – Last season really was a big year for freshmen running backs. Johnson ran for 947 yards, and I think he will have a breakout year in 2013.

 Lache Seastrunk (Baylor) – Could the Baylor Bears have another Heisman winner? Last season, Seastrunk made a name for himself when he rushed for almost 200 yards in their upsetting win over K-State. A monster season could be on the horizon for Seastrunk.

Defense

Jadeveon Clowney (South Carolina) – A defensive player hasn't won the Heisman trophy since Charles Woodson, and he played both ways. In years past, players like Ndamukong Suh, Tyrann Mathieu, and Manti Te'o have all earned invites, but no trophies. I think Clowney is the best player in college football, but will it translate to a Heisman?

Connect with me on Twitter: @Patrickp13

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