Heisman Pundit is arguably the most well-respected source for analysis on college football’s most prestigious award. The site released a 28-man Watch List following a spring that gave the nation our first look at players and teams as we all gear up for the 2013 season.
On the list were six members of the nation’s most prestigious conference, the SEC.
Georgia and Alabama gave the nation one of the most exciting football games of the year when the Dawgs and Tide met in last season’s SEC title bout. Both programs have two names apiece on the Heisman list.
For the Bulldogs, Heisman Pundit (and most of the college football nation, for that matter) will be keeping an eye on quarterback Aaron Murray and running back Toddy Gurley. Two-time national championship-winning quarterback AJ McCarron and running back TJ Yeldon got the nod for coach Nick Saban’s Alabama squad.
Reigning Heisman winner and Texas A&M superstar Johnny Manziel is also on the list. Only Archie Griffin of Ohio State has managed to win two Trophies, but that is exactly what Johnny Football will be attempting as he heads into his redshirt sophomore season.
Finally, the only defensive player on the list is also one of the early favorites to make a run at the award in otherworldly South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
No player has ever taken home the nation’s top prize as an exclusively defensive player. Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o finished second to Manziel in 2012, while Michigan’s Charles Woodson did win it all as a defensive back, but he also returned kicks and played a good amount of wide receiver.
As for a few players who did not make the list but may garner some attention as the season wears on, Alabama wideout Amari Cooper should put up huge numbers as a sophomore. Florida Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel has what it takes to make plays with both his arm and his legs, but he needs to prove he can read defenses and has matured as an all-around leader at the position. Finally, if you want a real dark horse, look no further than Tennessee linebacker AJ Johnson. Johnson led the SEC with a whopping 138 total tackles while also scoring six touchdowns as the Vols’ Wildcat, goal-line quarterback.