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Top 5 Heisman Trophy Candidates in the ACC for 2013

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Top 5 Heisman Candidates in the ACC for 2013

Kirby Lee- USA TODAY Sports

Considering all the talent the ACC has had in the last decade, it’s shocking to remember that they have not won a Heisman Trophy since Chris Weinke did for Florida State back in the year 2000. In that time, they have had a player drafted number one overall in the NFL Draft (Michael Vick from Virginia Tech) and won a national championship (Miami in 2001). However, the coveted Heisman has eluded them.

There have been players hyped as frontrunners for the award, like Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel (nice call Desmond Howard), and players who easily could have won the award, like Miami quarterback Ken Dorsey.

One contributing reason that the ACC has not won the award is that the conference has lost a little prestige. Since joining the conference, Miami has not produced the talent it did in the previous two decades. Florida State, although showing signs of dominating once again, slumped in the final years of the Bobby Bowden era. Also, when put on the national stage, many ACC teams have faltered, dropping the league down a notch when it comes to conference supremacy.

Heading into the 2013 season, the conference once again has a candidate that could very well win the award. The only problem is that last year’s winner, Johnny Manziel, is back to lead the Texas A&M Aggies once again. It would be crazy not to consider him the frontrunner.

However, if Manziel slips at all, here is a list of the top 5 ACC players that have a shot at winning the 2013 Heisman Trophy.

B.L. writes about college football for Rant Sports, you can follow him on Twitter @coachlip

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5.) Stephen Morris, Miami QB

Steve Mitchell- US Presswire

Any time a quarterback returns a highly experienced offensive line, he’s destined to have a huge year. In addition to the great line, he’ll have Duke Johnson and the Miami running game drawing defenses in to stop the run. Expect a huge jump in numbers for Morris who had a very respectable 21-7 TD-INT ratio last year.

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4.) Jameis Winston, Florida State QB

Melina Vastola- USA TODAY Sports

Although some might think this is a little outrageous, Jameis Winston could be the next Johnny Manziel. Certainly no one knew much about Manziel prior to last season, but by the end, everyone did. The same could be true for the phenom from Tallahassee. If Florida State has another very good season and Winston puts up big numbers, he could surprise some voters.

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3.) Sammy Watkins, Clemson WR

Melina Vastola- USA TODAY Sports

Some people had Sammy Watkins on their Heisman lists for last year based on his incredible freshman season. The biggest help for Watkins candidacy? Quarterback Tahj Boyd’s decision to return for his senior year.

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2.) Duke Johnson, Miami RB

Steve Mitchell- USA TODAY Sports

Last year Duke Johnson burst onto the scene and made plays all over the field. He ran for 10 touchdowns, returned two kickoffs to the house, caught another, and even threw one. This year, behind a very experienced offensive line, Johnson won’t have to split carries with anyone. If Miami can stay relevant, Johnson’s name will surface.

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1.) Tahj Boyd, Clemson QB

Greg M. Cooper- USA TODAY Sports

Tahi Boyd, the returning first-team All-ACC quarterback has his number one threat back in Sammy Watkins and is looking to build on some pretty impressive numbers. Last season, Boyd had 46 total touchdowns and a passer efficiency rating of 165.6. Boyd will also have two high-profile games to state his case. The season opener against Georgia could give him an early boost with voters, and the season ending game against rival South Carolina could provide him with a final statement.