NCAA Football

5 College Football Players Who Lowered Their Heisman Stock In Week 2

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What's Happening Down There?

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It’s true that a player has to put together great performances week in and week out to win the Heisman Trophy. There is some margin for error, but one bad game or a single unforgivable play can do a lot of damage a player chances of hoisting the trophy in December. In Week 2, five players didn’t perform at a Heisman level, and who made the list may surprise you.

The preseason Heisman watch list was topped (in no particular order) by Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel, Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater, Clemson QB Tajh Boyd, South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney, Alabama QB A.J. McCarron and Ohio State QB Braxton Miller. These are all great players, and some of them played very well in Week 2. But, unfortunately, some guys didn’t play well (or play at all) and ended up on this list.

The guys who made this list had to meet at least one of the following three criteria: played poorly, put underwhelming stats, played against a cupcake opponent or didn’t play at all. Some guys checked more than one box, but all did (or didn’t do) something to damage their claim for college football’s most prestigious individual trophy.

So who are the five college football players that hurt their Heisman Trophy cause the most in Week 2? Whose names should we be pushing to the back of our minds (for now)? Who are all the other contenders that Oregon QB Marcus Mariota is looking down at right now? Let’s find out.

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5. Alabama Crimson Tide QB A.J. McCarron

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After completing just 10-of-23 passes for 110 yards, one touchdown and one interception in Week 1, Alabama’s A.J. McCarron’s Heisman stock plummeted. It drops even more (perhaps unfairly) after Week 2 in which he completed no passes, threw no TDs and didn’t notch a win for the Crimson Tide. Maybe it’s not fair to lower a guy’s stock following a bye, but unfortunately, the week off couldn’t have come at a worse time for McCarron. While other Heisman contenders were making plays and grabbing headlines, McCarron was sitting on a couch in Tuscaloosa and we were left with an extra seven days of dwelling on his disappointing performance against Virginia Tech. I’m certain he'll rebound, as will his team, and McCarron can easily boost his stock back up with a big performance and a win at Texas A&M.

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4. Clemson Tigers QB Tajh Boyd

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It may be nit-picking, considering Clemson played Palmetto State doormat South Carolina State in Week 2, but Tajh Boyd’s numbers were anything but Heisman Trophy-worthy. The senior quarterback completed 14-of-23 passes for 169 yards and zero touchdowns, but did rush for one TD. I know, Boyd only played half the game, but remember Johnny Manziel’s three touchdowns in less than two quarters against Rice? Had Boyd thrown a TD pass or two, he probably wouldn’t be on this list. Unfortunately, when you play against cupcake opponents, it’s hard to maintain or improve your Heisman stock.

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3. Miami Hurricanes RB Duke Johnson

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Yes, the Miami Hurricanes knocked off No. 12 Florida in Week 2. And yes, Duke Johnson scored the game-clinching touchdown. But his Heisman Trophy stock still took a hit against the Gators. These are the games in which Heisman-caliber players rise to the occasion. Johnson had a great opportunity to shine against one of, if not the toughest, defenses in college football. Instead, the Hurricanes running back gained only 59 yards on 21 carries with just the one touchdown, and his longest run was just 12 yards. It takes a whole lot more than that to beat out the other Heisman contenders when the votes are tallied.

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2. Clemson Tigers WR Sammy Watkins

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After a welcome back performance against Georgia in Week 1 with nine receptions, 146 yards and one TD, Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins took step back in the Heisman Trophy race in Week 2. Not only did his Tigers play a cupcake opponent in South Carolina State, the speedy wideout had some pretty mediocre numbers – three receptions for 19 yards and zero touchdowns. It’s only fair to mention that like his quarterback Tajh Boyd, who also made this list, Watkins didn’t play the entire game. But when you line up against such an inferior opponent, a true Heisman contender has to make at least one big play to keep pace with the rest of the studs competing for a trip to New York. Let’s see if he returns to form and makes a big impact on the perimeter for the Tigers this week against NC State.

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1. South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney

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At this point, it’s safe to say Jadeveon Clowney is out of the Heisman Trophy conversation, maybe not permanently, but for now. Through two games, Clowney, a preseason favorite to make it to the trophy presentation ceremony if not win the award, has made little to no impact for the South Carolina Gamecocks defense. Through two games, he’s only managed to contribute six tackles and one sack. It bears mentioning that offenses are game-planning away from Mr. Clowney, but a true Heisman contender must find a way to assert his dominance.

See related article: 5 College Football Players Who Raised Their Heisman Stock In Week 2