One Of These 10 Players Will Keep Johnny Manziel From Winning Another Heisman Trophy This Year

After his scandal-filled offseason, it feels like ages since Johnny Manziel became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy.

But Manziel has a big hill to climb if he is going to be the first player since Archie Griffin in 1975 to win college football’s top award for a second time.

Thanks to an autograph scandal and a half-game suspension, many voters may have a bad taste in their mouth when it comes to Manziel and won’t vote for him again.

If not Manziel, there are 10 players that can dethrone the child-king. On the next few pages, we will take a closer look at the 10 favourites.

Braxton Miller, Ohio State

Position: Quarterback

Finish in 2012 Heisman voting*: 5th (3 first-place votes)

Why he can win the 2013 Heisman: Heisman voters love a multi-threat player, and Miller has a good chance to throw for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards. If he leads the Big 10 in passing and rushing and Ohio State is a BCS-calibre team, Braxton will hoist the trophy.

The biggest obstacle he must overcome: The Big 10 is an inferior conference to the SEC. As a quarterback, Miller will need more than just big numbers. If Ohio State trips up and loses a couple of regular season games in the Big 10, it will kill his chances.

* Final voting is only revealed for each player that received a first-place vote. In 2012, 10 different players received a first-place vote.

Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina

Position: Defensive end

Finish in 2012 Heisman voting: 6th (4 first-place votes)

Why he can win the 2013 Heisman: Outside of Johnny Manziel, Clowney is the most recognisable name in college football. He also has a ton of momentum built off of his big hit against Michigan during the Outback Bowl.

The biggest obstacle he must overcome: Clowney is the best defensive player in the game and could be the top pick in next year's draft. But he doesn't make enough highlight plays to woo Heisman Voters. He doesn't play offence, and as a defensive player, there will be games when he is either shut down or just won't have any highlight-worthy plays. There just won't be enough big hits.

A.J. McCarron, Alabama

Position: Quarterback

Finish in 2012 Heisman voting: Did not finish in the top 10

Why he can win the 2013 Heisman: The Heisman Trophy is a quarterback award unless there just happens to be no quarterbacks that deserve it and McCarron is the quarterback on the best team in the country. While McCarron rarely has big passing games, he never has bad passing games. In 2012 he threw 30 touchdowns with just three interceptions.

The biggest obstacle he must overcome: Despite being the quarterback on a team that has won back-to-back championships, McCarron doesn't seem to get much of the credit. Part of that is Alabama's defence. But a bigger part may be the large shadow cast by his coach, Nick Saban, who gets all of the credit. And that can be seen in last year's Heisman voting where 10 different players received a first-place vote and McCarron wasn't one of them.

Marquis Lee, USC

Position: Wide receiver

Finish in 2012 Heisman voting: 4th (19 first-place votes)

Why he can win the 2013 Heisman: Lee plays a touchdown-scoring position on a team that will create a lot of buzz if they get off to a big start.

The biggest obstacle he must overcome: USC doesn't even know who their starting quarterback is in week one and that situation will likely be fluid all season long. That doesn't bode well for a wide receiver.

Marcus Mariota, Oregon

Position: Quarterback

Finish in 2012 Heisman voting: Did not finish in the top 10

Why he can win the 2013 Heisman: Oregon is very much a team that is now on everybody's radar and that means plenty of coverage for the high-powered Ducks offence. The center of that coverage will be Mariota.

The biggest obstacle he must overcome: Can the Ducks remain an offensive juggernaut without Chip Kelly as head coach? Promoting offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich was a good start. There will also be the stigma that Mariota's numbers are only a result of the system and less because of his talent. And then there his own teammate, DeAnthony Thomas, who could steal some thunder from Mariota at running back.

Aaron Murray, Georgia

Position: Quarterback

Finish in 2012 Heisman voting: Did not finish in the top 10

Why he can win the 2013 Heisman: Murray is one of the best quarterbacks in college football and may be the best pro prospect. But his best traits are that he is not hated by some like Johnny Manziel, he does not play in the Big 10 like Braxton Miller, and is not overshadowed by his coach like AJ McCarron. That could make him the Heisman winner by default.

The biggest obstacle he must overcome: The SEC has six of the top 12 teams in the preseason AP poll. To win the Heisman, a quarterback either needs mind-blowing numbers or he needs very good numbers and a very good record. If Georgia loses a couple of games along the way, Murray won't win.

Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville

Position: Quarterback

Finish in 2012 Heisman voting: Did not finish in the top 10

Why he can win the 2013 Heisman: Bridgewater has the ability to put up some huge numbers and he is playing on a top 10 team. He also has some early-season name recognition which means people will be tuning in to see what he will do.

The biggest obstacle he must overcome: Bridgewater may not be enough of a multi-threat quarterback to win the Heisman, rushing for just 26 yards last season. Each of the last three Heisman winners (Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III, Johnny Manziel) were also running threats. Even Andrew Luck, who finished second twice, rushed for nearly 500 yards his sophomore season.

Kevin Hogan, Stanford

Position: Quarterback

Finish in 2012 Heisman voting: Did not finish in top 10

Why he can win the 2013 Heisman: Hogan could become a trendy pick if Stanford is undefeated and beats Oregon and USC in early November. Those games will be talked about a lot when Heisman discussions ramp-up in mid-November.

The biggest obstacle he must overcome: Hogan does not have the name recognition of other quarterbacks. No quarterback had more name recognition than Andrew Luck and even he couldn't win the Heisman playing for a Stanford team that was just outside the group of best teams in the country.

T.J. Yeldon, Alabama

Position: Running back

Finish in 2012 Heisman voting: Did not finish among the top 10

Why he can win the 2013 Heisman: The last running back to win the Heisman Trophy was Mark Ingram, running back for the Alabama team that won the national championship in 2009. If Yeldon can lead the nation in rushing (or at least lead big schools), Bama wins the championship, and no quarterback has a note-worthy season, Yeldon could come out on top.

The biggest obstacle he must overcome: Even if Yeldon leads the nation in rushing, he will still be just the second most popular player on his team, behind A.J. McCarron. Yeldon may actually need Alabama to lose a game (Texas A&M?) to hurt McCarron's candidacy, and still win the National Championship. That will be hard to do.

Venric Mark, Northwestern

Position: Running back/Kick returner

Finish in 2012 Heisman voting: Did not finish among the top 10

Why he can win the 2013 Heisman: Venric is the multi-threat talent that Heisman voters love. He is a running back that will put up strong numbers, but he is also a kick returner capable of making SportsCenter's top plays. If he can have a big game against Ohio State in October, he will become part of the discussion. He also has a good story, having overcome a rough upbringing (a brother and a cousin were shot to death).

The biggest obstacle he must overcome: Northwestern is not going to be on the radar of a lot of fans and voters. He will likely need a big return touchdown to help upset a big team like Ohio State. Short of that, Mark is a long shot.

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