ACC's early 2014 Heisman hopefuls

December, 17, 2013
12/17/13
4:00
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If there is another Jameis Winston looming in the 2014 quarterbacks class, we haven’t heard about him. The position will be getting an overhaul next season, as Clemson, Boston College, Maryland, Wake Forest, NC State, Miami, Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh will all be looking for new starters. There could also be some competitions at Virginia and Syracuse, so it’s definitely a question mark heading into next season. So far, there doesn’t appear to be any quarterback who can challenge Winston for the Heisman Trophy in 2014.

That doesn’t mean, though, that another surprise candidate like Andre Williams won’t emerge.

Until then, here’s an early look at your top three ACC Heisman hopefuls for 2014:

1. FSU QB Jameis Winston: We saw what happened with Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel -- the magic of his first season wore off, even if his play remained outstanding. It’s not going to be easy for Winston to repeat, but he has made a habit of exceeding expectations. There’s also the question of who leaves early for the NFL, and how that affects Winston’s supporting cast. With Winston returning, though, Florida State should again be considered a frontrunner for the national title, and Winston remains the candidate to beat for the Heisman Trophy.

2. Miami running back Duke Johnson: He broke his ankle in the loss to Florida State and missed the rest of the season, but when he’s 100 percent healthy, there’s no question Johnson is a game-changer and one of the top running backs and kick returners in the country. Miami was 2-2 without him, losing to Duke and Virginia Tech, and he was the ACC’s No. 2-leading rusher before he was injured. Even with the injury, Johnson still finished the regular season as Miami’s leading rusher with 920 yards and 115 yards per game. He was second on the team in total offense and led the team with 1,393 all-purpose yards.

3. Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater (if he returns): Bridgewater has said he is “undecided” about his future, but will make the decision after playing Miami in the Russell Athletic Bowl. Should he return, Bridgewater would instantly be one of the top quarterbacks in the ACC for 2014, and again one of the top in the country. As of right now, though, Bridgewater is is the No. 1-rated quarterback prospect by ESPN's Todd McShay, and the No. 8 player overall.

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Fisher: Winston's Choice Won't Be A Surprise
Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said that Jameis Winston's decision to remain in college or leave for the NFL will not be a surprise either way.
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