Johnny Manziel made history in 2012 by becoming the first freshman to ever win the Heisman Trophy award. As the 2013 season approaches, the Texas A&M quarterback is the favorite to win the award again.
The online betting Web site Bovada has given the sophomore the best odds of any player to win the award. At 5/1, Manziel leads the list of candidates. Last season, he set a record when he threw for 3,706 and recorded 1,410 rushing yards. In his second college football season, Manziel could perform even better.
Ohio State’s Braxton Miller may be the biggest competition to Johnny Football. He was the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year in 2012 and seems ready to improve on his fifth finish in the race for the award. Miller may be the most athletic quarterback in the entire country and should be able to improve with a fairly easy schedule in 2013. Urban Meyer was able to help turn Tim Tebow into the best player in the sport, and he should be able to get the most out of Miller this season.
Quarterbacks A.J. McCarron and Teddy Bridgewater will also be in contention for the award. McCarron should be in the mix all season with what may be the best team in the nation. He’s already won two titles with Alabama and could be rewarded with the Heisman if he leads the Crimson Ride to another big year. Bridgewater had his coming out party when Louisville beat Florida in the Sugar Bowl. The Cardinals should be much improved this year, and Bridgewater may make the leap into the upper echelon of college signal callers.
Other than quarterbacks, running backs almost exclusively make up the list of potential Heisman winners. T.J. Yeldon of Alabama leads the way at running back with 9/1 odds. Last year, he ran the ball just 175 times, but averaged 6.3 yards per carry.
Jadeveon Clowney and Marqise Lee are the two stars that don’t play quarterback or running back with the best chance of winning the award. Clowney may be the best player in football, which is why he’s third with 15/2 odds. In 1997, Charles Woodson was the last defensive player to win the Heisman. It’s been even longer since a wide receiver won. USC’s Lee will try to change that and do what Desmond Howard did with Michigan in 1991. His odds are at 18/1.