Once per month this offseason, we’ll take a look at the ACC‘s top five contenders for college football’s highest honor: the Heisman Trophy. Sure there’s a very slim likelihood we’ll see an ACC player receive the award this year, but nothing wrong with dreaming.
ACC’s Top Five Heisman Contenders for 2012
Comments out of Clemson’s camp this summer have given me no reason to think there will be any sort of production drop-off in 2012. With the “big three” for the Tigers still intact, Boyd should continue to put up the same gaudy numbers we saw from him throughout the first eight games of last season. If he finds consistency — and conventional wisdom says that will be the case — he will be counted among the most lethal quarterbacks in the country.
2. Sammy Watkins, WR/Clemson (Last Month: 3)
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney has told reporters that due to Watkins’ commitment to meeting his requirements following a drug-related arrest, we may see the receiver in the season opener. Obviously, that’s a huge boost for his team and QB’s respective fortunes (see Boyd’s appearance above), and gives Watkins a chance to impress fans for the full slate of 12 games (and hopefully more). Given his larger involvement in special teams for 2012, expect fireworks early and often.
Glennon’s done nothing wrong but play in the same division as Clemson, which on this list is enough to knock you down a few pegs after some good news for the Tigers. Still, if the senior can keep his confidence up from last year’s late run, his stat line could read among the best in the nation. Through the final five games of 2011, he showed himself a quick decision-maker and savvy veteran passer. We’ll see much of the same as he plays for the right to be drafted early by an NFL team.
Should Virginia Tech find the same type of success as last year or better, it will be at least partially inspired by the play of their quarterback. The hype and pressure are both on Thomas to perform at an elite level in 2012, given the revamped O-line and running game. Early offseason returns say he’s up for the challenge. His continued improvement as a pocket passer will decide a lot of that answer.
5. David Amerson, CB/NC State (Last Month: 4)
Amerson’s biggest hope is that the ascendance of cohort Earl Wolff allows for teams to take more shots at him downfield. If so, then we’ll expect the same type of production as last season, with a mind-blowing 13 interceptions to his name. In what will likely be his last year as a collegiate player, Amerson has a chance to distinguish himself as one of the elite corners to play the game in some time. I, for one, am anxious to see him in action this fall.