Like the national Heisman race, the ACC‘s version is packed very tightly with a bevy of spectacular passers leading undefeated teams. There’s very few ways to separate any of these players from each other, but we try our best with what we have at hand. Have other nominees? Submit your ballots below.
A game against Syracuse‘s lackluster secondary was exactly what Boyd needed to bolster his case as a Heisman contender. The star senior was pulled early, along with several other Tigers starters, and yet still accounted for 450 yards of offense and five scores. Every game won’t be against the Orange, of course, but if nothing else, the strong effort was a stern reminder of just how explosive Boyd can be.
Just like Boyd, Winston used last week as a reminder to everyone about just how high his ceiling really is. Up against a Maryland team that was simply embarrassed, he tallied over 400 yards and five touchdowns — making things seem effortless for the second straight week and handing himself yet another “Heisman moment.” At this point, there’s no question the redshirt freshman can keep up a high level of play. The question is now how much better can he get?
And this is where Bridgewater and Louisville’s fortunes start to dip somewhat. They’ve been playing for style points all season to make up for the poor schedule and poor American Athletic Conference affiliation for one more year, but they’re starting to lose ground on the other top-ranked teams now. Beat Temple 30-7 is not just what they were supposed to do, it’s less than what they should’ve been the Owls by (according to voters). It could spell doom for Bridgewater’s Heisman hopes and the Cardinal’s dreams of playing for a national championship, even if undefeated at year’s end.
Though he was shut out of the end zone last week, that simply can’t gloss over the fact that Duke Johnson managed to tally 325 total yards (including 184 rushing). As always, Johnson was a focus of the opposing defenders, and still managed to put up other-worldly numbers just the same. As much as Stephen Morris is a big part of the Hurricanes’ offensive success, it’s tough to deny just how integral Johnson is to both offense and special teams. Whether it’s getting the ball in the end zone or taking pressure off his teammates, he’s the motor that runs Miami.
5. Vic Beasley, DE/Clemson (15 tackles, 10 TFLs, 8 sacks) (Last: NR)
Before the season, we all expected to see a defensive end from the state of South Carolina on Heisman watch lists, but I doubt any of them thought it would be Beasley. Tasked with playing up to his potential this offseason, the junior has come on strong as one of the country’s most dynamic pass-rushers. his eight sacks lead the nation and his 10 total tackles-for-loss show he gets involved in the run game as well. If that wasn’t enough, he nearly averages a defended pass per game too. We’ve already seen him tear up several offensive lines this year (in particular, Syracuse’s last week), and I doubt he’s done yet.