2013 preseason Heisman watch

A.J. McCarron of the Alabama Crimson Tide talks A.J. McCarron of the Alabama Crimson Tide talks to his offense against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (Oct. 27, 2012) Photo Credit: Getty

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The top Heisman Trophy candidates:

1. A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama: If he has the Crimson Tide positioned for its third straight BCS at the time of the vote, last year's passing efficiency leader will deserve it. He's 24-2 as a starter with 46 TD passes and eight interceptions.

2. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State: Earned Big Ten player of the year as a sophomore, accounting for 3,310 passing-rushing yards, 15 passing TDS and 13 rushing TDs in a 12-0 season. A repeat performance moves him to the top of the list.

3. Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina: The latest "legitimate" defensive candidate benefits from massive hype as the likely No. 1 NFL draft pick. But he must improve on a 54-tackle, 4.5-sack performance to earn "dominant" label.

4. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M: Became the first freshman Heisman winner last season, but his eligibility is in question.

5. Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville: Sugar Bowl MVP might be a stealth candidate after passing for 3,718 yards and 27 TDs with eight interceptions. If the Cardinals win the American Athletic Conference and return to a BCS bowl, he's a major factor.

6. Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia: Murray was second behind Bama's McCarron in pass efficiency, totaling 3,893 yards and 36 TDs with 10 interceptions. An upset in the SEC title game might push him to the forefront.

7. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon: Mariota passed for 2,677 yards and 32 TDs and ran for 752 yards and five TDs. The Ducks have a good chance to reach the BCS title game, in which case Mariota can't be ignored.

8. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson: Ranked fourth in passing efficiency last season with 3,896 yards, 36 TDs and nine interceptions. He can get off to fast start with a big performance in a nationally televised opener against Murray and Georgia.

9. Marqise Lee, WR, USC: Led the nation with 118 catches, ranked second with 1,721 receiving yards and tied for third with 14 TDs. He won't have Matt Barkley pitching this year, but Marquise is a marquee player.

10. Jordan Lynch, QB, Northern Illinois: Led NIU to a surprising Orange Bowl bid by passing for 3,138 yards and 25 TDs and rushing for 1,815 yards and 19 TDs. Those numbers were second only to Manziel for yards and TDs.

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