What appears below is a quasi-realistic (read: crapshoot) view of which ACC players could potentially win the sport’s highest honor, the Heisman trophy. We’re looking at these players with the typical lens — winning team, team’s best player, signature moment (TBD) and statistical excellence. And if every player in the ACC completely drops out of the running, then this turns into the Weinke award (after the conference’s most recent Heisman winner, Chris Weinke)…
1. Tajh Boyd, QB/Clemson (822 total yards, 6 passing TD, 1 INT, 73.3 percent completion) (LW: 3)
Boyd once again leads one of the country’s best offensive attacks, and this year, he’s doing it with improved accuracy and decision-making. The junior quarterback’s numbers may not reach the gaudy heights they did early in 2011, but he’s not taking unnecessary risks either. That may change a bit as his top target gets back into to full speed, though. He’ll also be tested thoroughly once ACC play is in full swing, and it’s likely he’ll be involved in much closer contests as well, meaning he won’t be pulled early (as he has been).
Competition and lack of extended playing time have hurt Manuel up to now (he’s only thrown 59 passes over three games), but that all changes starting this week against Clemson. Previously, the ‘Noles have opened with a strong dose of Manuel, and with the advantage of a very effective rushing attack, have benched the starters by halftime. Win or lose, the high-powered Tigers offense is unlikely to extend them the same luxury this Saturday, meaning Manuel should see more snaps. If he comes up big, we may just see another shift at the top of this list as well.