Texas A&M sophomore Johnny Manziel might be at odds with the NCAA, but he’s still in good standing with Heisman voters.
The returning Heisman winner starts the 2013 season right where he left off the last one: atop HeismanPundit.com’s Heisman Straw Poll.
This year’s preseason version of the weekly survey saw the Aggies quarterback collect four first-place votes and 33 total points to edge out South Carolina junior defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who tallied 30 points and one first-place vote.
“You have to go with Manziel for now,” said one voter. “He was so impressive last season, there’s little reason to think he won’t be as good or better this year.”
If the poll holds true to the end, Manziel would join Ohio State’s Archie Griffin as just the second two-time Heisman winner. He became the first-ever freshman to win it last season.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is that the HeismanPundit Heisman Straw Poll is merely a snapshot of what voters are thinking at the moment. No preseason top selection in the poll’s history has ever gone on to actually win the Heisman.
“It provides a starting point for the race and shows us what voters are thinking heading into the season,” said Chris Huston, who runs HeismanPundit.com. “But historically it hasn’t been a prediction of where the race will end up.”
Ohio State junior Braxton Miller — considered by many to be the real front runner for the trophy — was third in the poll with 22 points and two first-place votes. Another junior, wide receiver Marqise Lee of USC (one first-place vote), tied with senior quarterback AJ McCarron of Alabama for fourth with 14 points.
Oregon sophomore quarterback Marcus Mariota was sixth with 11 points and 1 first place vote, while quarterbacks Tajh Boyd of Clemson and Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville tied for seventh with four points each.
Oregon’s De’Anthony Thomas (2 points) and Georgia’s Aaron Murray (1 point) rounded out the poll.
Now in its eighth season, the HeismanPundit.com Heisman Straw Poll is the college football world’s most trusted gauge of Heisman voter sentiment. It has been the most accurate Heisman poll in the country during the past seven seasons, with the final 2012 poll correctly picking the top five finishers and the final 2011 poll picking the top seven. This year’s poll is made up of 9 anonymous Heisman voters from across the country. For the preseason version, they’ve selected five players on their ballots, while during the season they will pick three players. Tabulations for the preseason poll are made on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis while in-season polls are tabulated like a real Heisman ballot, with three points awarded for a first-place vote, two points for a second-place vote and one point for a third-place vote.
Each week’s poll is released on Tuesdays throughout the season at HeismanPundit.com.
The 2013 preseason HeismanPundit.com Heisman Straw Poll
Total Points (with first place votes in parentheses)
1. Johnny Manziel, So., QB, Texas A&M — 33 (4)
2. Jadeveon Clowney, Jr., DE, South Carolina — 30 (1)
3. Braxton Miller, Jr., QB, Ohio State — 22 (2)
4. (tie) Marqise Lee, Jr., WR, USC — 14 (1)
AJ McCarron, Sr., QB, Alabama — 14
6. Marcus Mariota, So., QB, Oregon — 11 (1)
7. (tie) Tajh Boyd, Sr., QB, Clemson — 4
Teddy Bridgewater, Jr., QB, Louisville — 4
9. De’Anthony Thomas, Jr., WR/RB, Oregon — 2
10. Aaron Murray, Sr., QB, Georgia — 1
Previous preseason straw poll selections (with eventual finish in parentheses)
2012 — Matt Barkley (n/a)
2011 — Andrew Luck (2nd)
2010 — Mark Ingram (n/a)
2009 — Tim Tebow (5th)
2008 — Tim Tebow (3rd)
2007 — Darren McFadden (2nd)