By Ed McGranahan.
By Ed McGranahan
A Heisman Trophy probably won’t be added to the collection of hardware in the West End Zone nor will a campaign soon commence.
Nobody at Clemson wants to discuss the honest reason, and that’s understandable.
The safe – and arguably pragmatic – answer at this stage is that it’s too early.
That wasn’t the case when C.J. Spiller was a senior. Remember the poster?
And Clemson isn’t shy about trumpeting its players and program when it’s appropriate.
So, one queries, why isn’t it appropriate now.
After all, Tajh Boyd was the best quarterback in the ACC last season, one of the most productive in the nation and perhaps the greatest ever to wear the uniform. By some metrics he was more productive than, for example, Braxton Miller of Ohio State who was named preseason second-team All-America today by CBS Sports.
One writer at ESPN listed him as a darkhorse candidate for the Heisman. That same day a list on the site ranked him as the No. 2 quarterback in the nation behind Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville. Johnny Autograph wasn’t in the conversation.
But Clemson demurs when asked about launching a Boyd for Heisman campaign. In fact, the last time the question was posed the response was curious. To the effect that it seemed a relatively empty exercise because ESPN has more influence on voting than anything Clemson can generate.
There’s a poster in Dabo Swinney’s office, mentioned here before, of Boyd for Heisman, and the coach genuinely believes his quarterback deserves consideration, but don’t try to pin him down today or anytime soon. He’ll flash more moves than he ever did in an Alabama uniform.
Hypothetically, and that’s all it’s about anyway, if Watkins has a season that matches or exceeds his freshman year, he will join the Heisman discussion. Not as a darkhorse or fringe candidate, but as the real deal.
At the moment and perhaps all season, Clemson cannot choose.
It’s a fun dilemma really, but when two players from the same team are in the conversation the odds are against them.
Historically that’s been the case except for that rare 2004-2005 University of Southern Cal team when quarterback Matt Leinart won as a junior then finished third to Reggie Bush as a senior.
Over the past 15 seasons two players from the same team have finished top 10 in balloting seven times including three sets in ’04 when Adrian Peterson-Jason White of Oklahoma and J.J. Arrington-Aaron Rodgers of Cal joined the Trojan two.
It’s become more common as voters have broadened their vision to include more positions and more underclassmen since Archie Griffin became the first as a junior, but with a field of potential candidates that would make a presidential campaign envious, it’s likely two from the same team might be counter productive.
Montee Ball-Russell Wilson (2011), Graham Harrell-Michael Crabtree (2008), Willis McGahee-Ken Dorsey (2002) were among the most recent.
Boyd-Watkins could be the next.
And if one of them wins, it would be historic because Bush is no longer recognized as a winner.