ACC Heisman Watch: Week 3

September, 11, 2012
9/11/12
10:30
AM ET
Clemson could own this Heisman Watch list, really. Between quarterback Tajh Boyd, receivers Sammy Watkins and Nuke Hopkins, and running back Andre Ellington, you could make a case for any of those guys. In fact, Andrea Adelson and I BOTH put Hopkins at No. 5 on our Heisman Watch lists for ESPN.com this week, and we didn't realize it until after the fact. They’re not the only ones in the ACC, though, with a real chance at being in the conversation.

Here’s a look at your top three Heisman contenders heading into Week 3:

1. Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel. He was 11-for-13 for 161 yards and three touchdowns -- in one quarter! Manuel hasn’t been sacked once this season, but he also hasn’t played an FBS team yet. He hasn’t even had to play a full four quarters yet through two games. He’s 8-2 as a starter against ACC opponents heading into Saturday’s game against Wake Forest. If the Noles can maintain their position in the top 10, Manuel is the league’s best hope at a Heisman dark horse this year. Unless, of course, they lose next week to ...

2. Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd. The Tigers have arguably been the ACC’s best team against the best competition, but it’s still early. Boyd, though, has been impressive through his first two games. Against Ball State, he was 19-for-23 for 229 yards passing and three touchdowns. He now has 41 career touchdown passes, which ties him with Woodrow Dantzler for third place on the career passing touchdowns list.

3. Clemson receiver Nuke Hopkins. Sorry, Sammy, but you’re going to have to play your way back onto the list. Hopkins caught six passes for 105 yards with three touchdowns in the first half against Ball State. With his three touchdown receptions, Hopkins tied a school record for receiving touchdowns -- and he did it in one half. Hopkins also now has three consecutive games of at least 100 receiving yards, which ties a school record.

Watch out for:

Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas. The Hokies’ offense has been less than spectacular, but you have to remember the overhaul of personnel around him. Thomas didn’t look like a Heisman contender in Week 1 against Georgia Tech, and the Hokies got off to a slow start against Austin Peay.

North Carolina running back Giovani Bernard. He had an undisclosed injury and didn’t play in last week’s loss to Wake Forest. There is no update on his status for Saturday’s game at Louisville.

Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins. Watkins, who has been suspended for the first two games, is expected to make his debut this weekend against Furman.

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