became the first freshman ever to win the Heisman Trophy in 2012. (Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
By Zac Ellis
Johnny Manziel appears poised for a repeat Heisman Trophy performance, according to one veteran sports analyst. USA Today handicapper and analyst Danny Sheridan unveiled his 2013 Heisman odds to AL.com's Don Kausler Jr. on Thursday, and the Texas A&M quarterback topped Sheridan's list at 6:1. Manziel became the first freshman ever to claim college football's most prestigious award last December.
Sheridan positions Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller right behind Manziel at 7:1, followed by Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon (8:1), Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray (8:1) and Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (10:1). Sheridan's complete odds are listed after the jump:
• Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M 6:1
• Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State 7:1
• T.J. Yeldon, RB, Alabama 8:1
• Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia 8:1
• Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville 10:1
• De'Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon 10:1
• Marqise Lee, WR, USC 12:1
• Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina 12:1
• AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama 15:1
• Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson 15:1
It's worth noting that Sheridan told AL.com that his odds are not predictions; otherwise, Miller would be significantly lower on his list.
"Is [Miller] as good as Manziel?" Sheridan asked. "He's not even in the same league with Manziel, or Yeldon or Murray. But he quarterbacks an Ohio State team that is a super -- and underline the word super -- PR machine.
"If they go 12-0, which they really should -- they'll be favored to, but I don't think they will -- you'll be hearing how wonderful this guy is."
Keep in mind, no player has repeated as a Heisman winner since Ohio State's Archie Griffin in 1975. And as we've written before in this space, Manziel still has plenty to prove entering his sophomore season, with the expectations looming over his encore campaign making a repeat Heisman all the more difficult. Still, Manziel holds the reins to another stacked Aggies' offense that should enter this fall in the national title picture.
A few more thoughts on Sheridan's initial list:
• Jadeveon Clowney's chances seem low here. Manti Te'o's historic runner-up finish in last year's voting opened the door even wider for an exclusively defensive player to take home the Heisman, and no player on that side of the ball will be followed more closely than South Carolina's Clowney -- particularly on the heels of target="_blank">his incredible hit on Michigan's Vincent Smith in last year's Outback Bowl.
• I think Alabama's AJ McCarron should have gotten more chatter for Heisman consideration last year, when he led the nation in passing efficiency and didn't throw an interception until Nov. 10 against Texas A&M. However, with two national titles under his belt and girlfriend Katherine Webb enhancing his public profile, McCarron's shot at the trophy seems better than 15:1.
• Braxton Miller's chance at the Heisman should be as strong as anyone's. The Buckeyes
are eligible for the postseason again, and Urban Meyer said this spring he'd be disappointed if Ohio State didn't have the best offense in the Big Ten. Miller should wow onlookers and fill up the stat sheet, and another undefeated season isn't out of the question. Despite Sheridan's doubts, I think Miller could realistically top this list.