Whole Nine Sports

ACC Heisman Candidates

Heisman Trophy

The ACC has not been a hot spot for Heisman winning players. Shockingly enough the only school to produce a winner is Florida State and they have 3 in Charlie Ward, Chris Weinke, and Jameis Winston. You would think the run that Clemson has been on the last few years someone would’ve snuck on in there but nope. Former Clemson star Trevor Lawrence was beaten by Alabama star receiver D’vonta Smith last year.  The ACC is never short of candidates and this year is no exception.  I outline the five that I feel have the best shot to win college footballs most coveted award.

Justyn Ross WR Clemson

Justyn Ross
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

It had been since 1991 that Desmond Howard took home the Heisman for the receiving corps out there, then Smith ran away with-it last year.  Ross is most likely a longshot, but I like that. He was injured last year with a spinal injury so getting medically healthy is the first step. A Redshirt junior, Ross burst onto the scene as a freshman with a 6 reception 153 yard and one touchdown game in the National Championship win over Alabama.  If his health holds up, he will be the number option in the Clemson passing game and should a ton of targets.

D.J. Uiagalelei QB Clemson

DJ Uiagelelei Heisman

What good is a great receiver if he has no one to throw to him? Ross does not have that problem as D.J. Uiagalelei the 6’4 sophomore is poised to take over for Lawrence. He certainly has not seen the field much in his time at Clemson, but he has stars around him and is talented enough to make some noise.  He shined in a double-overtime loss last year at Notre Dame, where he threw for 439 yards and accounted for three touchdowns. Another longshot but he can put up numbers and Clemson will definitely be in contention.

D’Eriq King QB Miami

D'Eriq King Heisman

In his first year at Miami the former Houston Cougar did not disappoint.  He threw for over 2,300 yards and 23 touchdowns, while running for over 500 yards.  A torn ACL ended his year last year and his Heisman campaign is conditioned on his healthy return.  The 5’11 dual threat QB has a knack of making plays when the original play breaks down.  He never takes his eyes form downfield and will find the open receiver or use his legs to make the defense pay.  Miami has a deep receiver corps and that should help King put up numbers in Rhett Lachleys high tempo offense.

McKenzie Milton QB Florida State

McKenzie Milton

Milton is coming to Tallahasee from UCF where he was a man amongst boys. In 33 games he produced 8,683 yards with 72 touchdowns.  He then added 1,078 yards on the ground with 20 more touchdowns.  He comes to Florida State after a leg injury that would have ended many a career.  He is on here as a longshot no doubt, as the Seminoles are not a great team so he won’t have much of a supporting cast.  Head coach Mike Norvell is a good offensive mind and even the talent at a school loke this is better than most.  So, if Milton is healthy he can put up big numbers he might not be helped by wins and losses however.

Sam Howell QB North Carolina

Sam Howell

The true junior has been an absolute beast in his first two years with the Tar Heels. With 68 touchdowns in against only 14 interceptions the campaign train has started for Howell this year.  He will aim to be the first winner from North Carolina and has a very good shot at such.  Carolina does not play Clemson so that could be a good or bad thing for Howell.  It is good because it makes their path to a Coastal title a bit easier; but it also means he has one less high-profile game to showcase against a great team.  An ACC title game visit could make that a moot point and if Howell plays as he has his first two seasons his name will be shouted all year.