Nearly half of a 15-person panel of ESPN.com analysts believe South Carolina junior defensive end Jadeveon Clowney will win the 2013 Heisman Trophy.
Clowney received seven first-place votes and a total of 55 points in the first Heisman Watch polling. Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller finished second with 40 points and four first-place votes.
“Can a defensive player win the Heisman Trophy? It hasn't happened since Michigan cornerback/kick returner Charles Woodson won the award in 1997. But Clowney is the most disruptive player in college football and is a potential No. 1 pick in next spring's NFL draft,” according to the website.
Barring a surprise appearance on offense this season, Clowney would make history by winning the Heisman Trophy. No defense-only player has ever won the award. Last season, he had 23.5 tackles for loss and set the Gamecocks single-season record for sacks with 13.
Six of the players receiving votes in ESPN’s poll (for either first through fifth place) are from the SEC, including Clowney, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron, Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon, Georgia running back Todd Gurley and Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray.