ACC Heisman Watch

How about a new name to the ACC Heisman Watch?

1. Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina. He may not be a true Heisman contender this year, but he deserves some major recognition for the season he has turned in so far after missing a few games early with a knee injury. Bernard had a career-high 304 all-purpose yards last week in a win over NC State, including the game-winning 74-yard punt return for a touchdown. Bernard has 1,498 all-purpose yards in just seven games this year, already the ninth-most in school history. If he passes on the NFL draft and returns to school, there is no doubt he would be one of the early Heisman contenders in 2013.

2. EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State. Manuel was an early contender, but now that Florida State has crept back into the top 10, perhaps there is an opportunity for him to make a late run. Manuel is a semifinalist for the Maxwell Award, given annually to the top player in college football, so he has already been recognized for his great season. He has thrown for 2,315 yards this season and is completing 70 percent of his passes, with 16 touchdowns to four interceptions. He ranks No. 3 in the nation in passing efficiency right behind two other Heisman contenders -- AJ McCarron of Alabama and Collin Klein of Kansas State.

3. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson. Boyd was simply outstanding last week in a huge win over Wake Forest, throwing for a career-high 428 yards with five touchdown passes to no interceptions. Just as the Tigers have gotten back into the upper tier of the rankings, Boyd will have an opportunity to get more national folks to notice him once again. On the season, Boyd has thrown for 2,336 yards with 20 touchdowns to six interceptions. He ranks No. 10 in the nation in passing efficiency.