Early look at Heisman watch candidates

It is never too early to start talking Heisman.

The folks over at Heisman Pundit are always good to start a debate. That group released its post-spring Heisman watch list with several familiar faces from the ACC included:

It is no real surprise to see these players on the list. Boyd is an absolute contender this season, especially since the Tigers are going to have a shot at making a national title run. We all know that helps any player's cause, especially when you play in a conference that does not get as much respect as some others out there.

Though Diggs and Johnson are going into their sophomore seasons, both are explosive and versatile enough to merit their place on this list. They were not only the top two freshmen in the ACC last season, but two of the top freshmen in the entire country. Their numbers were nearly identical. Diggs ranked No. 8 in the nation in all-purpose yards per game, averaging 172.4; Johnson ranked right behind at No. 9, averaging 171.7 yards per game.

But there is one name missing from this list that I believe should be included.

Sammy Watkins.

Now, there are certain strikes against him. For one, Boyd is on the list and quarterbacks generally get way more publicity than teammates at different positions. It is rare to find teammates on these lists, though certainly we have seen it happen before -- Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush immediately come to mind.

Secondly, Watkins is coming off a subpar season by his own standards. A lot of people do not really know what to expect out of him this year -- the freshman phenom or the inconsistent sophomore?

Here is the thing: There are only two receivers on the list out of 30. Despite what happened last season, Watkins remains one of the most dynamic receivers and returners in the country.

While receiver is generally third on the pecking order behind quarterback and running back, I believe Watkins is in line for a terrific season. That should make Heisman watchers sit up and take notice.