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Andre Williams challenging Jameis Winston in Heisman poll

Florida State redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston retained the top spot in the Straw Poll, but a new challenger has emerged.

Winston has 18 votes, two fewer than last week, while Boston College senior tailback Andre Williams -- the nation's leading rusher -- has zoomed into second place. He received 16 votes this week after having just one last week. Alabama senior quarterback AJ McCarron is third with eight votes.

Each week, polls 10 Heisman voters -- who remain anonymous -- from across the country. Each voter selects three players, first place through third, and points are tabulated like a real Heisman ballot (three points for a first-place vote, two points for a second-place vote and one point for a third-place vote).

Nine players -- seven quarterbacks, a running back and a defensive tackle -- received votes this week.

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Following the top three in the poll this week are Northern Illinois senior quarterback Jordan Lynch (seven votes), Texas A&M sophomore quarterback Johnny Manziel (four), Baylor junior quarterback Bryce Petty (two) and Fresno State senior quarterback Derek Carr and Pitt senior defensive tackle Aaron Donald (one each).

Winston had six first-place votes, McCarron two and Lynch and Mariota one each. Mariota is in first on one ballot and doesn't appear on any other. Williams is on eight ballots, the most of any player; all eight have him in second. Winston -- who is involved in a sexual-assault investigation --- is on six ballots, and each has him in first.

The poll has been the most accurate Heisman gauge in the past seven seasons, with the final 2012 poll correctly picking the top five finishers and the final 2011 poll picking the top seven.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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