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Who will be top Heisman challenger to Jameis Winston in 2014?

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston won the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night, but that's old news. It's time to start talking about the 2014 Heisman.

Winston will go into the season as the Heisman front-runner, but he will be battling history: No player has won back-to-back Heismans since Ohio State running back Archie Griffin in 1974-75.

Here's a look at the 10 players who will go into the 2014 season as Winston's main challengers. Not included are players that appear to be learning toward or giving serious consideration to going pro.

1. QB Braxton Miller, Ohio State

2013 stats: 1,860 passing yards, 22 passing TDs, 5 interceptions, 1,033 rushing yards, 10 rushing TDs

The buzz: Miller performed at a high level in the second half of the season, showing he had completely adapted to the version of the spread offense favored by coach Urban Meyer. But he missed two games and almost all of another with a knee injury, which kept his numbers down. Miller needs to become a more refined passer, but he still made great improvement in that area this season. A season with 2,500 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards -- with a combined 30 TDs -- looks possible in 2014

2. QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon

2013 stats: 3,412 passing yards, 30 passing TDs, 4 interceptions, 582 rushing yards, 9 rushing TDs

The buzz: Mariota was a Heisman front-runner for much of the season before fading down the stretch. He is a great fit for the Ducks' offense and again will have a number of weapons with which to work next fall. Heisman-type numbers are a given; his "candidacy" ultimately may depend on how many games the Ducks win.

3. QB Bryce Petty, Baylor

2013 stats: 3,844 passing yards, 30 passing TDs, 2 interceptions, 11 rushing TDs

The buzz: He put up big numbers as a first-time starter. Yes, Art Briles' offense lends itself to quarterbacks producing eye-popping stats, but Petty performed beyond expectations. Still, his production tailed off in the second half of the season, when the schedule toughened. If he can get his completion percentage to 67 percent (it was 61.8 this season) next season, look for a 4,200-yard season through the air.

4. QB Brett Hundley, UCLA

2013 stats: 2,845 passing yards, 22 passing TDs, 9 interceptions, 587 rushing yards, 9 rushing TDs

The buzz: UCLA coaches will be looking for more consistency as a passer next fall; that must include cutting down on the picks. Hundley became a more effective runner this season, partly because UCLA went through a number of tailbacks due to injuries. A third year working with coordinator Noel Mazzone could lead to a 30-TD season through the air.

5. RB Todd Gurley, Georgia

2013 stats: 903 rushing yards, 10 TDs

The buzz: Gurley missed three games and wasn't 100 percent in another five because of injuries. With the departure of four-year starting quarterback Aaron Murray, expect Bulldogs coaches to rely more heavily on Gurley next season. He will share carries with Keith Marshall, which will cut down on his stats.

6. QB Nick Marshall, Auburn

2013 stats: 1,023 rushing yards, 11 passing TDs, 1,759 passing yards, 12 rushing TDs, 5 interceptions

The buzz: Marshall never is going to be a great passer, but he improved in that area as this season progressed. No one questions his athleticism or running ability. He can give his candidacy a huge boost with a good performance in the BCS national championship game against Florida State's stout defense.

7. RB Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin

2013 stats: 1,466 rushing yards, 12 TDs

The buzz: Gordon's production dropped noticeably in the second half of the season. He rushed for 100 yards six times in the first seven games of the season, but reached that plateau only once in the final five games. And of his 12 TDs, only one came in the final five games. He will be the unquestioned No. 1 tailback for the Badgers next season and could stand to become a better-rounded tailback. Still, running is what he does best, and an 1,800-yard season seems a legit goal.

8. RB Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska

2013 stats: 1,568 rushing yards, 8 TDs

The buzz: He quietly has rushed for almost 1,600 yards and leads the Big Ten in rushing yardage. He also is a solid receiver and should pair well with QB Tommy Armstrong Jr. He ran behind a line that suffered through an injury-plagued season and thus has 1,800-yard potential for next fall.

9. RB Mike Davis, South Carolina

2013 stats: 1,134 rushing yards, 11 TDs

The buzz: He was injured late in the season and missed one game as well as parts of two others. South Carolina will be without QB Connor Shaw, and Davis will become the focal point of the offense -- think of Fred Taylor's workload at Florida in 1997, when Steve Spurrier rode Taylor like a horse. Davis and the Gamecocks will open the 2014 season at home on a Thursday night against Texas A&M, which potentially gives him a huge springboard for the Heisman race.

10. QB Taylor Kelly, Arizona State

2013 stats: 3,510 passing yards, 28 passing TDs, 11 interceptions, 473 rushing yards, 8 rushing TDs

The buzz: Hey, every early Heisman top-10 list needs a dark horse of sorts, and Kelly fits that bill. He has put together a big season but was overshadowed in his league by Mariota and Hundley, among others. He has thrown 57 TD passes in two seasons and obviously is quite comfortable in coach Todd Graham's offense. Kelly does need to play better in "big" games, though, and cut down on his interception total.

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

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