By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Johnny Manziel was able to win college football’s biggest individual prize and go down in a select fraternity.
Manziel had 474 first place votes and 2,029 points from Heisman voting media members and former winners.
Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o finished in second place, while Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein finished in third place. Manziel was able to break the barrier that no freshman has ever won a Heisman until now, becoming the first freshman to do so.
“I have been dreaming about this since I was a kid, running around the backyard pretending I was Doug Flutie, throwing Hail Mary’s to my dad,” said Manziel.
As his name was announced, Manziel was calm and said in the Heisman press conference that he wasn’t nervous. He said he was just having fun with the experience.
Te’o, who was trying to become the first strictly defensive player to win the Heisman, received 321 first place votes and 1,706 points. Te’o received more votes than Hugh Green, a former Pittsburgh Defensive Lineman, with 861 votes in 1980.
Manziel became the second-youngest to win the award at 20 years and two days old. In 2009, then Alabama running back Mark Ingram received the award when he was 19 years old in 2009.
Since 2007, the award has been given to the non-traditional winners, as Tim Tebow started the trend of sophomore winners in 2007, then followed by fellow sophomores Sam Bradford in 2008 and Mark Ingram in 2009. In 2010, Junior Cam Newton won the award and last year, Senior Robert Griffin III won the award.
Prior to the 2007 Tebow Heisman announcement, juniors and seniors have dominated the award.
Prior to last night, then Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson came close as a freshman in 2004, before being beaten out by Southern California quarterback Matt Leinart. Peterson was a true freshman, unlike Manziel, who is a redshirt freshman.
As a redshirt player, he was allowed to attend school and attend practice, but was not allowed to play in any games. He was also able to learn from Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannenhill and Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman when they were both in College Station last year.
With being the 78th winner, he becomes the second player from Texas A&M to win the award, as he joins John David Crow in 1957. He is also the second straight quarterback from the State of Texas to win the award, as Baylor’s Robert Griffin III won the award last year.
In his first year in the SEC, Manziel broke Cam Newton’s (who won the 2010 Heisman Trophy) record with 4,600 total yards, while helping the Aggies to a 10-2 record. Manziel’s Heisman moment when he helped the Aggies to an upset of then-No. 1 Alabama in November.
This season, he has thrown for 3,419 yards and 24 touchdowns. He has also ran for 1,181 yards and 19 more touchdowns to become the first freshman and first SEC player – and fifth player overall – to have more than 3,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards.
Manziel will have one more game to play before his season is over. He will lead the Aggies onto the field against Oklahoma in the AT&T Cotton Bowl in Texas on January 4th.
Te’o has a consolation prize, as he gets to take the Fighting Irish into the National Championship on January 7th against Alabama. Notre Dame hasn’t won a National Championship since 1988.
Te’o’s Heisman moment when he helped the Notre Dame defense stop Southern California on 4th and 1 to keep their undefeated season wasn’t as good as Manziel’s Heisman moment, according to the voting.
This season, Te’o played in all 12 games and had 103 total tackles. He also had 1.5 tackles for a loss for 13 yards and 7 interceptions for 35 yards.
He also recovered two fumbles for eight yards.
Leading up to the award ceremony, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said that if Te’o didn’t win the award, that it should be strictly an offensive award. Te’o said Kelly was just trying to stick up for his players.
Klein received 60 first place votes and 894 points. He was the second ever Kansas State player to attend the award, as Michael Bishop was named runner-up in 1998 to then Texas running back Ricky Williams.
Klein’s 894 points was more than Bishop’s 792 points in 1998. In addition, Klein also had 19 more first place votes compared to Bishop’s 41 first place votes.
This season, Klein completed 180 passes of the 272 attempted. He has 2,490 passing yards and 15 touchdowns. He also had a 194 rushing attempts for 890 yards and 22 touchdowns.
Kansas State faces the fast-paced Oregon Ducks in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on January 3rd in Glendale, Arizona.
On Friday, Klein won the 2012 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award in Baltimore.
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