Heisman Finalists Named
Charles E. Sutton | 12/7/2012, 11:02 a.m.
Johnny Manziel and Manti Te'o are set up to make Heisman Trophy history.
Manziel, the Texas A & M redshirt freshman quarterback, and Te'o Notre Dame's outstanding linebacker, along with Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein, were invited Monday to attend the Heisman Trophy presentation ceremony.
Manziel is favored to win college football's most accomplished player of the year award on Saturday night in New York City. Should Manziel win, it would be an unprecedented selection because he would be the first freshman to win the Heisman. In addition, he would be the first Texas A & M player since halfback John David Crow won the school's only Heisman in 1957.
"I'm overwhelmed by this tremendous honor of representing Texas A & M, the 12th Man and all my teammates in New York," Manziel said in a written statement. "This is a dream come true for me, and I know it's a credit to all my coaches and teammates. I definitely wouldn't be a Heisman finalist without my teammates and coaches."
There have been three sophomores who have won the award (Tim Tebow in 2007, Sam Bradford in 2008 and Mark Ingram in 2009), but the highest a first-year player has ever finished is second.
Nicknamed Johnny Football, Manziel became a national sensation by putting up big numbers. He directed the 10th-ranked Aggies to a 10-2 record, while racking up an SEC-record 4,600 yards of total offense, including 1,181 rushing.
Te'o is attempting to become the first defense-only player to win the Heisman. The Fighting Irish have seven Heisman winners, tied for the most with Southern California and Ohio State, but none since Tim Brown in 1987.
Te'o became the leader of the nation's No. 1 team, and a defense that's been the most difficult to score on. The senior intercepted seven passes, tops for a linebacker and second-most in the country. He also led the team in with 103 tackles, and won this year's Butkus Award as the country's best linebacker.
Klein would be the first Kansas State player to win the award.
"I'm just honored with this opportunity that the Lord has provided me here at K-State," Klein said in a written statement. "I'm so proud to represent K-State in this because I feel like my road is very synonymous and in line with the K-State way. It has been a process, it has been a journey. There have been a lot of ups and downs, as well as a lot of hard times and growing pains through it. I'm just very proud to represent the K-State family.