Johnny Football Wins Big

Kaylee Oh, Staff Writer

On December 8th, a “first” in college football occurred at the 78th annual Heisman Trophy ceremony. Johnny “Football” Manziel, a redshirt Texas A&M freshman, beat out the two seniors for the prestigious trophy, Manti Te’o and Collin Klein, by 323 and 1135 votes, respectively.

Both Te’o and Klein as winners would have been firsts: Te’o the first solely defensive player (Charles Woodson, who beat out Peyton Manning in 1997, was primarily defensive, but also played on special teams) and Klein the first Kansas State player.
Manziel, the starting quarterback for the Aggies, lead them to a winning record in their first season in the SEC. They are currently ranked 10 in the BCS standings. Their only losses were to Florida (ranked 3) and Louisiana State (ranked 9). He has completed 273/400 passes, and thrown 24 touchdowns. Manziel broke the SEC record for all-purpose yardage in a season, which in a defensive-dominated conference, is remarkable.
Te’o, a linebacker for Notre Dame, has 50 games under his belt, with 209 solo tackles, 7 interceptions, and 8.5 sacks. This season the Fighting Irish went 12-0, the only undefeated team in the NCAA (aside from Ohio State, who is ineligible to play in any championship or bowl games this year due to NCAA sanctions). Notre Dame is ranked 1 for the 2012 season and will play in the National Championship Game on January 7th.
Klein, the quarterback for Kansas State, led the Wildcats to an 11-1 season, with 354/572 completed passes and 29 touchdowns. Kansas State is ranked 7 in overall standings, and will play in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl against Oregon on January 3rd.
Head Coach Kevin Sumlin imposed a rule that no freshmen players could speak to the media, so while Manziel’s Heisman stock was rising, there was no word on how he felt about the nomination until after the season end, where in a statement issued by the university, Manziel said, “I’m overwhelmed by this tremendous honor of representing Texas A&M, the 12th Man and all my teammates in New York. This is a dream come true for me, and… I definitely wouldn’t be a Heisman finalist without my teammates and coaches.”
Twenty-year-old Manziel will not be able for play in the NFL for another year because he is a redshirt player, meaning he was held from play for a year without losing a year of eligibility. He will be required to play another year for the Aggies before he can move on to professional football.
The yearly winner becomes a household name (see Cam Newton or Tim Tebow). The Heisman winners are also watched very closely their first or second years (see Robert Griffin III) to see their success. The only roadblock, however, seems to be the “Heisman curse,” which states that any following bowl game the winner’s team plays, they will lose. All eyes will be on the Aggies on January 4th, when they take on the Oklahoma Sooners in the 2013 Cotton Bowl.