Johnny Manziel, a freshman at Texas A&M, is breaking all precedents during his first season playing college football. The quarterback is the first freshman in history to be awarded the Heisman Trophy, college football’s highest individual honor.
Manziel received 474 first place votes and won easily over a distant second place Manti Te’o out of Notre Dame, who received 321 first place votes. Te’o, a linebacker, was also looking to make history, aiming to be the first defensive player to ever win the award. However, Manziel’s incredible season ended any hope that Te’o might have had of winning. Manziel threw for 3,419 yards and 24 touchdowns, and rushed for an additional 1,181 yards and 19 touchdowns. Te’o has had a remarkable season in his own right, spearheading the Fighting Irish’s defense and helping them reach the top ranking in the BCS polls; but Johnny Manziel’s amazing statistical accomplishments proved to be too much for the voters to pass up. He broke 2010 Heisman winner and current Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton’s SEC conference record with 4,600 total yards and became only the 5th player ever to have thrown for 3,000+ yards and rushed for 1,000+ more in a single season.
What makes his win so incredible is that very few people saw this kid as the future best talent in college football when he was recruited out of Tivy High School in Kerrville, Texas. Arriving at Texas A&M, Manziel had to compete against two others to claim the starting quarterback job vacated by current Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill. Interestingly enough, Manziel was named as the backup QB in favor of Jameil Showers at the end of spring training. However, Manziel began working extensively with a private quarterback coach and was named the starter by the start of the season, a move the coaching staff has no reason to regret.
As a team, Texas A&M is currently ranked 9th in the BCS standings with a record of 10-2. Against ranked opponents, the Aggies are 3-2, however one of those wins comes against Alabama, who was the number one ranked team at the time of the loss, and to this day the loss to the Aggies remains Alabama’s only loss on an otherwise unblemished season. Texas A&M will be playing against 11th ranked Oklahoma on January 4th in the Cotton Bowl, which will be Manziel’s first chance to confirm in front of the entire nation why he was chosen as the top collegiate football player. Manti Te’o will look to prove the voters wrong when 1st ranked Notre Dame takes on 2nd ranked Alabama in the BCS National Championship game January 7th.