No freshman has ever won the Heisman Trophy. The only one that finished second was Oklahoma’s Adrian Peterson, in 2004, well behind Southern Cal’s Matt Leinart and just ahead of teammate Jason White, the 2003 winner.
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel could be about to change that.
The only defensive player to ever win perhaps the most recognizable award in sports was Michigan cornerback Charles Woodson, who of course also played some wide receiver and returned kicks.
But Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o could be about to change that.
They’re two of the three finalists who’ll be in New York for Saturday’s announcement. The other is Kansas State QB Collin Klein, who like Te’o is a senior.
Not that long ago, the hardware was Klein’s to lose. Then his team, which had risen to first in the polls, lost badly at Baylor. And just like that, the race was on again.
Sort of like last year, when Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden was everybody’s front-runner at the same point in the season. Then his team lost in multiple overtimes at Iowa State, right after there had been a tragic air crash involving the women’s basketball coach at the school. And Weeden somehow didn’t even finish in the top 10. I know stuff happens, but that was a little tough to figure.
Anyway, the popular wisdom seems to be that “Johnny Football” is going to make history. He certainly put up the numbers, in the country’s premier conference. Better numbers than even Tim Tebow had when he won as a sophomore in 2007, or Cam Newton posted two years ago when he ignited Auburn’s magical ride. And maybe that alone should be sufficient. Manziel also has the nickname, and he had his Heisman moment in that late-season win at Alabama.