“Your 2012 Heisman Trophy winner is..”
Those words will be exclaimed from the presenter in New York on Saturday, but the anticipation will be gone-the Heisman discussion was long before any of the finalists hopped on a plane to the big ole’ city. When those words are spoken, the only name that should be heard on the other end is Johnny Manziel.
In case you haven’t noticed, he is good. He plays in the best conference in America against defenses stockpiled with NFL talent and has put up better numbers than Tim Tebow and Cam Newton in fewer games. Oh, I forgot to remind you-he is a redshirt freshman.
Some will point out his failures this season, losses to Florida and LSU. However, it is hard to call a 3 point loss to the BCS’ 3rd ranked team in his first ever start a failure. Also, I may be in the minority but playing the LSU Tigers without the planned bye week before hand to a 5 point loss is not a failure in my mind either. If any other freshman quarterback went against those defenses they would have been chewed up and spit out as the Gators and Tigers cruised to victory; Manziel on the other hand hung with them.
The Texas A&M Aggies finished the season 10-2, playing 12 consecutive weeks. It is hard to imagine where they would have finished without the man they call “Johnny Football,” but I will guess it wouldn’t be the Cotton Bowl.
Freshman performances are overlooked in Heisman voting because “they’re freshman” or there is an assumption they’ll “get theirs” when they are a junior or senior. Too bad that thinking doesn’t always work.
I still look back at the 2004 Heisman Trophy ceremony when Matt Leinart won the award over Adrian Peterson, who carried the ball a nation leading 339 times for 1,925 yards to lead Oklahoma to the national championship, and cringe. The award should have gone to Peterson, but he was snubbed, never making it back to New York again.
In 2004 the Heisman voters failed; they failed to recognize the most outstanding player of the 2004 season for reasons I can only speculate. I hope this year they do not make that same mistake in overlooking Johnny Manziel.