Every year, college football’s biggest stars are invited to New York City for the Heisman Trophy presentation. One outstanding collegiate player will be invited to join the most exclusive club in college football as they receive the Heisman Trophy and cement their legacy as one of college football’s greatest players. Whether it is Collin Klein, Manti Te’o or Johnny Manziel who walks away with the hardware Saturday night, history will be made.
For Klein, the history will be for his school. The Kansas State Wildcats have never had a Heisman winner, but their senior quarterback is doing his very best to change that. Klein has been one of the most consistent candidates for the Heisman all season long, and without one bad game against the Baylor Bears, he might be the hands-down favorite to win on Saturday.
On the season, Klein has been a rock for the Wildcats, taking them all the way to No. 1 in the BCS before their single loss on the year and he will lead them in their BCS showdown with the Oregon Ducks in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. He’s accounted for 3,380 all-purpose yards this season, 2,490 passing and 890 rushing, with 37 total touchdowns. He’s done everything for K-State this season, but can he bring home their first Heisman Trophy?
Then there’s Te’o, who could make history for his position. Never before has a “true” defensive player taken home college football’s highest individual honor. Charles Woodson is the only winner who played on defense, but he was also a force in the return game and played some offense to win the vote. Te’o would be the very first to win based completely on his defensive play. A win for Te’o would go a long way in reaffirming the Heisman Trophy as being for the most outstanding college football player rather than just the most outstanding offensive player.
This season, Te’o has been the heart and soul of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish defense, which has been the stingiest unit in college football this season. His seven interceptions are tied for second in the country and he recorded more than 100 tackles for the the third straight season. He’s been instrumental in re-awakening the echoes in South Bend and bringing the Irish to the verge of their first national title since 1988. But is it enough to win himself a Heisman?
Finally, there is Manziel, the phenomenal freshman that has taken the country by storm. Johnny Football will be making history for his class as no freshman has ever before taken home the Heisman Trophy. Of course, no freshman has done what Manziel has with their first season of college football.
Manziel accounted for 4,600 yards of total offense this season, eclipsing Cam Newton‘s single-season SEC record, while also setting the SEC record for all-purpose yards in a single game when he went for 576 yards against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs. He led the SEC in rushing with 1,181 yards, was unanimously voted the SEC Offensive Player of the Year and his 43 total touchdowns are tied for the most in the country. Oh yeah, he also led the Texas A&M Aggies to a 10-win season in their first run through the vaunted SEC. Will all of that be enough to break through the glass ceiling for freshmen and the Heisman?
We will find out for sure on Saturday night, as the Heisman club welcomes one new member into their ranks. Whoever it is will be breaking new ground and carving their own unique notch in the story of college football. Whether it be for their school, their position or their class, history will be made on Saturday.