Johnny Manziel Wins the Heisman Trophy after Phenomenal Freshman Season

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY SPORTS

History was made with the 78th awarding of the Heisman trophy Saturday night at the Downtown athletic Club in New York when Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel won the most prestigious individual award in college football.

Manziel is the first freshman to win the award after the rookie quarterback made his mark on the SEC and college football earning the moniker ‘Johnny Football,’ not too shabby for the kid that entered camp as a backup quarterback.

The closest a freshman ever came to the award was in 2004 when Adrian Peterson finished second to Matt Leinart.

The dual-threat ability Manziel has (he finished third in the SEC in rushing yards and led in touchdowns) catapulted A&M to a 10-2 record and top 10 ranking in the nation highlighted by an epic road win over No. 1 Alabama, which vaulted him to the top of the Heisman standings.

His 4600 yards from scrimmage broke the SEC record for total offense previously held by Heisman winner Cam Newton who broke the record held by another Heisman winner Tim Tebow.

Manziel is the second player from A&M to win the award after John David Crow took home the trophy in the final season Bear Bryant was at the school in 1957.

Notre Dame middle linebacker Manti Te’o finished second in the voting, which is the highest finish for a pure defensive player since Pittsburgh defensive end Hugh Green finished second in 1980.

Te’o captained a defense that gave up an average of 10.3 points per game which was second in the nation. The 286.8 yards given up per game were good enough to rank sixth in the country as teams found crossing into Notre Dame territory a daunting task all season long.

His individual numbers were fantastic as he had his third consecutive season with more than 100 tackles, becoming the second player in the program’s history to accomplish that feat.

Te’o took home a number of individual awards earlier this week for his accomplishments this season, but was unable to break the stereotype that defenders face in Heisman voting.

Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein finished in third place after leading the Wildcats to an 11-1 record and a Big 12 title. The award was thought to be Klein’s to lose, but then he lost it when he threw three interceptions in a loss at Baylor.

But tonight belonged to the redshirt freshman from tiny Kerrville, Tx who captivated viewers all across the nation as we all fell in love with what Johnny Football was able to do on the gridiron.

Now Manziel will try to become the first player since Archie Griffin to win a second Heisman trophy. Three of the previous five winners returned to school after winning the award, but only Tebow was able to earn another invite to the Heisman ceremony.

Next year, Manziel will become the hunted and not the hunter, but something tells me Manziel will be up for the challenge and we may see Johnny Football striking the Heisman pose in 2013.

Follow me on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt

Patrick is a diehard Chicago sports and an avid college football fan, and the host of “The Wake-up Call,” a weekly sports show on Sportstownchicago.com airing live on Wednesday mornings from 8-10. View his show’s website here.

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