Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel had an incredible, memorable season in 2013. Manziel began the season in competition for the starting job behind center, and he finished it by winning the Heisman Trophy and leading the Aggies to an 11-2 season, their first campaign as a member of the storied Southeastern Conference.
Manziel became the first freshman to ever win the Heisman, beating out linebacker Manti Te’o of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and quarterback Collin Klein of the Kansas State Wildcats. He seems to be on his way to becoming only the second player to ever win two Heismans. But it won’t be easy.
First of all, Manziel came out of the blue last season and surprised everyone with his ability to make plays. He was new to each opponent that he played, and even though they might have had film on him, he was difficult to replicate in practice.
This season, Manziel will be the target of opposing defenses. Opposing players will be looking to put a notch in their belt by containing the defending Heisman winner.
Texas A&M was also new to the SEC in 2012. Teams that had rarely or never been to College Station had to make the trip to the westernmost school in the SEC. And playing in front of the crowd at Kyle Field is never a picnic for opponents.
Another factor working against Manziel is the Heisman voting panel. Remember two years ago, when it seemed that Andrew Luck was a lock to win the trophy? Luck had an outstanding season for the Stanford Cardinal, but ultimately, the “sexier” candidate, Robert Griffin III of the Baylor Bears, ended up beating Luck out for the Heisman. The same thing will likely happen to Manziel this season. All of his exploits will be things that the voters have seen before, and they will be looking for a new darling for whom to vote for.
There have been quite a number of players who have had the chance to win multiple Heisman Trophies, but only Archie Griffin, running back for the Ohio State Buckeyes, did so, winning in 1974 and 1975.
Among those who missed out on a second Heisman: Doak Walker of the SMU Mustangs, Roger Staubach of the Navy Midshipmen, Billy Sims of the Oklahoma Sooners, Herschel Walker of the Georgia Bulldogs, Matt Leinart of the USC Trojans and Tim Tebow of the Florida Gators. Those are some pretty big names in the history of college football, and none of them were able to pull the trick.
The one thing that Manziel will have that those other players didn’t have is an extra year. Should the A&M signal caller choose to do so, he could have three years of college left to win an additional Heisman.
However, with the target on his back and with the media looking for the next big thing, it will be tough for Manziel to win the big trophy again.