Breaking Down Heisman Trophy Candidates

Thomas Campbell-US PRESSWIRE

Texas A&M freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o and Kansas State quarterback were all among the Heisman Trophy candidates that were invited to the presentation ceremony on Saturday night in Manhattan.

Manziel, nicknamed Johnny Football, is said to the frontrunner for the prestigious award and would make Heisman Trophy history becoming the first freshman in college football history to win the honor.

“I’m overwhelmed by the tremendous honor of representing Texas A&M, the 12th Man and all my teammates in New York,” Manziel said through a statement. “This is a dream come true for me, and I know it’s a credit to all my coaches and teammates. I definitely wouldn’t be a Heisman finalist without my teammates and coaches.”

Manziel first hit the national spotlight against then-No. 1 Alabama.  The 6-foot-1 freshman threw for 253 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another 92 yards to upset the top ranked team in the nation 29-24.

The 19-year-old Manziel quickly became a national sensation the following week. In total, he’s accrued an SEC-record 4,600 yards of total offense, which included 1,181 yards on the ground to lead the Southeastern Conference. Now, he’s led the Aggies to a 8-2 record a spot in the Cotton Bowl against No. 12 Oklahoma.

Meanwhile, Te’o is trying to become the first defensive player to ever win the Heisman trophy. He leads the top-ranked defense in the country with a team-best seven interceptions and 103 tackles.  Earlier this week, he won the Butkus Award, which honors the nation’s best linebacker.

Te’o and the Fighting Irish are set to face off against No. 2 Alabama in the BCS championship game.

Klein has single-handedly taken an otherwise anonymous Kansas State squad and made them instant contenders for the BCS title after tallying an impressive 11-1 record and carrying them to a top-ranking in the AP Poll’s before losing to Baylor two weeks ago. Still, Klein has made his impact on this season, completing 66.2 percent of his passes for a total of 2,490 yards, 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also was a dual-threat in running the ball, which gives him upset potential to win the Heisman over Manziel.  The seasoned veteran ran for an astounding 890 yards on the ground and 22 touchdowns.

Though it should be Manziel’s trophy to lose, Klein’s team does have the better record, which, in turn, has earned them a spot in a better ranked bowl game.

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