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Archive for Saturday, December 8, 2012

Manziel is first freshman Heisman Trophy winner

December 8, 2012

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NEW YORK (AP) — Johnny Football just got himself a way cooler nickname: Johnny Heisman.

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy, taking college football's top individual prize Saturday night after a record-breaking debut.

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o finished a distant second and Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein was third in the voting. In a Heisman race with two nontraditional candidates, Manziel broke through the class barrier and kept Te'o from becoming the first purely defensive player to win the award.

Manziel drew 474 first-place votes and 2,029 points from the panel of media members and former winners.

"I have been dreaming about this since I was a kid, running around the backyard pretending I was Doug Flutie, throwing Hail Marys to my dad," he said after hugging his parents and kid sister.

Manziel seemed incredibly calm after his name was announced, hardly resembling the guy who dashes around the football field on Saturday. He simply bowed his head, and later gave the trophy a quick kiss.

"I wish my whole team could be up here with me," he said with a wide smile.

Te'o had 321 first-place votes and 1,706 points and Klein received 60 firsts and 894 points.

Just a few days after turning 20, Manziel proved times have truly changed in college football, and that experience can be really overrated.

For years, seniors dominated the award named after John Heisman, the pioneering Georgia Tech coach from the early 1900s. In the 1980s, juniors started becoming common winners. Tim Tebow became the first sophomore to win it in 2007, and two more won it in the next two seasons.

Adrian Peterson had come closest as a freshman, finishing second to Southern California quarterback Matt Leinart in 2004. But it took 78 years for a newbie to take home the big bronze statue. Johnny Football really can do it all.

Peterson was a true freshman for Oklahoma. As a redshirt freshmen, Manziel attended school and practiced with the team last year, but did not play in any games.

He's the second player from Texas A&M to win the Heisman, joining John David Crow from 1957, and did so without the slightest hint of preseason hype. Manziel didn't even win the starting job until two weeks before the season.

Who needs hype when you can fill-up a highlight reel the way Manziel can?

With daring runs and elusive improvisation, Manziel broke 2010 Heisman winner Cam Netwon's Southeastern Conference record with 4,600 total yards, led the Aggies to a 10-2 in their first season in the SEC and orchestrated an upset at then-No. 1 Alabama in November that stamped him as legit.

He has thrown for 3,419 yards and 24 touchdowns and run for 1,181 yards and 19 more scores to become the first freshman, first SEC player and fifth player overall to throw for 3,000 yards and run for 1,000 in a season.

Manziel has one more game this season, when the No. 10 Aggies play Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 4.

The resume alone fails to capture the Johnny Football phenomena. At 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, Manziel is master of the unexpected, darting here and there, turning plays seemingly doomed to failure into touchdowns.

Take, for example, what he did in the first quarter against the Crimson Tide. Manziel took a shotgun snap, stepped up in the pocket as if he was about to take off on another made scramble and ran into the back a lineman. On impact, Manziel bobbled the ball, caught it with his back to the line of scrimmage, turned, rolled the opposite direction and fired a touchdown pass — throwing across his body — to a wide-open receiver.

He might as well have been back in Kerrville, Texas, where he became a hill country star in high school.

Manziel thought he was going to be the next Derek Jeter — hence the No. 2 he wears. Instead he became the biggest star football star in College Station since Crow won the Heisman.

His road to stardom was anything but a clear path.

Manziel competed with two other quarterbacks to replace Ryan Tannehill as the starter this season, the Aggies' first in the SEC and first under coach Kevin Sumlin.

Manziel came out of spring practice as the backup, and went to work with a private quarterback coach in the summer to better his chances of winning the job in the preseason.

It worked, but still nobody was hailing Manziel is the next big thing.

Then he started playing and the numbers started piling up.

He had 557 total yards against Arkansas, 576 vs. Louisiana Tech and 440 against Mississippi State.

He also had some struggles against Florida in the season opener and in a home loss to LSU. The question was: Could Johnny Football do his thing against a top-notch opponent?

The answer came in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Nov. 10. Going into the matchup against the Crimson Tide, Manziel said he and his teammates heard a lot of doubters.

"You can't do this and you can't do that," he recalled Saturday at the podium

Manziel passed for 253 yards, ran for 92 and the Aggies beat the Tide 29-24. Klein had been the front-runner for most of the season, but Manziel surged after beating 'Bama.

Still, Manziel was still something of a mystery man. Sumlin's rules prohibit freshmen from being available to the media. Johnny Football was off-limits, but not exactly silent.

Manziel gave glimpses of himself on social media — including some memorable pictures of him dressed up as Scooby-Doo for Halloween with some scantily clad young women.

Before he became a celebrity, Manziel got himself into some serious trouble. In June, he was arrested in College Station after police said he was involved in a fight and produced a fake ID. He was charged with disorderly conduct and two other misdemeanors.

After the season, Texas A&M took the reins off Manziel and made him available for interviews, allowing Johnny Football to tell his own story.

Though in the end, his play said it all.

Comments

CHEEZIT 2 years ago

Isn't he kind of old for a freshmen?

Tom Keegan 2 years ago

He redshirted last season, so academically he's a sophomore.

riverdrifter 2 years ago

The selection is a disgrace to the Heisman. Klein was a senior and paid his dues, won his conference with one loss. I say this and as a Jayhawker I despise K-State!

riverdrifter 2 years ago

The three biggest frauds in sports, in no particular order:

The BCS

The Heisman

NFL charging full-price tickets to pre-season exhibition games

OK, one more: the NBA

That's my .02

thebigspoon 2 years ago

Herschel Walker and Adrian Peterson couldn't win it as freshmen and then this guy does ? Because he wins one game that was an upset. Doug Flutie all over again. What a absolute joke. Unbelievable.... I hope OU stuffs him in the Cotton bowl.

Jean Robart 2 years ago

I was delighted to see Johnny Manziel win this award. He is a credit to his parents and his school. Never cared for Colin Klein.

Jean Robart 2 years ago

um, team wide arrogance that rubbed off on him? So certain they were going to the BCS championship game? Oh, my, the egg on their faces, especially Klein's

flloyd 2 years ago

You probably wouldn't like Klein since he kicked the Jayhawks butt inside and out.

squawkhawk 2 years ago

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squawkhawk 2 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

CardHawkFan 2 years ago

Agreed. This is a catastrophe. I normally don't pay too much attention because the the winners are usually at least close to being deserving, but what a joke! I sure hope he thanked ESPN first for the award. Sorry to Collin and Manti...maybe the should put an asterisk next to this one...performance enhancing social media!

CardHawkFan 2 years ago

Okay maybe not catastrophe. Couldn't think of another word. Still a joke, though!

flloyd 2 years ago

Pass the bong, Ron. Must be some good stuff your smokin' to be so disillusioned.

FalseFlag 2 years ago

Defeated a #1 team. Bested Cam Newton yards. Can speak clearly....Heisman winner. No doubt.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 years ago

Perhaps a flash in the pan? Everybody will be gunning for him next year. Let's see just how good he can be when everyone is attuned to him.

Hammertoe 2 years ago

Nobody from a school in Kansas is going to win a popularity contest like the Heisman. With less than 3 million people in the state, klein didn't stand a chance. The Aggies came in third in the conference too.

riverdrifter 2 years ago

First time I've ever agreed with one of your posts. Well said!

Dale Stringer 2 years ago

One game won this for him. He beat EPSN's darling team and ESPN had to come up with a reason why. So they push and made him the winner to make their number team in their number one league look better.

riverdrifter 2 years ago

That's about the size of it. It's just a great big fraud.

flloyd 2 years ago

Ron,

Pull your head out for air dude where the sunshines.

Steve Jacob 2 years ago

It was the Alabama win that won it for him. Take that out and Klein played a much tougher schedule. He red-shirted so he might only have one more season before going pro.

fancy80 2 years ago

I think Collin deserved to win, but agree with many of the reasons, listed in previous comments, as to why he didn't. Let's not forget too, that Collin is a white Christian athlete, and that probably didn't help much. Sadly, some of the articles about Collin seemed to mock him and his beliefs.

John Kyle 2 years ago

take your xtian pity elsewhere. Tim Tebow won a few years back and he's more wacky than Collin.

fancy80 2 years ago

That's kind of harsh. I wouldn't say that either Tim Tebow or Collin Klein are "wacky". Tim Tebow was also a quarterback at a beloved SEC school. Maybe I wasn't clear enough in my post, but what I was trying to say was that there were multiple reasons for Collin not winning and perhaps ONE of the reasons was his openness of his Christian beliefs. I don't begrudge Manzeil winning, but I think we can all acknowledge that Christian bashing is very real right now. let's just judge the guys on their football playing skills. let's not pick a favorite because of the conference they are in, or their personal beliefs or one game against a national favorite.

mom_of_three 2 years ago

I haven't bashed him, I am just tired of hearing him and maybe others are too.

rockchalker52 2 years ago

In Norman & the Sooners are pretty darn good.

flloyd 2 years ago

Having a tough time with the lousy Jayhawk football season, huh Ron?

squawkhawk 2 years ago

You mean kind of like 2007 when KU had their miracle season playing the easiest schedule in D1 football and not playing either OU or UT? You mean kind of like that? You also failed to mention that Klein has set several national and Big 12 records too. So while your playing the Kiss Johnny FB and the SECs A$$ you might consider looking at all the facts.

Dale Stringer 2 years ago

Lets see, Manziel threw and ran for more yards while going 5-2 against bowl teams (if you get to count the C-USA and Southland teams they beat). Klien was lower in yardage in both categories while being 8-1 against bowl eligible teams (all BCS by the way). Humm, looks like K-State played against tougher competition. Big 12: 9 of 10 teams going to bowl games = 90%. SEC: 9 of 14 teams going to bowl games = 64%. So compare the numbers and the SEC is the better conference only because it is owned by ESPN. A&M also finished 5th in their conference and were fortunate enough not to have to play Georgia or South Carolina.

Now I am happy that since they are really still a Big 12 team this year playing in the "mightly" SEC and did so well. I wish they could have beat Florida and LSU and won their conference too.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 years ago

The only readon that Manziel won this was because the Texas Aggies beat Alabama.

This is a travesty. Freshmen should not even been allowed in the running for this award.

Klein had put in 4 years of success on the field and got squat from the "Heisman" crowd.

Several former Heismen winners have crashed and burned in the NFL. It used to be an award with some credibility, but now, it is toast, in my opinion.

I have no further resepect for this award, for the jerks behind it, and for their selection system. This award can just be ditched in the ash bin of history as far as I am concerned.

Still gotta play Landry Jones, the Stoops brothers and OU! Boomer ASooner!!

blindrabbit 2 years ago

The media fawned all over Manziel, especially following the Alabama game. That "Johnny Football" crap got old fast; following this, nobody else had a chance. Reminds one of the hype that Dick Vitale lays on his favorites, especially Dukies, remember Hurley, Reddick, Laetner(sp, Corchiani and kissing Coack K's backside.

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