Manziel clinches Heisman Trophy
Published: Saturday, December 8, 2012
Updated: Saturday, December 8, 2012 23:12
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel earned his place in history Saturday evening, becoming the first-ever freshman to claim the Heisman Memorial Trophy. Manziel will join John David Crow – winner of the 1957 award – as the lone Aggies in the legendary Heisman brotherhood.
The redshirt freshman beat out Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o and Kansas State’s Collin Klein, who finished second and third, respectively, for the nation’s most prestigious individual award. Manziel garnered 474 first place votes, defeating Te’o by a surprising 323-point margin on the final ballot.
In a Heisman race that was defined by untraditional candidates, “Johnny Football” found himself breaking the class barrier while, at the same time, preventing a purely defensive athlete in Te’o from claiming the recognition.
“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,” Manziel said following the announcement. “I wish my whole team could be up here with me.”
Leading the Aggies in their inaugural season with the Southeastern Conference, Manziel was able to turn some heads with his eye-popping statistics.
In a league dominated by defensive prowess, the redshirt freshman racked up 4,600 yards of total offense in 12 games, surpassing the SEC record set by Heisman winner and former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton who generated 4,327 yards through 14 games in his 2010 national title campaign.
Furthermore, Manziel became the first freshman and only fifth player in FBS history to throw for 3,000 yards and rush for another 1,000 in the same season.
Guiding A&M to an unprecedented 10-2 season in the their new conference, Manziel compiled impressive victories over then-top ranked Alabama, Mississippi State and Louisiana Tech. In defeating the Crimson Tide at Tuscaloosa, the young quarterback rocketed himself into the Heisman conversation.
Despite his incredible compilation of accomplishments, however, Manziel was still able to remain humble upon receiving the award.
“Leadership, respect and putting others first – it’s what the 12th Man is all about,” Manziel continued. “I believe that the 12th Man is one of the greatest traditions in all of college football – forty thousand students standing not as fans, but as members of our team.
“To the 12th Man, to Texas A&M, Kerrville, Texas and Aggies everywhere, this Heisman Trophy’s for you.”
Manziel, though, wasn’t the only Aggie to secure his place in history this year.
At the college football awards ceremony Thursday night, junior offensive tackle Luke Joeckel became the first player from Texas A&M to win the Outland Trophy, given annually to the nation’s top interior lineman.
Additionally, the redshirt freshman quarterback was able to start his hardware collection on Thursday, earning the Davey O’Brien Award, bestowed each year to the country’s top quarterback.
On a celebratory note, Texas A&M has purchased the latest Heisman winner a billboard in the heart of New York City – Times Square. Similar full-page ads will run in Monday’s editions of the New York Times and USA Today, as well as multiple other national and regional publications, in an effort to push to growing A&M brand.
“With our move to the SEC, we are building a national brand for Texas A&M,” Jason Cook, the Aggies’ vice president for marketing and communications, said. “Johnny (Manziel) winning the Heisman certainly accelerates our efforts.”
With the young Heisman winner at the helm, Texas A&M will conclude their 10-2 campaign at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas against former Big 12 rival Oklahoma.