Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel leads final Scripps Heisman Poll

Manziel would be first freshman to win the trophy

According to the Scripps Heisman Poll, Johnny Manziel is poised to make history Saturday night by becoming the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy.

Manziel leads the final edition of the Scripps Heisman Poll, the longest running Heisman poll in the nation. Since its inception in 1987, the final weekly Scripps poll has correctly picked the Heisman winner 21 of 25 years, including Robert Griffin III last year.

In this week's poll, the Texas A&M quarterback received seven first-place votes from the 10 pollsters and 46 points overall.

Manziel led the Aggies to a 10-2 record, including an upset win over then-No. 1 ranked Alabama. Manziel also broke the Southeastern Conference's single-season total yardage record, besting former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton and former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow. Newton and Tebow both won the Heisman Trophy.

"Like most people, I didn't start paying attention to Johnny Manziel until after the upset of Alabama," Randy Beard, sports editor of the Evansville (Ind.) Courier & Press, wrote in an email. "But after going back and looking at his highlights and realizing where he ranked for one season all-time in the SEC, I became convinced that he was the most deserving to be honored as college football's best overall player."

Added Mike Griffith of Mlive.com: "It's surprising to see any quarterback leading the SEC in rushing, much less a freshman. The poise shown by Manziel was unprecedented by a freshman quarterback in the SEC. According to one SEC defensive coordinator, 'There's just no good way to defend that guy.'"

It didn't concern the Scripps pollsters that no freshman has ever won the Heisman."It doesn't make a bean's worth of difference that Manziel is a redshirt freshman," Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman wrote in an email. "The award should go to the best player in college football, not the best upperclassman. He could be an alien, and I'd still vote for him."

Manziel's closest competition might come from Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, who received three first-place votes and 40 points overall in the Scripps poll. Te'o led Notre Dame to a 12-0 record, a No. 1-ranking and a spot in the BCS title game vs. Alabama.

Todd Jones of the Columbus Dispatch picked Te'o, noting that statistics shouldn't be the sole measure for the Heisman.

"The Heisman Trust's mission statement reads that the award recognizes 'the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity," wrote Jones in an email. "Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance and hard work.' Te'o embodies that."

Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein is third in the Scripps Heisman Poll with 33 points. Klein finished his regular season last Saturday night by throwing for 184 yards and a touchdown and running for 103 yards and two touchdowns in the Wildcats' 42-24 victory over Texas.

USC wide receiver Marqise Lee and Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller were tied for fourth with eight points each.

Ten Heisman voters participated in the Scripps poll, selecting five players each week. Points were awarded on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis, with five points for a first-place vote, four points for second, etc.

This week's top five:

Player, School, Season Stats, Poll Points (first-place votes in parentheses).

  1. QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M, 3,419 passing yards, 68.3 completion pct., 24 TDs, 8 ints., 1,181 rushing yards, 19 TDs, 47 (7).
  2. LB Manti Te'o, Notre Dame, 103 tackles, 7 interceptions, 2 fumbles recovered, 1.5 sacks, 36 (3).
  3. QB Collin Klein, Kansas State, 2,490 passing yards, 66.2 completion pct., 15 TDs, 7 interceptions, 890 rushing yards, 22 TDs, 32.
  4. WR Marqise Lee, USC, 112 receptions, 1,680 yards, 14 TDs, 8.
  5. QB Braxton Miller, Ohio State, 2,039 passing yards, 58.3 completion pct., 15 TDs, 6 ints., 1,271 rushing yards, 13 TDs, 8

Others receiving votes: Oregon RB Kenjon Barner, 3, Georgia LB Jarvis Jones 3, Clemson QB Tajh Boyd 2, South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney 2, Northern Illinois QB Jordan Lynch 2, Alabama QB A.J. McCarron 2, Wisconsin RB Montee Ball 1.

Last week's top five:

Player, School, Season Stats, Poll Points (first-place votes in parentheses).

  1. QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M, 47 (8).
  2. LB Manti Te'o, Notre Dame, 36 (2).
  3. QB Collin Klein, Kansas State, 32.
  4. RB Kenjon Barner, Oregon, 12.
  5. QB Braxton Miller, Ohio State, 6

Voters: Kirk Bohls, Austin American-Statesman; Randy Beard, Evansville Courier & Press; Jimmy Burch, Fort Worth Star-Telegram; Bob Condotta, Seattle Times; Dennis Dodd, CBSSports.com; Vahe Gregorian, St. Louis Post-Dispatch; John Helsley, The Oklahoman; Mike Griffith, Mlive.com; Todd Jones, Columbus Dispatch, and Michael C. Lewis.

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