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Manziel tops Te‘o to win Heisman

December 9, 2012
By RALPH D. RUSSO , The Associated Press

NEW YORK - He's Johnny Best in Football now.

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

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

Article Photos

MANTI TE‘O, Notre Dame linebacker

"That barrier's broken now," Manziel said. "It's starting to become more of a trend that freshmen are coming in early and that they are ready to play. And they are really just taking the world by storm."

None more than the guy they call Johnny Football.

Manziel, a redshirt freshman, drew 474 of the 892 first-place votes and 2,029 points from the panel of media members and former winners. Te'o had 321 first-place votes and 1,706 points and Klein received 60 firsts and 894 points.

Fact Box


Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M4742521032,029
Manti Te‘o, Notre Dame3213091251,706
Collin Klein, Kansas St.60197320894
Marqise Lee, Southern Cal193384207
Braxton Miller, Ohio St.32977144
Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina4132361
Jordan Lynch, N. Illinois382752
Tavon Austin, West Virginia642147
Kenjon Barner, Oregon1121542
Jarvis Jones, Georgia1101841

"I always wanted to be in a fraternity," Manziel said. "Now I get to be in the most prestigious one in the entire world."

Manziel's 4,600 total yards broke the Southeastern Conference record set by 2010 Heisman winner Cam Newton. Manziel 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 was so nervous waiting for the winner to be announced, he wondered if the television cameras could see his heart pounding beneath his navy blue pinstripe suit. But he seemed calm after, hardly resembling the guy who dashes around the football field. He simply bowed his head, and later gave the trophy a quick kiss.

"It's such an honor to represent Texas A&M, and my teammates here tonight. I wish they could be on the stage with me," Manziel said.

Te'o's seven interceptions this season are the most ever by a Notre Dame linebacker, and most by any linebacker since Georgia's Tony Taylor had that many in 2006. Te'o also has 103 tackles, and on Thursday received the Walter Camp and Maxwell player-of-the-year awards.

After the Heisman was presented, Te'o tweeted: "Thanks for all the support everyone!"



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