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Heisman Trophy trending toward younger players

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel warms up before

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel warms up before playing SMU. (Sept. 21, 2013) (Credit: AP)

Johnny Manziel's Heisman Trophy victory in 2012 wasn't just the first time a freshman won the award. It also was the continuation of the award's recent youth movement.

In the 78 years that the award has been presented to the most outstanding college football player, a senior has won 56 times. That's more than twice as many winners than juniors, sophomores and freshmen combined. However, a senior has not won since 2006, when Ohio State QB Troy Smith took home the honors.

The youth trend figures to continue this season, as Manziel, Oregon's Marcus Mariota (sophomore) and Florida State QB Jameis Winston (freshman) are the top three Heisman contenders so far.

To help dive deeper into the Heisman Trophy's storied history, we've created newsday.com/heismanwinners, a new database exploring every Heisman Trophy winner and runner up. See which schools have won the award the most times, which position has won it the most times, and the margin of victory between each first- and second-place finisher.

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