With Heisman Trophy voting coming to a close on Monday, it's time to take a look at the leading candidates. There aren't a ton of top-notch candidates, but voters will probably most impress with Texas A&M freshman sensation Johnny "Football" Manziel and Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o. After that it is really anyone's guess.
Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M, Fr.: It’s hard to argue Manziel’s candidacy, despite being a redshirt freshman. The Kerrville, TX resident has thrown for 3,419 yards and 24 touchdowns. He’s also run for 1,181 yards and 19 touchdowns. Can’t recall a QB being anymore productive than that. Outside of shaky performances against Mississippi and LSU, Manziel has been flawless. Just ask Alabama. He shredded the Tide defense for 253 yards passing and two touchdowns and 92 yards rushing.
Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame, Sr.: Let’s see: Seven interceptions, four passes defended and a boatload of tackles. It’s rare to find an inside linebacker make such an impact on the college level. Linebackers are never a sexy choice for the Heisman Trophy. It’s a shame because linebackers are typically the heart and soul of any defense. Te’o will get support because Notre Dame’s defense is the best in the country. And the best player on the best defense deserves heavy consideration.
Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State, Sr.: Clein, like Manziel, is a dual threat quarterback but on a smaller scale. Klein gets credit for leading the Wildcats to a 10-1 record. Unfortunately, that one loss was a 52-24 drubbing at the hands of Baylor. Klein tossed three interceptions in the game. He was also shaky in a 23-10 win over TCU the week before the Baylor loss, completing just 12 of 21 passes for 145 yards and an interception. Two bad games the last two weeks of the season usually means no Heisman.
Ohio State sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller won’t get the votes because the Buckeyes are banned from a bowl. It might not be fair, but that’s the way it goes. USC sophomore WR Marqise Lee, West Virginia senior WR Tavon Austin and Oregon senior RB Kenjon Barner are other contenders...If not for West Virginia's second-half flop, Geno Smith (3,597 yp, 37 TDs, 5 INT) would be amongst the top four contenders. Truth be told, the senior QB may get some votes regardless. He's thrown four or more TDs in a game five times, including an eight touchdown performance in a 70-63 win over Baylor.