Strathman: Texas A&M freshman quarterback could be Heisman contender

Texas A&M freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel has captured the spotlight in the college football world. Manziel continued his dominance after a 59-29 victory over Missouri, throwing for 372 yards and three touchdowns and ran for two more.

“Johnny Football” helped the Aggies clinch their first 10-win season in 14 years, despite the move from the Big 12 to the Southeastern Conference. Manziel’s remarkable performance solidified his spot as a serious Heisman contender.

The only issue is that Heisman voters see it differently. Some aren’t impressed with his play, but one thing does stick out: Manziel is a freshman.

In the history of the Heisman, zero freshmen have won the prestigious award handed to the best college football player. Only three sophomores have received the award since 1954. The history stacks against Manziel, but voters simply don’t vote for freshmen.

However, it’s time to put that to rest and just focus on the best player in college football. That player would be Johnny Manziel.

“Johnny Football” completed the season throwing for 3,047 yards, 21 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. Former Heisman quarterback winner Tim Tebow of Florida threw for 3,286 yards, 32 touchdowns and six interceptions in more played games than Manziel. Another Heisman winner, Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, only threw for 2,854 yards and 30 touchdowns.

The best part of Manziel’s game is his rushing ability. On 172 carries, Manziel rushed for 1,114 yards and scored 17 times. Tebow only rushed for 895 yards while Newton ran for 1,473 and 21 touchdowns.

Manziel’s dual-threat ability truly makes him a special talent. After the Missouri game, Manziel recorded his sixth game with two or more passing touchdowns and two or more rushing touchdowns. That tied Tim Tebow in 2007, during his Heisman year, for the most such games in a season since 2000. No other Football Bowl Subdivision quarterback has more than three this season.

Manziel accounted for 439 yards of total offense against Missouri. That moves him to the top of the SEC single-season list for total yards, passing Cam Newton in 2010 and Tim Tebow in 2007.

Look, if Texas A&M didn’t have Johnny Manziel, think about the success of the football team. Instead of having 10 victories, the Aggies might barely have four or five. The victory over No. 1 Alabama wouldn’t be possible without the freshman quarterback.

Heisman winners all lead their respective teams while increasing their production to incredible proportions. Those same players make plays that make spectators stare in disbelief.
Those are a few of many qualities that Heisman-caliber players possess. So what if Manziel is a freshman? He competes at the highest level and deserves to strike the famous Heisman pose and take the trophy.

Pat Strathman is a journalism major from Seneca, Kan. Read more from .

  • Updated Nov. 25, 2012 at 11:12 pm
  • Edited by Christy Khamphilay
  • Jeremy

    Check your numbers on Manziel. They’re current through A&M’s 11 th game. After yesterday he has 4,600 total yards and 5 more touchdowns than you’re reporting. Heisman worthy numbers either way. HeisManziel.