Pro Side: Manziel closing in on Heisman with one weekend left
In what was once thought to be a two-horse race between veteran signal callers Collin Klein of Kansas State and Geno Smith of West Virginia, the competition for the 78th Heisman trophy has likely found itself going in the other direction. Through a spectacular and consistent campaign playing for Texas A&M, redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel has put himself out ahead for college football's most prestigious award.
Trailed closely by linebacker Manti Te'o of Notre Dame and Klein, Johnny Football has been projected as likely to be named the best player in all the sport by ESPN.com and other media outlets. The young gunslinger has thrown 400 passes this season for 3,419 yards and 24 touchdowns at a completion rate of 68.3 percent. He's also rushed for nearly 1,200 yards and 11 scores as the leader of the country's fourth highest scoring offense. Manziel would be the first second-year player to win it since Tim Tebow in 2007.
The quarterback's remarkable run has led No. 9 Texas A&M to a 10-2 record this year, as they suffered just two losses at the hands of new conference rivals Florida and LSU. The Aggies did however top a fierce SEC foe in No. 1 Alabama, when Manziel pulled out his best performance in Tuscaloosa back on November 10. Manziel completed 24 of 31 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions, while also gashing the top ranked Tide defense for 92 rushing yards in a 29-24 win.
It was this performance timed with the late season falters of Klein and Smith that pushed Manziel into first place consideration for voters. The ceremony is scheduled to begin December 8 at 8 p.m. in New York City, two days after Manziel's twentieth birthday. Winning the award would be a far cry different from how Johnny Football started his campaign after an arrest for disorderly conduct and possessing a false identification card back in late June.
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