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Heisman Candidates 2012: Johnny Manziel's Status as Freshman Shouldn't Matter

COLLEGE STATION, TX - NOVEMBER 24:  Johnny Manziel #2 of the Texas A&M Aggies runs for a third quarter touchdown during their game against the Missouri Tigers at Kyle Field on November 24, 2012 in College Station, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Mike MoraitisAnalyst IDecember 8, 2012

No freshman has ever won the Heisman Trophy, but that shouldn't make any difference in the voting for Texas A&M quarterback, Johnny Manziel.

Manziel proved to be one of the best all-around players in college football this season.

"Johnny Football" threw for 3,419 yards, with 24 touchdowns and eight interceptions, while completing 68 percent of his passes. On the ground, Manziel compiled 1,181 yards with 19 touchdowns, and in case your math is bad, that's 4,600 yards of total offense coming from one player.

The significance of his contribution to the Aggies offense is far too much to ignore.

I don't want to downplay the seasons of Manti Te'o and Collin Klein, but neither of those two had to compete against an elite conference this season.

Manziel happens to play in the SEC, which is the toughest conference in college football today. It's one thing to put up big numbers against a decent conference, but it's a completely different thing to do it against the best in the nation and that's exactly what Manziel did.

The fact that Manziel is a freshman could end up keeping the award from him, but that reasoning isn't exactly the logical way to go.

The kind of numbers Manziel compiled this season were those of a quarterback who has a ton of experience under his belt. Clearly, Johnny Football didn't have that experience, but that didn't stop him from putting together one of the more memorable seasons for a college quarterback in recent history.

That alone makes this kid special.

It says a great deal about Manziel's character that he was able to overcome the pressure of being a starting quarterback for a major program at such a young age. Since his success began, Manziel is quickly becoming a household name. Even with that new attention, Manziel has remained cool and stayed consistent throughout.

If I didn't know any better, I'd say Manziel was a senior, not a freshman.

However, it is quite possible Manziel's freshman status ends up keeping him from the award this year. If that were to happen, it would be a travesty because there's no doubt Manziel was the best player in college football this season and no status should ever change that.

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