CLA Final Heisman List

2012 Heisman Trophy Presentation Features the Rookie Versus the Veteran

Now that the 2012 NCAA football regular season is complete, it’s time to honor the most outstanding players on the field this year. USC quarterback Matt Barkley entered 2012 the Heisman favorite but faltered early.

West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith grabbed the reigns as early season favorite with a great September. After Smith and West Virginia lost a few games, Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein became the presumed frontrunner before a disappointing loss to Baylor.

Late in the season, Texas A&M redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel burst onto the Heisman radar after leading the Aggies to a 29-24 road victory over defending national champion Alabama.

Players like Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o and USC wide receiver Marqise Lee were the best players at their respective positions all year.

There were many players deserving of consideration for the Heisman but CLA believes these five athletes stood out above the rest.

With that said, the winner of the 2012 Heisman Trophy should be…

1. Manti Te’o LB Notre Dame

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o is the heart and soul of the Irish defense. Te’o is the driving force and vocal leader on the top ranked defense in the country. With his leadership, Notre Dame stormed to an undefeated regular season and will play Alabama for the BCS National Championship Jan 7 in Miami.

For the season, Te’o notched 103 tackles, snatched seven interceptions, recovered two fumbles and had 1.5 sacks. On numbers alone, Te’o doesn’t outshine Johnny Manziel but CLA believes that Manti’s play on the field was the primary factor in Notre Dame’s undefeated run while Manziel struggled in home losses to Florida and LSU.

2. Johnny Manziel QB Texas A&M

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel had an outstanding season for the Aggies. Johnny Football threw for 3419 yards with 24 touchdowns while rushing for 1181 yards and 19 touchdowns. Statistically, Manziel had a better season than former Heisman winners Tim Tebow and Cam Newton did in their respective campaigns.

Manziel authored the upset of the year, leading the Aggies to a victory over then top ranked Alabama in Tuscaloosa. That Heisman moment combined with his ridiculous numbers against primarily SEC defenses make Manziel the likely winner on Saturday in New York but he is our runner-up.

3. Collin Klein QB Kansas State

Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein led his Wildcats to a Big 12 title and BCS berth in the Fiesta Bowl. Klein was a dual threat, throwing for 2490 yards and 15 touchdowns while rushing for 890 yards and 22 touchdowns.

4. Marqise Lee WR USC

USC wide receiver Marqise Lee was a flat out beast this season, hauling in 112 receptions for 1680 yards and 14 touchdowns. The former Gardena Serra standout should be one of the favorites next season.

5. Kenjon Barner RB Oregon

Oregon running back Kenjon Barner had a great season, rushing for 1624 yards and 21 touchdowns. The shifty back sported a 6.5 yards per carry average and was a key contributor in the Ducks 11 wins.