Heisman Watch 2012: Biggest Knocks on Every Top Contender

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 1, 2012

COLLEGE STATION, TX - NOVEMBER 24:  Johnny Manziel #2 of the Texas A&M Aggies looks to pass 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

The battle for the 2012 Heisman Trophy might be the closest race in a number of years. Unfortunately, only one person can win.

A number of candidates have had incredible seasons and are worthy of Heisman consideration. These players could all be considered the "most outstanding player" in the country.

However, there are a couple of things holding each contender back from winning the most prestigious award in college football.


Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

Biggest Knock: Freshman

Johnny Manziel has been outstanding this year, breaking the SEC record with 4,600 total yards.

He has a solid passer efficiency rating at 155.8, and his 1,181 rushing yards is third best among quarterbacks in the country. 

However, Manziel is only a freshman, and no freshman has ever won the Heisman Trophy. Adrian Peterson was the closest with a second-place finish at Oklahoma.

The quarterback hasn't built up credibility over the past year, and some older voters will penalize him because of it. Two losses also might hurt his chances of winning.


Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame

Biggest Knock: Defensive Player

The only defensive player ever to win the Heisman trophy is Charles Woodson. The difference is that the Michigan player also had a productive year in other phases of the game.

Woodson finished his 1997 season with a rushing touchdown, two receiving touchdowns and a punt return in addition to his prowess as a cornerback.

As good as Manti Te'o is on the No. 1 team in the country, voters might not see a middle linebacker as an impact player. These traditionalists are more likely to select a player on the offensive side of the ball.


Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State

Biggest Knock: Big Game Collapse

With Kansas State ranked as the No. 1 team in the country, the Wildcats only had to win two more games to reach the national championship game.

Those dreams were dashed when the team lost 52-24 to Baylor.

While the defense is at fault, Collin Klein also threw three interceptions and only completed 27 of his 50 passes. 

This was the first time many people were able to see the quarterback on the national stage, and he failed miserably in that opportunity.


Marqise Lee, WR, USC

Biggest Knock: Non-Essential Player

As a receiver, Marqise Lee is as good as there is in the country. He is second in the nation with 1,680 receiving yards, and third with 14 touchdowns.

However, all this production did not help USC avoid five losses this season.

This proved how little effect Lee had on the team. 

Only a few receivers have ever taken home the award, and voters are more likely to choose someone who touches the ball more often.


Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State

Biggest Knock: Team on Probation

Braxton Miller led Ohio State to a perfect 12-0 season. The problem is that the school is on probation and is ineligible for the postseason.

While some will argue that it was easier to play without the pressure, the more important problem is that the Buckeyes have been out of mind for many college football fans this year.

Matt Barkley encountered this problem last year, as he was not even a finalist after a spectacular season with USC.

Miller will have a better chance winning the Heisman Trophy next season.