Stewart Mandel of SI.com tweeted:
Heisman finalists announced: Collin Klein, Johnny Manziel, Manti Te'o.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) December 3, 2012
So, as we look ahead to the Heisman presentation on Saturday, let's take a look at the finalists and what they did this season.
My prediction is included.
Where: Best Buy Theater in Times Square, New York
When: Saturday, Dec. 8 at 8 p.m. ET
Listen: ESPN Radio, ESPNRadio.com
Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Johnny Manziel became only the fifth player in FBS history this season to pass for at least 3,000 yards and rush for at least 1,000 yards. He became the only freshman and the only SEC player to do so.
The 6'1", 200-pound dual-threat was fantastic for Texas A&M this season, finishing the regular season with 3,419 passing yards and 24 touchdowns to eight interceptions. He also averaged 8.5 yards per pass attempt, tied for 15th in the nation (via CFBStats.com).
On top of that, Manziel rushed for 1,181 yards and 19 touchdowns on 6.4 yards per carry.
The Kerrville native's most impressive performance came against then-No. 1 Alabama on Nov. 10. He led the Aggies to a 29-24 victory while going 24-of-31 for 253 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 92 yards in the upset, including a long of 32 yards.
Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
Not only did Manti Te'o lead a Notre Dame squad that held opponents to 10.3 points per game this season (first in the country), but he also led the Fighting Irish to a 12-0 record and a berth in the BCS National Championship Game.
Te'o was obviously critical for a run defense that allowed 3.16 yards per carry (11th in the nation, via CFBStats.com) and two rushing touchdowns (first), registering 103 tackles and 5.5 tackles for loss.
But the senior also showed an all-around game, with 1.5 sacks and a whopping seven interceptions (tied for second in the nation, first among linebackers).
Te'o played big against top opponents this season, too. In the 30-13 upset of Oklahoma on Oct. 27, he posted 11 tackles (two tackles for loss), one sack and one interception.
Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
Collin Klein was arguably the front-runner for the Heisman until the 52-24 loss to Baylor on Nov. 17, in which he tossed three interceptions.
Still, the senior had a remarkable season while leading Kansas State to an 11-1 record and a trip to the Fiesta Bowl as the Big 12 champion.
For the season, Klein passed for 2,490 yards with 15 touchdowns to seven interceptions while averaging 9.2 yards per pass attempt (sixth in the nation).
He also rushed for 890 yards and 22 touchdowns on 4.6 yards per carry.
Klein exploded against West Virginia on Oct. 20, going 19-of-21 for 323 yards and three touchdowns while outgunning Geno Smith's Mountaineers in a 55-14 blowout.
Prediction: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Johnny Manziel excelled at the most important position in football, in the most difficult conference...as a freshman.
He was a better player than Klein down the stretch, despite going up against tougher competition.
While Te'o was tremendous this season, he's a defensive player (which already puts him at a disadvantage given the history of the Heisman Trophy), and it could be argued that he wasn't even the best defensive player in the nation this season.
All three of these players had fantastic seasons, but I would go with Manziel and I think the voters will, too.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!