Heisman Finalists 2012: Will Johnny Manziel to Be First Freshman to Win Award?

Lisa Horne@LisaHornePac-12 and Big 12 Lead WriterDecember 3, 2012

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

Collin Klein, Johnny Manziel and Manti Te'o are your 2012 Heisman Trophy finalists. Each finalist will be in New York City, New York this Saturday for the Heisman Trophy presentation.

Linebacker Manti Te'o has been the heart of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish defense and will no doubt haul in a lot of defensive awards at the end of the year, but to be named a Heisman finalist is something truly special and rare. The last defensive player to win the Heisman was Michigan's Charles Woodson in 1997.  

Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein has been in the Heisman convo for quite some time, but he suffered an injury against Oklahoma State and did not appear to look 100 percent against TCU or Baylor in the following weeks. Klein's grit and toughness have been part of his school's Heisman marketing campaign, and Klein has lived up to that image.

The biggest surprise of the season has been Texas A&M quarterback Johnny "Football" Manziel. Manziel has been a breath of fresh air in a conference that hasn't had any real quarterback excitement since Heisman-winner Tim Tebow led his Florida Gators' to the 2008 BCS championship. This year Manziel led his team to a victory in Tuscaloosa, AL when his Aggies upset the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide, 29-24. 

If Manziel wins the Heisman, he'll be the first freshman to ever win the most prestigious award in college football. Manziel is a redshirt freshman, but this is still his first year of playing football at the Division I level, and for all intents and purposes, he's a freshman. 

Manziel passed for 3,419 yards, 24 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He also had six games with 100-plus yardage and scored 19 touchdowns. Against Louisiana Tech, Manziel passed for 395 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 181 yards and three touchdowns.   

Will history be made this Saturday? 

I think it will. 

Note: The author of this article is a Heisman voter.