Johnny Manziel is on the verge of becoming the first freshman in college football history to win the Heisman Trophy. The award for the nation's top performing player has also only been won multiple times by the same person just once since its inception.
Archie Griffin won the prized possession in consecutive years in 1974 and 1975 following his junior and season seasons respectively.
Is Johnny Football on the same level as one of the greatest college football players of all time?
He hasn’t earned that company just yet, but the youngster has nothing standing in his way of getting to that point.
The competition standing in the way from his first Heisman Trophy includes another dynamic quarterback and a linebacker. Let’s face it; defenders just don’t win this award.
Still, it all depends on whether voters will feel comfortable voting for the first freshman or for a defensive player. A true defender has never won the award and that most likely will not change, freshman front-runner or not.
That leaves Klein and Manziel.
While Klein deserves to be in the conversation, he hasn’t put on the type of show that Manziel has this season.
Coming into a new stage of football, on a team with a new head coach and a brand new conference should have been a challenge for an incoming freshman quarterback.
He made it look easy at most times, including his directing of a 29-24 upset over No. 1-ranked Alabama.
Barret Sallee, B/R’s SEC Lead Writer, pointed out a very telling statistic about recent dual-threat quarterbacks that may wind up clinching the award for the freshman.
Manziel’s 383.2 total yards per game has eclipsed recent trophy winners Tim Tebow (321.6 YPG) and Cam Newton (309.1 YPG) in total yards per game. Only Robert Griffin III (384 YPG), narrowly, had more when given the honor.
Where does Klein rate amongst those other winners and up against Manziel?
The Wildcats QB recorded 281 total yards per game and accounted three touchdowns per game. Johnny Football accounted for 3.5 scores each game.
If everything goes as expected, Manziel will become the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy. And if everything continues to trend upward, and it will, the Aggies’ quarterback will join Griffin’s elite company as the only other multiple Heisman Trophy winner in the award’s history.