Heisman Candidates 2012: Why Manti Te'o Won't Bring Home Coveted Trophy

Daine PavloskiAnalyst IIDecember 6, 2012

Te'o may be the best defensive player in the country, but he isn't Heisman Trophy-worthy
Te'o may be the best defensive player in the country, but he isn't Heisman Trophy-worthyJeff Gross/Getty Images

Manti Te'o has been a monster at Notre Dame. However, his ridiculous numbers and impressive season won't be enough to take home College Football's most coveted individual award. 

According to Notre Dame's athletic site, Te'o has 427 tackles in his career, which puts him third in school history.

The decorated linebacker has won countless awards in his high school and college careers, but even with all of the accolades and praise, Te'o won't beat out Johnny Manziel and Collin Klein when it comes time to hand out the trophy. 

Manziel and Klein have both had great seasons in their own right. Manziel has thrown for almost 3,500 yards this season, adding 24 touchdowns and just eight interceptions. Klein has had a solid campaign as well, passing for almost 2,500 yards and 15 touchdowns. 

Te'o is a great football player; there's no doubt about that. He is going to make some NFL team very happy for a very long time come the NFL draft, but he won't head to the next level with the Heisman Trophy

Being a great defensive player just isn't as impressive as being a quarterback, especially if you're a quarterback in the Big 12 or the SEC like Klein and Manziel. Quarterbacks are popular Heisman choices because their position allows them to do different things. Running backs run, wide receivers catch and, in Te'o's case, linebackers tackle and defend the pass. Quarterbacks do much more. 

Quarterbacks have to read the defense, know all of the different footwork associated with handoffs and passing plays, along with knowing the entire playbook inside and out. 

Another reason that Te'o won't win college football's most coveted trophy this year is the glory of offense. Touchdowns and fantastic scoring plays are what fans love to see. Fans want to see players with the ball in their hands, making plays. Te'o rarely has that opportunity on the defensive side of the field. 

It's not like Te'o won't be recognized. He has already won the Bronko Nagurski Award for the best defensive player in NCAA football, the Butkus Award for best linebacker as a high schooler and college player and the Lombardi Award for best lineman or linebacker. 

When little kids dream of playing in the NFL, you don't hear, "I want to be a linebacker." You hear, "I'm going to be the next great quarterback."

While Te'o is one of the most talented players in college football, he will not win the Heisman Trophy this year. 

One thing he has over Manziel and Klein: a shot at the national championship