Heisman Watch 2012: Manti Te'o Won't Win Prestigious Award

Mike MoraitisAnalyst IDecember 8, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 24:  Linebacker Manti Te'o #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish looks on against the USC Trojans at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 24, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Manti Te'o had a tremendous season with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, but the star linebacker won't be taking home the Heisman trophy this year.

The odds are against Te'o winning the award in the first place. Normally the Heisman is won by offensive players, and the last defender to take home the award was Charles Woodson in 1997.

Te'o had a great individual season in 2012. He recorded over 100 tackles and compiled seven interceptions for the Irish, but the biggest downside to his statistics is the fact that he only had 1.5 sacks the entire season.

What is working in Te'o's favor is the fact that he was the leader of the No. 1 defense in the nation, and it was a defense that put Notre Dame in position to win a national title in January.

The stiffest competition Te'o faces is in Texas A&M quarterback, Johnny Manziel.

Manziel had a sensational freshman season for the Aggies after throwing for 3,419 yards and 24 touchdowns to only eight picks. Johnny football also completed an impressive 68 percent of his passes.

Adding to his great season, Manziel also ran for 1,181 yards and 19 touchdowns, proving he was one of the best all-around players in the nation. In all, Manziel accounted for 4,600 yards of offense and was the lone reason for Texas A&M's success as he was responsible for a large chunk of its offense.

There's no doubt Manziel had a very special season and the fact that he did it in the SEC will be a plus.

The only question that remains is if Manziel's status as a freshman will hurt his chances, but that figures to also work in Manziel's favor.

It's one thing to put up big numbers in the college game, but it's another thing to do it as an inexperienced signal-caller. It was incredibly impressive to watch Manziel do what he did in just his first season, and it was unprecedented to say the least.

It can be argued that Te'o was the most important piece to his team's puzzle, but Notre Dame's defense had a ton of talent on it this season and might have been able to have a solid season without him.

Without Manziel, Texas A&M wouldn't have come anywhere near 10 wins. Nobody can ignore the amazing amount of production Manziel provided to the Aggies and his unmatched versatility must be taken into account, as well as his impact on the sport as a rising star in the college game.

This decision could go either way, but it's doubtful Te'o can break the mold and steal the Heisman from one of the top quarterbacks in the nation.