If Tim Tebow deserved to win the Heisman as a sophomore in 2007, Johnny Manziel deserved to win the Heisman as a freshman in 2012.
Heck, if any freshman ever deserved to win the Heisman, it's Manziel.
It's simple, really.
An argument validating Manziel's win can be vast and rather lengthy, but the ultimate reason why he should have won the Heisman involves his stats.
Remove the eyeball test and forget about his heroics in Bryant-Denny Stadium that ultimately led to a Texas A&M upset against Alabama for just a second. Pull out the stat book and compare it to one of the greatest college football players that has ever played the game.
Despite the NFL and the New York Jets turning Tebow into a punchline, no one can deny that he was one of the most dominant players in college football history.
In 2007, Tebow threw for 3,286 yards, rushed for 895 and totaled 57 touchdowns with the Florida Gators. The numbers were so impressive that they allowed him to become the first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy.
Fast forward to 2012, when fans bore witness to a player who wasn't as dominant as Tebow, but was more electrifying. Manziel passed for 3,419 yards, rushed for with 1,181 and accounted for 43 total touchdowns.
|Manziel (2012)||3,419 passing yards||1,181 rushing yards||24 passing TD||19 rushing TD|
|Tebow (2007)||3.286 passing yards||895 rushing yards||32 passing TD||25 rushing TD|
The fact that Manziel's numbers are so close to Tebow's makes him a worthy Heisman winner, and if the award had gone to anybody else, it could have hurt the trophy's prestige.
Alright, now that we have all of the quantitative data out of the way, let's look at the qualitative data surrounding Manziel: the eyeball test. Furthermore, let's compare what Manziel did in 2012 to what Tebow did in 2007.
Tebow was an enforcer. Like a battering ram, Urban Meyer used his quarterback to soften up defenses and pick up first downs in short-yardage situations. That was expected because of what he did in 2006, but there was uncertainty surrounding his passing. However, Tebow answered those uncertainties with multiple touchdown passes.
Tebow not only captured everyone's attention on the field, but he captured the nation's heart off of it through his love for Jesus Christ. Through interviews and his actions, Tebow spread his message.
As for the action on the field, Tebow was able to make plays with his arm as well as his legs, and he went on to become the first college football player to both run and throw for over 20 touchdowns each.
Now, back to 2012 with Johnny Football. Entering the season, many believed Texas A&M would sink in the deep end of the pool—the SEC West. The Aggies were never given a shot, but that's because no one knew anything about Manziel.
After Manziel debuted against Florida, that all changed. With his elusive running in the open field and accurate throws from the pocket, Manziel slowly became the best player in college football with every passing week. And after he put the dagger in Alabama in November, the nation really started to take notice.
So, like Tebow, Manziel emerged as an exciting dual-threat quarterback.
Manziel's play on the field was so flamboyant that it helped detract from his youth. All of a sudden, voters were becoming more open to voting for a freshman. And really, if the Heisman voters were willing to give a sophomore the hardware for his efforts in '07, it would have been unjust to not reward this freshman for the season he provided.
Luckily, the Heisman voters got it right. Thank God.