Johnny Manziel Redux: How Have Previous Heisman Winners Fared the Next Season?

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Johnny Manziel Redux: How Have Previous Heisman Winners Fared the Next Season?
USA TODAY Sports
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel

Will Texas A&M quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny "Football" Manziel repeat his 2012 college football performance? Or will he suffer the dreaded sophomore slump? 

That's the question on everyone's mind with 100 days left until the first FBS college football game kicks off on August 29. The odds of Manziel winning the Heisman this year are astronomically high.There has only been one back-to-back Heisman winner: Ohio State running back Archie Griffin, who accomplished thet feat in 1974-75.

Not many Heisman winners get to challenge for more than one Heisman. They either won it in their last year of NCAA eligibility or declared early for the NFL draft the following year.

In the past 20 years, only four Heisman winners. all quarterbacks, played another year of college football: Oklahoma's Sam Bradford and Jason White, Florida's Tim Tebow  and USC's Matt Leinart.. 

All failed to win another Heisman.

Sam Bradford, quarterback, Oklahoma

Bradford won the 2008 Heisman as a redshirt sophomore. He had the option to declare for the 2009 NFL draft but instead decided to return for his fourth year. Bradford hurt his shoulder in the first game of the season against BYU and missed three games as a result. Bradford returned to play against Baylor, but he re-injured his shoulder in the following game against Texas and underwent season-ending surgery. 

Tim Tebow, quarterback, Florida

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Statue of Tim Tebow

Tebow won the 2007 Heisman Trophy in his sophomore year. The following year the Florida Gators beat the Oklahoma Sooners in the BCS Championship game. Despite receiving the most first-place votes, Tebow finished third behind Texas quarterback Colt McCoy and Heisman-winner Sam Bradford. 

What happened? Tebow's passer rating of 172.5 in 2007 was almost identical to his 172.4 in 2008. But his outspoken religious views and awkward throwing motion made him a polarizing figure. 

Matt Leinart, quarterback, USC

Leinart won the 2004 Heisman as a junior. The following year, someone else on his team would steal the spotlight—running back Reggie Bush. Although Bush did win the 2005 Heisman, he returned it to the Heisman Trust after an NCAA investigation determined he had received impermissible benefits and was an ineligible student-athlete.

Jason White, quarterback, Oklahoma

White won the Heisman in 2003 after rehabbing two knees from ACL surgery the previous two seasons. He received a medical hardship waiver and was granted an extra year of NCAA eligibility. His grit and determination impressed Heisman voters, but his stats in 2004—3,205 passing yards, 35 touchdowns and nine interceptions—didn't match his numbers in 2003—3,846 passing yards, 40 touchdowns and eight interceptions. 

Manziel is now on the clock. Last year he threw for 3,706 yards, 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions. If he can repeat those numbers and propel his Aggies to the SEC Championship, he should be a Heisman finalist. 

Can he win it? As long as Manziel doesn't do anything to hurt his reputation—and that is certainly not a given—he's the front-runner. Playing in a high-profile conference with nearly 350,000 Twiitter followers means all eyes are on him. 

It'll be fun watching him try for a repeat. 

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