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Stat Attack: Why Texas A&M freshman QB Johnny Manziel should be on your Heisman radar

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

Through the first half of the season, there have been two quarterbacks that have inspired that "Wow" factor during nearly every game this season -- West Virginia's Geno Smith, and Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, a freshman, who has taken the SEC by storm.

The difference between the two is that Smith is currently the Heisman frontrunner and Manziel is an afterthought for the award. But should that be the case?

For the more than 900 Heisman voters out there, Smith seems to be the clear winner. After Smith, names such as Ohio State's Braxton Miller, Kansas State's Collin Klein, Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas and Notre Dame's Manti Te'o seem to be among the favorites to attend the ceremony in New York.

But in terms of numbers, Manziel, whom the College Station, Texas, locals call Johnny Football, should at least receive some consideration.

He's tied for 13th nationally in scoring with Klein and the two are the highest in that category among Heisman contenders. He's 31st nationally in passing, which is second to Smith among the aforementioned Heisman quarterbacking contenders. He's second nationally in points responsible for with 24, which ranks just two points below Smith and seven points ahead of Miller and Klein.

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(US Presswire)

Even more impressive is where Manziel stands in the SEC, which is touted as the nation's best defensive conference. He's second in scoring, second in passing and leads the conference in points responsible for by eight points.

So why is everyone so hesitant to pull the trigger on a redshirt freshman, who is a candidate for the SEC's Freshman of the Year Award and should be a lock to be a Freshman All-American?

Well, it's his schedule.

The Aggies have yet to really get into the meat of their conference schedule and until they do, Manziel's numbers will be chalked up to playing inferior foes. But he hasn't been bad against the SEC competition he's played. In his first-ever collegiate game, he totaled 233 total yards and a touchdown against Florida. He threw for 453 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 104 yards and one score against Arkansas. He accounted for 320 yards and two touchdowns against Ole Miss.

He's set the SEC mark for total yardage -- twice -- and became the first SEC player to have two games of 500 or more total yards. Since losing that season opener against non-No. 2 Florida, the Aggies are undefeated.

Manziel might turn some Heisman voting heads if he's able to put up similar numbers against No. 6 LSU this weekend. The Tigers will be the biggest opponent the Aggies have faced this season, but the fact that it's at home should help Manziel.

Manziel also will have opportunities to prove himself against No. 12 Mississippi State and No. 1 Alabama in back-to-back weeks.

Smith might have the Heisman locked up, but if Manziel plays the way he's been playing and the Aggies keep winning, he should be the one giving the West Virginia senior a run for his money.

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