West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith appears to be the frontrunner for the 2012 Heisman Trophy, especially after he dismantled the Baylor defense in a 70-63 shootout victory over the No. 25 Bears--a game that resulted in stats that more closely resembled an Arena Football League game than a college football game.
While Smith was laying waste to the Baylor defense, however, about 1,300 miles south and west of Morgantown in College Station, Texas, redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel was busy destroying the Arkansas defense as Manziel's Texas A&M Aggies routed the Razorbacks 58-10 for A&M's first SEC victory.
Could we be seeing some Heisman Trophy buzz generating around Manziel?
For 2012? Probably not. Smith is going to have to fail down the stretch to keep the most prestigious award in college football out of Morgantown. And, besides, freshmen never win the Heisman.
For 2013 and beyond, though? Heisman voters might want to take a gander at this Johnny Manziel kid.
Who Is Johnny Manziel?
Manziel is a 6-foot-1, 200-pounder out of Kerrville, Texas, who was tremendously successful at Tivy High School and ultimately chose Texas A&M over the Oregon Ducks and Stanford Cardinal. Now taking the reigns after Ryan Tannehill was drafted by the Miami Dolphins, the dual-threat Manziel has continued his success as an Aggie.
He was baptized by fire as his first start in maroon and white came against the Florida Gators, ranked No. 24 at the time and now ranked No. 10 in the nation. Manziel performed well, completing 23 of 30 passes for 173 yards. He also led the Aggies in rushing, picking up 60 yards and a score on the ground.
The following week, he piled up 418 total yards and six touchdowns in just three quarters of work as Texas A&M ripped SMU 48-3. A week later, poor FCS opponent South Carolina State didn't stand a chance against Manziel and the Aggies. The quarterback racked up another 252 total yards and five touchdowns ... by halftime.
Then Arkansas came to town, and Manziel made short work of the reeling Razorbacks and their awful defense. The kid from Kerrville set a school record for passing yards (453) and rewrote A&M and SEC records for all-purpose yards (557) in a game. Add four more touchdowns to his stat line, giving him a staggering 15 scores in the past three games.
In four games, Manziel has completed 70.2 percent of his passes for 1,094 yards, 10 touchdowns, and no interceptions. He also leads the team in rushing with 366 yards and six scores on the ground.
Not too shabby for a freshman.
Still Work to be Done
Manziel and the Aggies still have a long way to go, of course. Up next is a road trip to take on Ole Miss (3-2), which briefly gave Alabama a scare. Then a dangerous Louisiana Tech (4-0) team rolls into town, having already thumped Illinois and Virginia on the road. Dates with No. 4 LSU (5-0), No. 20 Mississippi State (4-0), and No. 1 Alabama (5-0) still loom.
Manziel still has a lot left to prove, but if he keeps this up--especially against SEC competition--the Heisman Trophy could soon wind up in College Station for the first and only time since John David Crow won the award in 1957.
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