Collin Klein – QB, Kansas State
So what’s the case for “Kleisman”? It’s not hard to see.
For one, he is the epitome of a team leader. The guy leaves his heart and soul out on the football field every single game and he refuses to learn what the term “lose” means, simply put. As the primary starter the last two seasons, Klein has led the Wildcats to a 21-4 record and now will lead them in this year’s Fiesta Bowl.
Not only is Klein the emotional leader for Bill Snyder’s Kansas State team, but he’s also one of the most consistent producers as well. Klein accounted for an astounding 37 touchdowns this season – 22 of them were on the ground, which was tied for second in the country in that category. He also was responsible for 132 of the team’s 488 points on the season (27 percent of the team’s scoring). Klein helped lead the Wildcats to an average of 40.7 points per game this season (the team’s highest in the past six years) and also finished with 895 hard-earned yards on the ground.
For these accomplishments, the do-it-all, almost unbreakable heart and soul of this Kansas State team is earning a well-deserved seat at the Heisman ceremonies this weekend.
Manti Te’o – LB, Notre Dame
If the Heisman Trophy is given out to the best player on the best team in the country then Te’o is your guy.
Te’o has been criticized by some as not putting up the individual numbers necessary for a defensive player to win the Heisman and there is merit behind those points. Statistically Te’o won’t blow anyone away, but it is his presence and emotional leadership on the field that helped the Irish get to where they are today at 12-0 and in the National Championship game.
In Notre Dame’s four closest games this season, Te’o tallied 35 tackles and three interceptions. His interceptions in the contests against Michigan and Oklahoma were crucial as well. In fact, Te’o was tied for second nationally with seven interceptions on the season – three more than any other linebacker. Mentally tough enough to deal with some major hardships off the field, Te’o maintained his focus all year for his team and the Irish would not be where they are without him.
He may not put up numbers like Georgia’s Jarvis Jones or even be as disruptive, but his leadership on the field has his team fighting for a national title which makes up for any of those short-comings; that is why he will be in New York City on Saturday.
Johnny “Football” Manziel – QB, Texas A&M
If you believe that the person who puts up the best individual statistics throughout the season and wows the crowd with “Heisman moments” that are simply unforgettable, then Johnny “Football” Manziel is your man.
The Aggies of Texas A&M were welcomed to the SEC this season and way outperformed all expectations. A lot of the success goes to head coach Kevin Sumlin, of course. But true freshman phenom signal-caller Manziel was the true orchestrator of this year’s on-field symphony – and what a beautiful one it was.
Ripping through the SEC, Manziel averaged 285 yards per game passing and another 98 yards rushing per contest. Yes, that is 383 yards of offense per game all on his own. Manziel was also responsible for breaking Cam Newton’s SEC record for total offense in a single season, racking up exactly 4,600 yards of offense in 12 games. The numbers are staggering and only figure to get even better as he matures at the quarterback position in the years to come.
It’s not all just mind-boggling numbers either as Manziel plays a position where leadership is a must in order to win games and the Aggies 10-2 record is proof of just how valuable of a leader he is. This highlight-reel QB is looking to become the first ever freshman to win the Heisman, and most will tell you that he is a good bet to do so.
Photo Credit: Getty