2012 Heisman Watch: From nowhere come three outstanding candidates for college football's top individual award

Jonathan Daniel

A freshman, a defensive player and a Kansas State quarterback represent the best players in college football, as the Heisman Trophy award ceremony is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT Saturday in New York.

The 2012 college football season began without many expectations for Kansas State, Texas A&M and Notre Dame.

Imagine the odds of a parlay of those three teams finishing in the top 10. How about a freshman, a defensive player and a Kansas State player becoming the only three-player Heisman Trophy finalist group since 2008.

It's an out-of-nowhere kind of finalist group, but one representing accomplishment befitting college football's top individual award.

Texas A&M's freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel is probably the odds-on favorite for the award, which will be given at 7 p.m. CT at the Best Buy Theater in Times Square.

No freshman has ever won it (Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson finished second in 2004), but Manziel's 70 plays this season of 20 yards or more is the highest total in FBS, and his 4,600 total yards give him the kind of versatility possessed by the last two winners; Auburn's Cam Newton in 2010 and Baylor's Robert Griffin III last year.

Manziel isn't the only finalist from a traditionally underrepresented group. Notre Dame's Manti Te'o looks to become the first primarily defensive player to win the award since Michigan's Charles Woodson in 1998. Te'o's credentials, however, are impressive enough for consideration.

Te'o has seven interceptions this season, tied for second-most in FBS and three more than any other linebacker. Add in two fumble recoveries and his nine total takeaways are tied for the most in the nation.

Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein is making a bid to become the first Wildcats player to ever win the award after a season in which he accounted for 37 touchdowns.

Coverage of the awards presentation begins at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN.

Trending Discussions

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SB Nation Chicago

You must be a member of SB Nation Chicago to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation Chicago. You should read them.

Join SB Nation Chicago

You must be a member of SB Nation Chicago to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation Chicago. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.