Johnny Manziel isn’t winning the Heisman Trophy again.
He’s overly scrutinized and will have to put up better numbers than last year in order to even be considered. It’s that hard to win it twice. We saw Tim Tebow win the award in 2007 with 3,286 passing yards and 32 TDs plus 895 yards on the ground with 23 TDs. He was invited back to the Heisman ceremony in 2008 simply because he was Tim Tebow. His rushing yards and scores fell considerably (673 and 12) and even though his passing numbers dropped but with much less of a discrepancy (2,746 and 30), Sam Bradford won the trophy and squashed our chances of seeing the second-ever two-time Heisman winner.
Barring an injury, Manziel will be invited back to New York and ESPN won’t be shutting up about him and his candidacy, even if his numbers fall well short of his counterparts. Heisman voters won’t make anybody a two-time award winner without them earning that title with a record-book season. Everything from 2012 is erased and Manziel will have to earn his way to the top after showing up out of nowhere.
The season before Johnny Football took home the Johnny Heisman it was awarded to another QB from a Texas school, Robert Griffin III, whom I heard about towards the end of the 2010 season. I looked him up on EA Sports NCAA ’11 (with the aforementioned Tebow emblazoned on the cover) and found him to be the fastest QB in the game. The 2011 season began with Baylor and TCU, I was ready to watch the RGIII coming out party. The unranked Bears squeezed by TCU 50-48 and RGIII was 21-of-27 for 359 yards and five touchdowns plus 10 carries for 38 yards. Upon completion of the game I was so sure he would win the Heisman that I tweeted my prediction, calling him a “deep sleeper” for the award. Yes, I favorite my own tweets, but I was right, so get over it.
The last three Heisman winners all started their award-winning seasons as virtual unknowns, lurking in the shadows of the national spotlight, ready to take the stage. This season’s winner will come from the same background as Manziel. A highly-recruited QB snubbed by Mack Brown and Texas who redshirted their first year on campus. You’ll soon come to know him as “Famous Jameis,” the only name you’ll be calling him by the end of the year and the nickname the Heisman announcer will read before his last name, Winston. “Famous Jameis” may have donned the redshirt for the football team last season but he suited up for baseball and got a chance to show off his arm on the diamond before the gridiron. When the season began there was still a question as to whether or not Winston or Jacob Coker would be the one starting for Florida State. Looks like head coach Jimbo Fisher made the right decision.
Winston completely dominated Pitt in all facets of the offensive game in the season opener. Completely. Dominated. His stats say he was 25-of-27 passing but only one of those passes hit the ground, the other was ruled an incompletion after the receiver was able to drag his foot and was ultimately ruled out of bounds. His numbers nearly match up with RGIII’s TCU game, 356 yards and 4 touchdowns passing plus eight carries for 25 yards and a score. Winston was playing like he was being controlled in a video game, every pass was on the money, perfectly thrown. He made a star out of TE Nick O’Leary, grandson of the Golden Bear Jack Nicklaus, who caught four passes for 47 yards and a trio of touchdowns.
By now I’m sure you’ve thought or even spoken the word “overreaction”. That’s ok, I understand that you may not believe in “Famous Jameis” now, but you will very soon and you’ll be thanking me for this article. Watch some of his highlights from Monday’s game against Pitt and you’ll change your mind. It’s a great way to introduce yourself to the 2013 Heisman Memorial Trophy winner.
But there are other under-the-radar offensive players to watch this year that could find their way to the Heisman ceremony:
• QB – Jordan Lynch, Sr., Northern Illinois: The #2 rusher in the nation for 2012 returns for his senior season and a shot at BCS redemption
• QB – Brett Hundley, So., UCLA: After a superb freshman season, Hundley could be the best quarterback in the Pac-12.
• RB – Bishop Sankey, Jr., Washington: The best name in college football followed a 205-yard Las Vegas Bowl performance against Boise State with 161 yards and two scores to open the season against those same Broncos.
• RB – Kenneth Dixon, So., LA Tech: His team may have been crushed by NC State, but he shined with 118 yards and a TD.
• WR – Alex Amidon, Sr., Boston College: Finished second in the ACC behind De’Andre Hopkins with 1,210 receiving yards in 2012, began this season with 13 receptions for 146 yards and a score.
• WR – Stefon Diggs, So., Maryland: A threat through the air and out of the backfield, Diggs is the athletic talent that every coach wants on their team. Think Percy Harvin.