Originally written on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 11/12/14
A high profile award ceremony needs several things to be successful, such as talent, sentiment, a fresh face and hype. This year’s Heisman Trophy that is being award Saturday night has all of these qualities in the three finalists Collin Klein, Manti Te’o and Johnny Manziel. The race to the finish line this year has seen several leaders in this wide open contest for college football’s highest honor.  Here is a timeline on each that led us to our final three. The player that started in the number one spot actually began on December 22, 2011 when USC Trojan Matt Barkley made the announcement that we had some unfinished business and was coming back for his senior season.  Barkley held that spot throughout the off season and up to week three when they lost to Stanford 21-14, which ended his chances at the BCS Championship and the Heisman.  In hindsight, Barkley would have gone Top 5 in the 2012 NFL draft, instead the Trojans lose 4 more games and are playing in the Sun Bowl and his stock in this year’s draft has fallen. The next in line was West Virginia Mountaineers QB Geno Smith, who was compiling stats as he sat behind Barkley.  Smith led the field for the next two weeks, week 4 and 5, until they got ambushed in week 6 to Texas Tech, a week ahead of the marquee matchup with Klein.  Smith, who is in line for the #1 draft spot in the upcoming NFL Draft, started off the season 5-0 and then lost the next 5 games before finishing by winning the last two to go 7-5, threw for over 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns, while only throwing 6 interceptions. Following Smith was the one of our three finalists Collin Klein from Kansas State who led the field from weeks 7 to 10, in which they faced three Top 25 teams and a very tough TCU team before running into Baylor, who were running on all cylinders as they man handled KSU 52-24.  Klein, who started his Wildcat career as a wide receiver and on special teams in 2009 and got spot duty in 2010 until getting his first start vs. Texas and won that game.  This year he displayed skills that could make a quarterback at the next level, but he will need the right fit to use his running and passing ability. After Klein lost, the discussion became wide open, with Notre Dame senior linebacker Manti Te’o and Texas A&M freshman quarterback Johnny “football” Manziel joining the discussion, creating our finalists for the award. Te’o is the team’s spiritual and emotional leader who led the Fighting Irish to a 12-0 record and #1 ranking, while recording 101 tackles, 7 interceptions and 1.5 sacks.  He has also provided leadership off the field as well as he dealt with the loss of his grandmother and his girlfriend on the September 11, 4 days before the team played Michigan State in their first big test of the season.  The Irish won that game thanks to Te’o who had a season high 12 tackles and two passes defended, as the defense limited the Spartans to only 50 rushing yards.  Te’o would be the first only exclusive defensive player in the history of the award (Michigan’s Charles Woodson won it in 1997, but he played some wide receiver and played special teams) and the first senior since Troy Smith won it in 2006. The last of the three finalists is the player who came on the scene with an incredible performance vs. Arkansas in week 5 with a 453 yards passing and 104 yards rushing and 4 touchdowns.  Aggie Freshman Johnny Football reminded people of a young Doug Flutie, the 1984 Heisman winner from Boston College, with his way of creating something out of nothing and giving defenses nightmares.  Manziel skyrocketed up the list to some people’s number #1 ranking after he gave Texas A&M a 20-0 lead over #1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa and the upset win. He has amassed 4,600 of total yards in the air and on the ground, which was more than both Cam Newton and Tim Tebow put together in their Heisman winning seasons.  The only thing holding back traditionalists is the fact that Manziel is a freshman and does a first year player deserve the honor. This vote looks to come down to two players, the senior vs. the freshman, the quarterback vs. the linebacker, the hype vs. emotion.  So who wins? And the winner of the 2013 Heisman Trophy is….  Manti Te’o var switchTo5x=true; stLight.options({publisher:''});
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