Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/12/14
It really was no surprise that Notre Dame football’s star senior linebacker Manti Te’o was named as a Heisman finalist. After all, he’s been the most dynamic player on arguably the best defense in college football all season. For 2012, Te’o has racked up quite a resume. Notre Dame is 12-0 and going to the BCS National Game for the first time in the BCS era. He’s had signature wins against big programs – Michigan, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Stanford, and USC. The first four were ranked when the Irish faced them; USC was the pre-season #1 team but had stumbled to a 7-4 record and was unranked when they played Notre Dame. Individually, Teo’s numbers are rather eye popping for a college linebacker. 101 total tackles, 4 passes defended, 1.5 sacks, and 7 interceptions (the first 7 of his career). He showed up huge in the games against Stanford (helping make that controversial goal line stand to win the game in OT), posted 12 tackles against Michigan State, 8 tackles and 2 interceptions against Michigan, and 11 tackles and game-ending interception against Oklahoma. There is no doubt Te’o is the best defensive player in college football. He should win a litany of awards: Names like Nagurski, Butkus, Bednarik, and Lott could all be tied to the young man from Hawaii once college football award season is done. However, one name not attached to Te’o is the one that matters the most: Heisman. Now, don’t misunderstand me. If I were a Heisman voter (obviously I am not) I would put Te’o at the top of my ballot and not give it a second thought. But the voters (and the public) aren’t awed by defensive stats like they are others. The single biggest hurdle for Te’o’s “Mant-eisman” campaign is the position he plays. To put it another way – he’s not a quarterback. I whole heartedly agree with Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly’s assessment that if Te’o doesn’t win the Heisman, they should just make it an offensive award and be done with the pretense. In my honest opinion, Te’o is unquestionably the best player in college football this year. But I know that the people who make that decision – that’s up to the press and the former Heisman winners. Ok, and one vote for the public, to make us feel like our opinion actually matters – won’t put a linebacker ahead of a quarterback for the trophy. Here’s how I expect the vote to go: 1. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M 2. Te’o 3. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State The reason that Manziel will win the Heisman over Te’o are numerous, and in all fairness, valid. He’s scored 43 total touchdowns, thrown for 3,419 yards, and rushed for another 1,181. He’s notched wins over (at the time) #23 Louisiana Tech, #15 Mississippi State, and most impressive of all #1 Alabama. His only losses were against LSU (now #8 in the BCS rankings) and LSU (#3). His team’s opponents have a combined record of 88-56 (.611). And he plays in the SEC. Even with Johnny Football being a redshirt freshman, those are numbers that won’t be overlooked by the voters. And maybe they shouldn’t be. Klein is another story, though. There is no reason why he should finish ahead of Te’o in the voting. His numbers pale in comparison to Manziel’s, and they came against a much weaker slate of opponents (total W/L record is 74-69, or .517). If he does finish ahead of Te’o, there needs to be a total re-work of the award. With all that being said, though, I maintain that Te’o should – but won’t – win the Heisman. He’s the best player on the best team in the nation, and is a transcendent defensive talent the likes of which we will never see again. The way I see, Te’o would need some major “luck o’ the Irish” to pull off the upset. But I’m fairly certain that if it came down to it, he’d rather save that luck for winning the national championship. Follow me on Twitter @expertfan1  
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
1 Comment:
  • This article is completly incorrect. He won't receive the award because because he in on a play nobody, overrated team. The only reason he has received any awards so far is becaus the will be determined before the embarresing lose to ALABAMA when he get exposed. Bama always runs at the opponents defensive strenght and this game will be no different, Ask honey badger and Jarvis Jones. They got pumelled.
    He wouldn't even start in the SEC he knew it and chose the 30 year dormant ND team.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Kentucky seeks one kind of history, Coach K makes another

Matt Stafford's fiancee rips newspaper over article

Craig Sager's leukemia has returned

Frozen Four: Providence earns first bid since 1985

Report: Discussions to bring NFL team to L.A. are progressing

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Chris Mullin expected to take St. John's job

Michigan State beats Louisville, punches Final Four ticket

Ex-NHL player viciously attacks opponent before game

Rick Barnes a possibility for Tennessee coaching job?

Report: NFL looking into Bill Belichick's camera ideas

Saints CB Brian Dixon arrested in Miami

WrestleMania 31 results: Rollins cashes in, Rousey appears

Five soon-to-be NBA free agents with a lot on the line

WATCH: Russell Wilson hits home run during Rangers BP

Hooked 'em: Why Texas had to fire Rick Barnes

Adam Morrison trolled fan who made JJ Redick comment

Jim Harbaugh finished fourth in student government election

WATCH: Notre Dame gets warm reception upon return home

WATCH: Kris Letang hospitalized after hit

Aaron Rodgers, sportswriter get into it over on-court access

Sam Dekker's hot shooting sends Wisconsin to Final Four

Jim McElwain complains about Florida roster

Mark Few: I put Coach K up there with John Wooden

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Full WrestleMania 31 recap and results

Why Texas had to fire Rick Barnes

Craig Sager's leukemia has returned

Report: Chris Mullin to take St. John's job

Report: NFL looking into more cameras

CC Sabathia goes off about spring stats

John Fox: Cutler will have to earn job

Texas eyeing Shaka Smart, Gregg Marshall?

WATCH: Brady jumps off cliff in Costa Rica

WATCH: 2 Chainz beats Nique in HORSE

NFL owners chose cost over game integrity

Be careful how loudly you cheer on Mo'ne Davis' olive branch

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.