Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, and Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein are the Heisman Trophy finalists. Here's a look at each candidate's case for winning the award.
Manziel is the favorite to win the Heisman because of his performance this season. The redshirt freshman has been incredible since he took over as Texas A&M's quarterback after Ryan Tannehill went down with an injury. He has thrown for 3,727 yards while completing 65 percent of his passes. He also has 26 touchdowns against only seven interceptions.
Klein was considered the frontrunner before injuries struck both West Virginia quarterbacks. Now that Tavon Austin is out for the season with a knee injury, Klein will have the opportunity to prove himself as a winner. In three games this year, he has thrown for 2,174 yards while completing 63 percent of his passes. He has 14 touchdowns against four interceptions.
Te'o is in the running for the award because of how well he played during Notre Dame's undefeated regular season. The senior linebacker was responsible for picking off four passes and returning them for 106 yards during the team's run to the national championship. He also had nine tackles in the bowl game against Missouri.
NEW YORK, 24 DECEMBER 2020 — Alabama quarterback Mac Jones, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith, and Florida quarterback Kyle Trask were named finalists for the 86th annual Heisman Memorial Trophy during a live presentation. The award is given to the player who is deemed the most valuable player in college football.
The presentation was made possible by the family of the late Donald "Don" Jasper Henderson. Mr. Henderson established the Heisman Trust in 1986 with the goal of creating a more prominent role for student-athletes in the voting process. The presentation was held at the New York Hilton Midtown on December 17th, one week after the conclusion of the 2019 season. Present at the ceremony were members of the Jasper Henderson Family, members of the current Heisman Trophy committee, and media representatives.
"It's an honor just to be considered among such great players of all time," said Jones. "I'm looking forward to doing my part over the next few months to try and earn this award."
A four-person committee selected by the Henderson Family Council voted for its top three candidates, which were then presented to the public for voting. The winner will be announced Saturday, January 7th, 2021 at the 125th Annual Heisman Prize Show at the International Center in New York City. The event will be broadcast live on CBS from 8:00-11:00pm ET.
For the most part, Heisman Trophy winners have been seniors. Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy in 2012. Only a few juniors have won the honor, beginning with Doc Blanchard, the eleventh recipient in 1945. However, there is no rule that prevents a freshman from winning the award; indeed, it has never happened before or since.
The Heisman Memorial Trophy is awarded each year to the player judged to be the best college football player in the United States. The trophy is named in memory of American college football player and coach John David "Red" Kelly. He was president of his university for ten years after graduating from it, and he led its football team to national championships in 1922 and 1923.
The winner is selected by the Executive Committee of the Heisman Trust, a group composed of former Heisman Trophy winners and other members of the sports media. They vote on one candidate only, with the exception of 1994 when they voted on two players as co-winners. That year, Eric Dickerson of Southern California and Barry Sanders of Oklahoma State were equal leaders going into the final week of voting. With both players receiving votes from at least six of the nine voters, the committee decided to give the trophy to either player who received the most votes at the end of the season. Dickerson was declared the winner after he led the Trojans to their third straight 10-win season.
The next year, as a freshman, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston became the youngest Heisman Trophy winner at 19 years and 342 days old.
Here is a list of all the freshmen who have been nominated for the Heisman Trophy:
Year Player School Class Pos Honors 2012 Johnny Manziel Texas A&M Freshman QB 12-13 Jameis Winston Florida State Freshman QB 11-12 2013 Derrick Henry Alabama Freshman RB 9-10-11-14 2014 Jabrill Peppers Michigan Freshman DB 9-8-9-17 2015 Leonard Fournette LSU Freshman RB 8-7-8-15 2016 Deondre Francois Missouri Freshman QB 6-7-6-19 2017 Evan Engram Ole Miss Freshman TE 5-6-5-20 2018 Tua Tagovailoa Alabama Sophomore QB 4-5-4-17 2019 Justin Fields Ohio State Freshman QB 3-3-3-9 2020 Cade Mays California Freshman WR 2-2-2-4
Top 17 Heisman Trophy contenders for the 2021 college football season
Three Heisman Trophy winners Three Heisman Trophy winners have come from the program: quarterback Charlie Ward in 1993, Chris Weinke in 2000, and Jameis Winston in 2013. The Biletnikoff Award, named after Florida State Hall of Famer Fred Biletnikoff, is given annually to the finest receiver in college football. It was first awarded in 1986.
Heisman Trophy winners from Florida State: QB Charlie Ward (1993) and Chris Weinke (2000). RB Ervin Henry (1953) and FB Lamar McHan (1960) were part-time players.
Heisman winners that played for FSU include QB Rick Mirer (1985), HB Tony Martin (1990), WR Mark Buchanon (1995), and CB Deion Sanders (1998).
Winston is the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy. He led Florida State to its second undefeated regular season (13-0) and its third national championship in school history. With his victory, Winston became only the second player from the state of Florida to win the award (Paul "Bear" Bryant of Alabama won in 1963 and 1966).
Ward finished second in the voting to Oklahoma's Billy Vessels. Weinke was third and Martin fourth. Henry was selected as a starter on the All-Decade Team of the 1950s and earned First-Team All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors during his career at Florida State.