Manziel is first freshman Heisman Trophy winner

Manziel is first freshman Heisman Trophy winner

Credit: Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Heisman finalists quarterback Johnny Manziel of the Texas A&M University Aggies speaks to the media after a press conference prior to the 78th Heisman Trophy.

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by RALPH D. RUSSO

Associated Press

Posted on December 8, 2012 at 10:01 PM

Updated Saturday, Dec 8 at 10:08 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel has won the Heisman Trophy for college football's best player, becoming the first player to do so in his first year of college.

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o finished a distant second and Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein was third in the voting. In a Heisman race with two nontraditional candidates, Manziel broke through as the first freshman to take the award and kept Te'o from becoming the first purely defensive player to win

Manziel drew 474 first-place votes and 2,029 points from the panel of media members and former winners.

"I have been dreaming about this since I was a kid, running around the backyard pretending I was Doug Flutie, throwing Hail Marys to my dad," he said.

Te'o had 321 first-place votes and 1,706 points and Klein received 60 firsts and 894 points.

Just a few days after turning 20, Manziel proved times have truly changed in college football, and that experience can be really overrated.

For years, seniors — fourth-year college students — dominated the award. In the 1980s, third-year juniors started becoming common winners. Tim Tebow became the first sophomore, or second-year student, to win it in 2007, and two more won it in the next two seasons.

Adrian Peterson had come closest as a freshman, finishing second to Southern California quarterback Matt Leinart in 2004. But it took 78 years for a first-year student to take home the big bronze statue.

He's the second player from Texas A&M to win the Heisman, joining John David Crow from 1957, and did so without the slightest hint of preseason hype. Manziel didn't even win the starting job until two weeks before the season.

With daring dashes and elusive improvisation, Manziel broke 2010 Heisman winner Cam Netwon's Southeastern Conference record with 4,600 total yards, led the Aggies to a 10-2 in their first season in the SEC and orchestrated an upset at then-No. 1 Alabama in November that stamped him as a rising star.

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