Tex­ans fre­quently in the race for tro­phy


Austin American-Statesman - - C SPORTS -

and Te’o 84.

Te’o has picked up six tro­phies, in­clud­ing the Maxwell and Wal­ter Camp for player of the year.

But if it’s Manziel, there is noth­ing novel about a Texan quar­ter­back tak­ing cen­ter stage in col­lege foot­ball.

Manziel is the sev­enth Lone Star quar­ter­back to at least make the Heis­man top five since 2005. Two of those quar­ter­backs — Texas’ Colt McCoy and Stan­ford’s An­drew Luck — were two-time fi­nal­ists. Even Cam New­ton, the 2010 Heis­man win­ner, had a touch of Texas in him since he played for Blinn Col­lege in Bren­ham the year be­fore he trans­ferred to Auburn.

The Davey O’Brien Foun­da­tion pre­sented its quar­ter­back award Thurs­day to Manziel. Over the past eight sea- sons, Manziel is the fourth Texan to win the tro­phy as the na­tion’s top quar­ter­back.

It’s no co­in­ci­dence that from 2005-2012, the state has pro­duced more than 180 quar­ter­backs who have signed with a Foot­ball Bowl Sub­di­vi­sion School. Ac­cord­ing to a re­cruit­ing anal­y­sis by ESPN, that num­ber should swell to more than 200 by Fe­bru­ary’s na­tional sign­ing day. This sea­son, nearly 20 per­cent of all FBS start­ing quar­ter­backs were Tex­ans.

If Manziel wins, it’ll be the first time Texan quar­ter­backs will have earned the tro­phy in con­sec­u­tive years since Hous­ton’s An­dre Ware and BYU’s Ty Det­mer did so in 1989-90.

Manziel, in his first pub­lic press con­fer­ence for the Heis­man, of­fered ad­vice for the quar­ter­backs coming be­hind him who seek to repli­cate his success. He also brought up the name of Drew Brees, an­other highly suc­cess­ful NFL quar­ter­back who starred for West­lake.

“Some peo­ple can’t judge how you play the game, if you play the game with a pas­sion,” Manziel said. “If you are go­ing to play the game of foot­ball, play it with all your heart. ... If you want to be 6 foot and be the best quar­ter­back in the league for a year, look at Drew Brees. It doesn’t mat­ter how big you are or how fast you are or what­ever. Just play with a lot of heart and leave it all on the field ev­ery time.”

A fel­low Texan, Adrian Peter­son, is root­ing for Manziel to win. Peter­son, the run­ning back who be­came a le­gend at Pales­tine High School be­fore sign­ing with Ok­la­homa, fin­ished sec­ond to Matt Leinart in the 2004 Heis­man race. He’s the only fresh­man to get that close on the bal­lots, los­ing to Leinart by 328.

“Hopefully, they don’t rob him like they did me,” Peter­son told The As­so­ci­ated Press. “I hope he wins.”

Grif­fin de­clined to dis­close his Heis­man votes.

“It’s funny that I say this, but I got to see the young­ster play and he’s done a good job. And that’s a lot coming from a Bay­lor Bear,” Grif­fin said of Manziel.

“Right now it’s up in the air, be­cause for me it’s been a dif­fi­cult year, and I’ve talked to some other Heis­man vot­ers. It’s been a dif­fi­cult year for the Heis­man, just who to vote for.”

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