What Johnny Manziel and Manti Teo have done for their teams is truly special. They have defeated squads that not a whole lot of people thought they could, with Teo taking the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to the BCS National Championship Game. Both of these players have had incredible seasons and been key to their team's success.
When John Heisman created the award in 1935 (originally called the Downtown Athletic Club Trophy, it was renamed after his death in 1936), he wanted it to be more than on-field talents. According to heisman.com, the award was meant for "the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity."
That sentence right there is all the proof you need right there to know who truly deserve the Heisman Trophy, and that player is K-State quarterback Collin Klein.
Ever since he became the starter for K-State two seasons ago at home against Texas, he has captivated the hearts of Wildcat fans all across the nation. From his grit and the heart that he shows on the field, to the personality and attitude he has off the field, there is not one negative thing that you can say about Klein.
As the leader of the Wildcats, Klein must have the respect of his teammates to go out there and accomplish things together as a team. Not only do the players respect him, they absolutely love him. Tyler Lockett said it best after the Wildcats victory over the Texas Tech Red Raiders on October 27.
"Collin Klein is a great player," said Lockett. "Collin is a leader. Being able to have Collin as a great quarterback, it really influences us in many ways."
Yes, statistics play a huge role when it comes to the Heisman Trophy, and when looking at Klein's numbers, his are on par with any quarterback in the country.
On the season, Klein finished the season throwing for 2490 yards and 15 touchdowns, while adding 890 yards on the ground and an incredible 22 rushing touchdowns. This is coming off a season where he set an NCAA record with 27 rushing touchdowns on the ground.
With his numbers this season, he became the first quarterback ever from a BCS-Automatic Qualifying school to ever have consecutive seasons of at least 20 rushing touchdowns and at least 10 passing touchdowns. To think that he is the first, with such dual-threat quarterbacks as Eric Crouch, Pat White and Tim Tebow in the past decade, is truly an impressive feat. Also, he has improved throwing the ball, increasing his completion percentage from 57 percent, up to 66 percent this season.
More importantly, the he has led K-State to its first BCS bowl in nine season, and as a starter, has a record of 22-4.
All three candidates are in their own way worthy of the Heisman Trophy. Manziel breaking the SEC record for total yards as a red shirt freshman is truly incredible, while Teo is the heart-and-soul of the No. 1 team in the country. However, when looking at the definition of the Heisman Trophy, and what John Heisman wanted the award to truly symbolize, the player that represents it on-and-off the field is without a doubt, Collin Klein.
Click here to read the case for why Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o should win the Heisman.
Click here to read the case for why Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel should win the Heisman.