The 2012 College Football Finalists for the coveted Heisman Trophy were officially announced with the top three candidates being Texas A&M’s star freshman quarterback, Johnny Manziel followed by Notre Dame’s senior powerhouse linebacker, Manti Te’o, and lastly, Kansas State’s standout senior quarterback, Collin Klein. Currently, Manziel surpasses any other finalist in total votes with 69, Te’o holds 57, and Klein holds 42. The three have had undoubtedly impressive seasons but I feel that the Freshman out of Texas A&M will be crowned the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner.
Johnny Manziel or commonly known as “Johnny Football”, Freshman, has been nothing but fun to watch this year. He has broken records and received many accomplishments that earn him the right to be known as the so called, “best player in college football”. He’s a dual threat quarterback on the field with his passing arm and his ability to quickly dash out of a collapsing pocket to gain a first down. This season ‘Johnny Football’ has a total of 3419 passing yards and 1181 rushing yards. He’s racked in a total of 43 touchdowns this season with 24 being in the air and 19 on foot, and in addition, he’s only had 8 interceptions. His completion percentage is 68.3% and on foot he averages 6.8 yards-per-carry. His stats are unarguable and prove him to be one of, if not, the top Quarterback in all of College Football this year.
This season he’s also had an array of record-breaking games and has earned many different accomplishments this season. In his second game in his college football career against Southern Methodist University, he broke Texas A&M’s Freshman passing record, and he did not stop there. The next week against South Carolina State he earned the SEC Freshman of the Week award, and the following week against Arkansas, he broke Texas A&M’s passing record, was awarded SEC Offensive player and Freshman of the week and he also broke Archie Manning’s 43 year-old total offense record. This game is what really got Maziel’s name on the nations radar and even with so much attention, he kept on chugging along to do
more great feats. In week seven against Louisiana Tech, he broke the SEC total offense record, was awarded SEC Offensive and Freshman player of the Week, AT&T All-America Player of the Week, The Walter Camp Honor, and was the first player in SEC history with two 500+ yard games of total offense in a single season. In week eight against Auburn, he was awarded SEC Freshman Player of the week, and received the same award following week nine. Week ten was his biggest game of the season, as he lead Texas A&M into Tuscaloosa, Alabama to take on the #1 ranked Crimson Tide, and came out with a shocking victory, snapping Alabama’s school record 29-game regular season win streak and stunning nearly all of the college football world. That week he was SEC offensive player of the week and Freshman of the week, AT&T All-America Player of the Week, and the Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week. In week eleven, against Sam Houston State he was awarded SEC Freshman of the Week and AT&T All-America Player of the Week. To close off the season in week twelve against Missouri he was awarded SEC Freshman of the Week.
Johnny “Football” Manziel is a college player with outstanding talent and abilities in the game of Football. He is a two-time Walter Camp Player of the Week, three-time AT&T All-American Player of the Week, the first player since Florida’s Tim Tebow to rush for two touchdowns and to throw for two touchdowns five times in one season, and also, seven-time SEC Freshman Player of the week. His stats are unarguably outstanding and watching him play is exhilarating. He’s a Freshman out of Kerrville, Texas who has made his name in college football. I’m more than excited to see what he will do next year at Texas A&M and his stats prove that he will win the 2012 Heisman Trophy.
In 2011, the Kansas State football team exceeded everyone’s expectations. They were predicted by the media to finish 8th in the Big 12 and win 4 or 5 games. By now, everyone knows Kansas State football is getting back to the way it used to be. Entering the 2012 season, Kansas State returns the second most amount of starters on any team in the Big 12, behind only Texas Tech. It seems odd that many media members are continuing to discount the Wildcats in the Big 12 Title race for the upcoming season. Yes I understand they won 8 games by 7 points or less. Yes I know Collin Klein needs to work on his passing.
Yes I know the secondary needs to replace two starters. It’s also hard to understand the media’s reasoning for thinking the “ball won’t bounce” K-State’s way as much this year. Do they not realize that last year was Collin Klein, Arthur Brown, Consensus All-American Tyler Lockett, and second team All-American Nigel Malone’s first year as full time starters? Yes it took an interception of Robert Griffin to beat Baylor. Yes it took four overtimes to beat Texas A&M. With a full year starting under their belts for the four previously mentioned, how can this team not be drastically improved from last year. I don’t think people realize that. Another point of confusion is that usually when a team loses many close games in one year and returns many starters for the next year, they are picked by the media to win more games.
So how is it that a team that returns many starters that proved they could win close games, is predicted to win less? I am not even mentioning other key role players returning from last year, such as Chris Harper, Ty Zimmerman, Meshak Williams, B.J. Finney and countless others. Oh, and i haven’t even mentioned the greatest piece to the puzzle, the reigning National Coach of the Year, Bill Snyder. You think this is his first rodeo? All in all, I find it extremely puzzling that the national and local media are back to their old ways of discounting K-State and Bill Snyder. All of these preseason rankings are nothing more than bulletin board material that will ignite a fire in the players. I’m by no means upset by all of this talk, because deep inside we all know it means nothing and is just fuel for the program. As long as this talk keeps up, Bill Snyder’s players will continue to use it as motivation, and they will prove the media wrong, just like they did last year.
K-State held its annual Spring Game last Saturday. In front of a crowd of about 18,000, the game ended in a 42-42 tie. Head Coach Bill Snyder stuck with his usual spring game format, pitting the first team against the second team and flipping the score at halftime so the first team must come from behind to win. Quarterback Collin Klein’s arm looked fantastic, making nearly every throw. Some surprises included running back Robert Rose, who’ll look to push John Hubert for the starting job during the fall, and wide receiver Curry Sexton, who made a spectacular catch in the corner of the endzone and managed to get his foot down for a touchdown in the first half. Chris Harper looked solid, as did Tramaine Thompson.
Tyler Lockett did not play due to an undisclosed injury. Fullback Braden Wilson got a lot of touches, which is something K-State fans hope to see more of this fall. True Freshman quarterback Tavarius Bender got the nod with the second team offense, which is saying a lot considering he’s only been on campus since January. On defense, cornerback Nigel Malone looked like the same person that was a second team All-American last season. Linebacker Arthur Brown looked extremely fluid in his drops into pass coverage and was his normal ball hawk self on run plays. Converted quarterback Justin Tuggle got the start with the first team defense at linebacker over Jarell Childs. Safety Ty Zimmerman performed well in pass coverage and truly has a knack for getting to the ball. All in all, it was a very vanilla game. Nothing earth shattering, just what we all expected to see from a Bill Snyder coached team. The outright leader on defense is Arthur Brown. Along with his phenomenal play, he brings fantastic leadership. The story this year for Kansas State will be about Collin Klein. This team can go as far as he can take them.
Coming off of a 10-3 season with a second place finish in the Big 12 and a Cotton Bowl appearance, Kansas State has a lot to look forward to for the upcoming 2012 football season. Returning on offense is preseason Heisman contender quarterback Collin Klein, as well as top receivers Chris Harper and Tramaine Thompson and starting running back John Hubert. Returning on defense the 2011 Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year Arthur Brown and Walter Camp All American Nigel Malone, as well as many other starters. Sophomore Wide Receiver Tyler Lockett looks to come back from a lacerated kidney that sidelined him for the last four games of the season.
Despite this injury, the true freshman was named a consensus All-American Kick Returner. There was one coaching change in the offseason as former Defensive Coordinator Chris Cosh took the same position at South Florida. Head Coach Bill Snyder promoted Defensive Backs Coach Tom Hayes to Defensive Coordinator. As you can see, Kansas State has many pieces in place to make a run at a Big 12 and possibly even National Championship. As Spring Practice has arrived for Kansas State, here are players to watch for the spring.
Offense: Collin Klein
Although Klein had an exceptional season last year, many questioned his ability to throw the football. It will be interesting to see this spring how much progress Collin has made in the offseason regarding his passing game. If Klein can get his passing game to an optimal level, combined with his ability to run the football, this will be one of the most explosive offenses in the country and Klein will be a Heisman Finalist come December. He has the weapons on offense to lead this team to a conference championship.
Defense: Justin Tuggle
The Blinn Junior College transfer came to K-State last year with aspirations of being a quarterback. However, Collin Klein took that job and did let anyone come close to taking it from him. During the practices leading up to the Cotton Bowl, Justin Tuggle made the switch from quarterback to outside linebacker, hoping to get a head start on taking a spot that is open with Emmanuel Lamur graduating. It will be interesting to see how far Tuggle has come since last December. He certainly has the physical tools to put it all together. His father was an All-Pro Linebacker for the Atlanta Falcons, so he has it in his blood. I’m excited to see if he can put all the pieces together.
Special Teams: Tyler Lockett
Coming into last year, Tyler Lockett was hoping to redshirt and put on some weight to possibly break into the rotation a wide receiver this year. However, after seeing him practice last summer, Wide Receivers coach Michael Smith thought Lockett could help K-State out immediately. Boy was he right. Lockett turned out not to only be a force on the offensive side of the ball, he was also a force on special teams. As a true freshman, Lockett was named a consensus All-American Kick Returner. During the game at Oklahoma State, Lockett took a punishing hit to the kidney as he was crossing the goal line. He ended u with a lacerated kidney that kept him on the sideline for the remainder of the season. Tyler is reportedly ready to go for spring ball, so it will be interesting to see if he can reproduce last years success despite the kidney injury.