Though the chunk of individual awards doled out by the NCAA aren’t necessarily an indicator for who will win the grandaddy of them all, the Heisman Trophy, they most certainly won’t be this year. Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o cleaned house, winning the Maxwell Award for the nation’s most outstanding player and the Walter Camp national player of the year award.
For both awards, Te’o beat out, among others, Johnny Manziel and Collin Klein, the two other finalists for the Heisman Trophy. Despite Te’o’s wins, Manziel still remains the resounding favorite to take home the big boy prize. And recent history tells us that his almost inevitable win shouldn’t necessarily come as a surprise. Since 2000, only two Maxwell Award winners (Tim Tebow in 2007, Cam Newton in 2010) went on to win the Heisman. Only four Walter Camp winners (Eric Crouch in 2001, Matt Leinart in 2004, Troy Smith in 2006, Cam Newton in 2010) have done it too.
Te’o also captured the Bednarik Award for the nation’s most outstanding defensive player. Clearly, it was a fine night for the Notre Dame linebacker.
Manziel didn’t go home empty handed. He won the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award, becoming the first freshman to do so. It was pretty much a shoo-in for Johnny Football, who I imagine was waiting just a little eagerly for this awards show to end and to be at a Heisman ceremony that can’t come soon enough.
[ESPN.com, Getty Images]