Following much anticipation, college football Hall of Famer and 1990 Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer announced the three finalists for this year's Heisman Trophy race tonight on ESPN's 6:00PM EST edition of SportsCenter. On behalf of The Heisman Trophy Trust, Detmer revealed the gridiron stars in contention for the prestigious 78th Annual Heisman Memorial Trophy are Kansas State University quarterback Collin Klein, Texas A&M University quarterback Johnny Manziel, and University of Notre Dame middle linebacker Manti Te'o.
The three finalists will be invited to New York for the live Heisman Trophy announcement on Saturday, December 8, airing on ESPN at 8:00PM EST, presented by Nissan North America. Each finalist would be accomplishing a notable first as the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner: first from Kansas State, first freshman, or first true defensive player to ever be named the year's outstanding college football player.
Klein would be the first Kansas State Wildcat to win the Heisman Trophy. Klein passed for 2,490 yards and 15 touchdowns and rushed for 890 yards and 22 touchdowns. The senior holds the Football Bowl Subdivision record of the most rushing touchdowns in two seasons, totaling at 49 between 2011 and 2012. Klein ranks second in Kansas State history for scoring with 336 points and third in career yards with 7,028.
Manziel would be the first-ever freshman Heisman Trophy winner. Hailing from Texas A&M, the young quarterback passed for 3,419 yards and 24 touchdowns. He also rushed for 1,181 yards and 19 touchdowns. Manziel is the first quarterback in SEC history, and only the fifth player ever in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, to have 3,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards in the same season. Upon surpassing 4,600 yards, he set a new SEC record for total yards in a season. Manziel holds a Texas A&M record of logging eight straight games with 300 or more total yards.
Te'o would be the first true defensive player to ever win the award, joining seven previous Notre Dame players as a Heisman Trophy winner. This season, Te'o helped lead the Fighting Irish to an undefeated season with 101 tackles, of which 46 were solo tackles to bring down his opponent; he ranks third in Notre Dame history for career tackles at 427. Te'o amassed a school-record of seven interceptions in his third-straight 100+ tackle season.
The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. An electorate comprised of 928 sports journalists and every living former Heisman winner determines the finalists and winner. Included in the electorate is one overall fan vote, an opportunity supported by Nissan North America, Heisman's Premier Partner.
"It has been an especially exciting race this year and we are excited to welcome the three finalists to New York for a remarkable weekend they will not soon forget," said Robert Whalen, Executive Director of The Heisman Trophy Trust. "The Heisman Memorial Trophy is college football's most esteemed award and its past winners make up of some of the world's most elite athletes. We're looking forward to honoring the newest winner this weekend."