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    After The Heisman: A Historical Look

    By: Eric SanInocencio
    Twitter: @EricSan
    SEC Digital Network

    Birmingham, Ala. -- When Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel was awarded the Heisman Trophy a few weeks back, he joined an elite fraternity. He became the first-ever freshman to win the award, ending a 77-year drought for first year players. He also joined a pair of former Southeastern Conference greats, players who went on to compete in the SEC well after their name was called in New York City.

    For Manziel and those select few, winning the Heisman didn't signify the end of the journey. There are many games ahead in the career of Johnny "Football", and in the coming seasons we will continue to watch the evolution and growth of his talent. With that in mind, I looked for Manziel's contemporaries, in hopes that history can share insight on the A&M signal caller's future.

    In SEC history, only two other players have won the Heisman and returned to the collegiate level to play additional seasons. Georgia's Herschel Walker (1982) and Auburn's Cam Newton (2010) won the trophy as underclassmen, but went on to pursue professional careers the year they won.

    The two returnees are fairly recent, as Florida quarterback Tim Tebow and Alabama running back Mark Ingram both captured honors in the past five years. The pair went on to play three more college seasons combined after their Heisman victories, providing a blueprint for life after the Heisman in the SEC.

    Tim Tebow, Florida (2008-09)
    Tebow had arguably one of the greatest college careers we've ever seen, putting together an impressive collection of accolades and honors during his four years in Gainesville. The much-hyped high school prospect delivered in a big way on campus, winning the 2007 Heisman Trophy as a sophomore.

    Tebow's career lasted two full seasons after his national recognition; as he went on to lead his Gator teams to 26 more wins. In the year immediately following his Heisman Trophy victory, Tebow authored Florida to a 13-1 record and a BCS National Championship. After losing to Ole Miss early in the season, Tebow delivered his famous "speech" (now immortalized at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium) as the Gators went on to reel off 10 straight, including a 24-14 win over Oklahoma in the BCS Title Game.

    For his impressive play during the year he was awarded both the Manning and Maxwell Awards, while also being named SEC Offensive Player of the Year. He finished third in the Heisman balloting, falling 150 votes shy of winning in back-to-back seasons.

    His senior year featured more of the same. Florida once again finished 13-1, defeating Cincinnati in the Sugar Bowl. Tebow was again a Heisman finalist, finishing fifth to Ingram. He was named second team All-American by the Associated Press, and was inducted into the University of Florida Hall of Fame. Tebow's final year put a cap on his miraculous career in Gainesville, one that signified greatness after being named the nation's top player. 

    Mark Ingram (2010)
    Ingram's Heisman win was very historic, both personally and for the University of Alabama. After setting a school record by rushing for 1,658 yards in his sophomore season, Ingram became the Crimson Tide's first-ever Heisman winner. Ingram is also the youngest ever to win the award, being honored nine days before his 20th birthday (Manziel was 20 when he won). He pulled off the rare double duty of winning a National Championship and a Heisman Trophy in the same year, a feat not accomplished by a running back since Tony Dorsett in 1976.

    The talented back from Flint, Michigan returned to Tuscaloosa for his junior season, but was never at full strength. He appeared in just 11 of the Tide's 13 games, gaining "only" 875 yards on the ground. He also shared carries with then freshman sensation Trent Richardson, who went on to become a Heisman finalist in 2011. He did finish his career with 46 total touchdowns, placing him third all-time at Alabama. Ingram went on to be selected in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints.

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    As a quarterback in college football today, attempting to predict Manziel's future is no easy task. The landscape has changed, with offensive numbers on the rise and historic records falling every season. Manziel faces differences that neither Ingram nor Tebow had to contend with. Today the SEC is a 14-team league, featuring six of the top 10 teams in the final 2012 BCS Standings.

    The SEC's Western Division is stacked, and has five bowl-eligible teams and three squads (including Texas A&M) that are in the top 10. Even the two teams not bowling, Auburn and Arkansas, have won 10 games in a season as recently as 2010, with the Tigers winning a National Title that very season. Johnny Football will also welcome in a new offensive coordinator next year, with former coach Kliff Kingsbury having taken the head job at Texas Tech.

    How have quarterbacks fared in Manziel's situation? A further examination of Heisman Trophy winning signal callers and their stats in comparison to the years they won shows a trend most Aggie would be happy with. See the chart below.

    Sam Bradford (Oklahoma) -- 2008 Heisman Trophy Winner
     

    Season Passing Yards Touchdowns Interceptions Completion Percentage Heisman Finish
    2008 4720 50 8 67.9 1st
    2009 562 2 0 56.5 N/A


    Tim Tebow (Florida) -- 2007 Heisman Trophy Winner
     

    Season Passing Yards Touchdowns Interceptions Completion Percentage Heisman Finish
    2007 3286 32 6 66.9 1st
    2008 2746 30 4 64.4 3rd
    2009 2895 21 5 67.8 5th


    Matt Leinart (Southern California) -- 2004 Heisman Trophy Winner
     

    Season Passing Yards Touchdowns Interceptions Completion Percentage Heisman Finish
    2004 3322 33 6 65.3 1st
    2005 3815 28 8 65.7 3rd


    Jason White (Oklahoma) -- 2003 Heisman Trophy Winner
     

    Season Passing Yards Touchdowns Interceptions Completion Percentage Heisman Finish
    2003 3846 40 10 61.6 1st
    2004 3205 35 9 65.4 3rd


    Ty Detmer (BYU) -- 1990 Heisman Trophy Winner
     

    Season Passing Yards Touchdowns Interceptions Completion Percentage Heisman Finish
    1990 5188 41 28 64.2 1st
    1991 4031 35 12 61.8 3rd


    Roger Staubach (Navy) -- 1963 Heisman Trophy Winner
     

    Season Passing Yards Touchdowns Interceptions Completion Percentage Heisman Finish
    1963 1474 7 6 66.5 1st
    1964 1131 4 10 58.3 N/A


    Of the six underclassmen quarterbacks to win the Heisman Trophy, four made their way back to New York in the following seasons (67 percent). Only Sam Bradford, who was severely injured at the start of his senior season, and Roger Staubach did not finish in the top five again.

    Ironically, the four signal callers that did become return finalists all finished third, a feat most in College Station would be happy for Manziel achieve. In the case of Ty Detmer, Jason White and Tebow, you can make the argument that although their raw numbers were down after their Heisman years, they became more efficient quarterbacks. Tebow, White and Detmer all lowered their interceptions totals in the following seasons, while Matt Leinart's completion percentage went up as a senior.

    It would be unfair to expect Manziel to win again, or even suggest that he needs another Heisman run to validate 2012. The numbers just don't add up. Only one player, Ohio State's Archie Griffin, has ever won the award twice, being named in 1974 and 1975.

    No matter what follows in the career of Johnny Football going forward, no one can take away his accomplishments this year. The native of Kerrville, Texas made history, and that can never be debated.

    As for where he goes from here, it is anybody's guess. However, if the past is any indicator, don't be surprised if Manziel makes another trip to New York before he retires his Aggie jersey.