The Heisman Trust announced on Monday that the following players will be attending the 2012 Heisman ceremony as finalists:
Texas A&M freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel
Notre Dame senior linebacker Manti Te’o
Kansas State senior quarterback Collin Klein
The ceremony takes place at the Best Buy Theater in New York’s Times Square on Dec. 8.
– It’s the first time the Heisman ceremony has consisted of just three finalists since 2008, when Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy and Tim Tebow attended.
– Manziel is attempting to become the first freshman in history to win the Heisman. He could also join John David Crow (1957) as the only Aggie player to win the trophy. The last Texas A&M player to place in the top 10 of the vote was Bucky Richardson, who finished 10th in 1991.
– Te’o is the first Notre Dame player to be invited to the Heisman ceremony since Brady Quinn went in 2006. He’s trying to become the first pure defender to win the award. The highest finish by a pure defender came in 1980 when Pittsburgh defensive end Hugh Green placed second. The last Notre Dame defender to finish in the top 10 of the Heisman vote was Ross Browner, who was fifth in 1977.
– Klein is just the second Kansas State player to make it to New York as a finalist, joining Michael Bishop, who placed second in 1998. Darren Sproles was fifth in 2003, but you have to go all the way back to Lynn Dickey — 10th in 1970 — to find the next most recent Wildcat who placed in the vote.
– This is the first time since 2007 that two Heisman finalists won’t be facing off in the BCS national title game.
– I’m not surprised there are just three finalists this year. After these three, there really wasn’t a lot of consensus on who deserved to go to New York. There is likely a large gap in the point total between the third finalist and whoever placed fourth, and that’s why we didn’t get a fourth finalist.