For years, the Heisman Trophy — the most recognizable individual award in college sports — seemed reserved for upperclassmen.
In 2007, Florida quarterback Tim Tebow broke through and became the first sophomore to win the Heisman. On this day 10 years ago, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel became the first freshman to win the honor.
On Dec. 8, 2012, Manziel took home the hardware in New York City. The Texas A&M quarterback received more than half (474) of the first-place votes to top Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o and Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein.
As a redshirt freshman in 2012, Manziel dazzled for the Aggies. Manziel passed for more than 3,700 yards and 26 touchdowns while adding more than 1,400 yards rushing and 21 scores.
Under first-year head coach Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M would finish 11-2 and No. 5 in the country, following a 41-13 rout of Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl. Among those 11 victories was a 29-24 upset of then No. 1 and eventual national champion Alabama.
The following year, Florida State’s Jameis Winston would claim the Heisman Trophy as a freshman, becoming the youngest player to win the award. It was first accomplished by Manziel on this day a decade ago.
Mike Ferguson is the managing editor for Fifth Quarter. Be sure to follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeWFerguson. Follow all of Mike’s work by liking his Facebook page.