I wasn’t surprised when Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel made history by becoming the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy. Based on his performance on the field he deserved the award and I also wasn’t surprised by his large margin of victory.
When a quarterback has a season like Manziel did in a major conference and the team wins a lot of games, it is difficult for a player at another position to finish ahead of him in the Heisman voting. That is something that makes sense to me.
The value of a player who handles the football on every snap should not be underestimated. What that player does to help his team win, or prevent his team from winning, is normally the most important factor in a college football team’s success.
When Tim Tebow came into the Southeastern Conference at Florida I thought he had more impact on games than any player I had ever seen in the league and that is saying a lot. I coached Bo Jackson and our team played against Georgia’s star running back, Herschel Walker. Those are two of the greatest talents to ever play the game. Both of those backs won the Heisman Trophy and certainly deserved the honor, but I can’t say they had more impact on their team winning and losing a game than a quarterback does.
Not soon after Tebow left the SEC I saw another quarterback who impressed me even more than the Gator star. My take on Cam Newton is that the Auburn star and Heisman winner was the most dominating player I have ever seen in the college game.
The fact that Manziel came along this year as a redshirt freshman and broke records set by Newton is truly impressive. I am not ready to say Johnny Football is as good as Cam, but his emergence is a great story for college football.
Without a doubt Manziel has the “it” factor that previous Heisman winners like Bo, Herschel, Tebow and others displayed for their teams so it should be fun to see what he does for an encore.
From the Mailbag:
Dear Coach Dye:
I really enjoyed your column about Bo Jackson, who is my all-time favorite player. Anything you write about Bo, I will read.
I am glad you liked the column. There are so many great Bo stories I should be able to write about a couple more without exhausting the supply.
(If you have a question or a subject you would like me to write about in future columns, you can email it to PatDye@autigers.com.)
Editor’s Note: This is part of a series of columns that College Football Hall of Fame member Pat Dye is writing for AUTigers.com about the game he played and coached. An All-American player at Georgia and one of the top head coaches in SEC history at Auburn, he also served as a head coach at East Carolina and Wyoming. Dye writes three columns for AUTigers.com--The Dye-Log, the Dye-Gest and Pat’s Picks.
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