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Home | Sports | College / NCAA |

2012 Maxwell Award finalists announced: An overview of the best players in college football


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Who is up for the 2012 Maxwell Award?

Who is up for the 2012 Maxwell Award?
Photo courtesy AllEars.net (Preston Mack, photographer)

The Maxwell Award, named for Robert W. Maxwell, a Swarthmore College football player before going on to coaching and sportswriting, is presented annually to the nation's best player.

This Award, voted on by a panel of sportscasters, newswriters, NCAA head coaches and the general membership of the Maxwell Football Club, does not have to be the same man who wins the Heisman Trophy, although it is usually a good indicator as to who is going to take home the nation's most prestigious award.

Only two people in the history of college football have won the Maxwell twice: Johnny Lattner, who played for Notre Dame in the early '50s and won the award in both 1952 and 1953 (as well as the Heisman in 1953) and Tim Tebow, who played for the Florida Gators from 2006-2009 and won the award in both 2007 and '08.

There is a new Johnny on the Spot this year.

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Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State Wildcats

Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State Wildcats
Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

After passing for 1,918 yards and rushing for 1,141 more in 2011, Optimus Klein entered the 2012 football season with the burden of heavy expectations and has not disappointed.

The team's hopes of heading to a BCS National Championship may have been busted by the likes of Baylor, but the heart and soul of the Wildcats is the man that led the team on such an amazing undefeated run in the first place.

On the year, Klein's passing numbers have improved dramatically, tossing for 2,306 yards on a 66.7 completion rate (compared to 57.3 in 2011) and he has still run for 787 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Last year, his 1,141 rushing yards came on a 3.6 yard per carry average; in 2012, that average has spiked to 4.6 - at 6-foot-5 and 226 pounds, the big man can both move and win games.

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Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Matt Cashore-US PRESSWIRE

Te'o has lifted the Notre Dame football program back to heights not seen in decades. The Irish are currently ranked No. 1 in the nation and are the lone undefeated team (not including Ohio State) in the country.

In terms of what he has done on the field, he has recorded 96 tackles on the season, before the finale against rival USC. His six interceptions on the season are tied for the second-most in the nation and are a Notre Dame linebacker record.

He has left a lasting mark on one of the nation's most historically spectacular programs.

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Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M Aggies

Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M Aggies
Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE

What more is there to say about Johnny Football that hasn't been written in the short amount of time that Manziel has been playing college football?

Just a redshirt freshman, there are those who would keep this prodigious winner and statistics monster from the podium altogether. However, after breaking seemingly every Texas A&M and national freshman record in the books, such an action on the part of several old fogies would simply be criminal.

Not only is he about to lead A&M to a totally unpredicted 10-win season, but he has become one of just five players in the history of college football to throw for 3,000 yards and rush for another 1,000 in a single season.

We'll take that type of success, at any age.

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