2013 Heisman Watch: Johnny Manziel, Manti Te’o nearly tied in latest survey

The Heisman Trophy is presented annually to the student-athlete considered the most valuable to their team, as well as one who put up spectacular individual statistics in a single season.

Saturday, December 8, is looking more and more like a historic night.

The 2012 Heisman Ceremony, taking place in New York City, may just feature either a freshman or a defensive player headlining the evening.

[Heisman Trophy Watch List from a fan’s perspective, final rankings]

In fact, according to the final survey of USA TODAY Sports Media Group members, not only will the voting come down to redshirt freshman Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M and linebacker Manti Te’o of Notre Dame, but the margin of victory either way will be extremely thin.

As in, the two are in a dead heat. Behind them are such college football mainstays as Collin Klein and Montee Ball. Check out how the voting breaks down here.

Rank Player 2012 statistics 1st 2nd 3rd Total
1 Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M 3,419 passing yards, 24 TDs;
1,181 rushing yards, 19 TDs
19 11 6 85
2 Manti Te’o, Notre Dame 103 tackles, 7 interceptions 17 15 3 84
Collin Klein, Kansas State 2,490 passing yards, 15 TDs;
890 rushing yards, 22 TDs
1 8 17 36
4 Braxton Miller, Ohio State 2,039 passing yards, 15 TDs
1,271 rushing yards, 13 TDs
2 4 8
5 Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois 2,962 passing yards, 24 TDs
1,771 rushing yards, 19 TDs
1 1 3
6 Montee Ball, Wisconsin 1,730 rushing yards, 21 TDs 2 2
Marqise Lee, USC 1,680 receiving yards, 14 TDs 2 2
8 Ka’Deem Casey, Arizona 1,757 rushing yards, 20 TDs 1 1
AJ McCarron, Alabama 2669 passing yards, 26 TDs 1 1

Manziel did garner two more first-place votes than did Te’o, but the winner is chosen on a points system, so second- and third-place votes will play a massive role in the overall tabulations.

Thus, the big advantage Te’o enjoys in second-place votes right now may prove to be the difference on Saturday night.

Kansas State’s Collin Klein remained in the discussion with the Wildcats solid win over Texas to move to 11-1, but their blowout loss to Baylor weakened his chances. Braxton Miller is only a sophomore and his numbers are not at all comparable to those of Johnny Football; congrats on the 12-0 season, however. Lynch, Ball, Lee and Casey have all set records at their respective positions, while McCarron leads the nation in passer efficiency and has led the Crimson Tide to back-to-back BCS National Championship berths.

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