Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, right, joins second-leading receiver Ryan Swope in the celebration after the regular-season finale Saturday, a 59-29 win against Missouri.(Photo: Dave Einsel, AP)

Story Highlights

  • Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o remains second, 16 points behind

12:19PM EST November 26. 2012 – While it’s true that no freshman has ever won the Heisman Trophy, it’s also arguable that the game has never seen a freshman quite like the guy who has the nickname “Johnny Football.”

With official ballots due in a week, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel has taken the lead in the USA TODAY Sports Media Group survey of its 37 Heisman electors. The dual-threat quarterback burst into the discussion by leading the Aggies to victory at then-No.1 Alabama, and he’s continued to post lofty numbers that have been impossible to ignore.

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
22 9 6 90
2 Manti Te’o, Notre Dame 103 tackles, 7 interceptions 13 16 3 74
Collin Klein, Kansas State 2,306 passing yards, 14 TDs;
787 rushing yards, 20 TDs
2 7 12 32
4 Braxton Miller, Ohio State 2,039 passing yards, 15 TDs
1,271 rushing yards, 13 TDs
4 9 17
5 Marqise Lee, Southern Cal 1,680 receiving yards, 14 TDs 4 4
6 Jordan Lynch, No. Illinois 2,750 passing yards, 23 TDs
1,611 rushing yards, 16 TDs
1 2
Other votes: Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona 1; AJ McCarron, Alabama, 1; Geno Smith, West Virginia, 1.

He made a strong closing statement Saturday against Missouri, throwing for 372 yards and three scores and running for two more touchdowns. Overall, he has accounted for 43 TDs this season, 24 by air and 19 by land, and generated an SEC-record 4,600 yards of total offense. He was named first by 22 voters and appeared on all 37 ballots, accumulating 90 points.

Notre Dame senior linebacker Manti Te’o is second with 74 points and 13 first-place votes. He snared his seventh interception Saturday at Southern California while helping the top-ranked Fighting Irish wrap up a 12-0 regular season.

Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein is in third place in this week’s survey with 32 overall points and the remaining two firsts. But unlike the contenders ahead of him, the Wildcats’ signal-caller has one more chance to make an impression on voters before the ballots must be cast. K-State hosts Texas on Saturday with a chance to finish 11-1 with an outright Big 12 title.

Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller checks in fourth with 17 points after writing the final chapter in the Buckeyes’ 12-0 season. But directing the win vs. archrival Michigan will have to be his final argument. OSU is under NCAA sanctions, ineligible for the postseason, including the Big Ten and BCS title games.