I do not own a Heisman Trophy vote, but if I ever do have the honor of voting for college football’s highest individual honor I am reasonably certain that I will not overreact to a player’s offseason the way one Oregon sports writer has.
Aaron Fentress, who covers Oregon for The Oregonian, feels 2012 Heisman Trophy winner and Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel is the new textbook example of why a freshman or frosh should never win the Heisman Trophy. Why?
Johnny Manziel demonstrating why frosh shouldn’t win Heisman, especially those not allowed to conduct interviews. Simply can’t handle it.
— Aaron J. Fentress (@AaronJFentress) July 15, 2013
Oh. Fentress is reacting to the latest Manziel news that reported the Aggies QB was asked to leave the prestigious Manning Passing Academy. We covered this story over on Crystal Ball Run but it was Rumors & Rants that was first to report the development. If you are unfamiliar with the details, I encourage you to check out each of those links for more on the story.
This seems as good a time as any to refer back to the often referenced Heisman Trust mission statement, which opens with;
The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work.
Fentress may be referring to the portion that is often left to interpretation by many who hold a Heisman vote that mentions “integrity.” This is the part where voters often hold their ballot in high regard through their own eyes and will try to outsmart themselves at times. Sure, Manziel has been in some unflattering situations at times but as far as the game of college football is concerned, in my book, Manziel has done nothing to tarnish any thought of integrity.
To the best of my knowledge at this point, Manziel has not cheated or violated any NCAA or school rules. Yes, he has had a run-in with the law but he has paid his dues and battled back to perform admirably.
There’s something else I can’t help but think after reading the above tweet that has sparked this post. Fentress is saying a frosh should never win the Heisman Trophy because they just cannot handle the attention. Funny. Tim Tebow (sophomore in 2007) and Sam Bradford (sophomore in 2008) each won the Heisman Trophy with as many college years behind them as Manziel.
Last I checked, those guys turned out just fine.