Manziel finalist for Maxwell Award


Sam Houston St Texas _Hick
Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel (2) watches from the bench during the third quarter of an NCAA college football game against Sam Houston State, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012, in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/Dave Einsel)

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein, and Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o are the finalists for the Maxwell Award, which goes to the nation’s top college football player.

The finalists for the Maxwell and several other awards to be presented Dec. 6 in Orlando, Fla., on ESPN were announced Tuesday.

Manziel, a redshirt freshman whose parents Paul and Michelle attended Robert E. Lee High School, Klein and Ohio State’s Braxton Miller the finalists for the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award.

The Aggies have won four straight behind the strong play of quarterback Manziel, also a Heisman Trophy hopeful.

Manziel’s grandparents are Tyler residents.

His chances to become the first freshman to win the Heisman likely improved after a three-interception performance by Collin Klein in Kansas State’s loss to Baylor on Saturday night.

Manziel accounted for five touchdowns in just over a half of a 47-28 win over Sam Houston State on Saturday. He is second in the nation in total offense with more than 378 yards a game, and the 20.73 points a game he’s responsible for are tied for third in the country.

Manziel broke the NCAA freshman quarterback rushing record of 1,029 yards set by Missouri’s Brad Smith in 2002, and the freshman record for total offense of 3,827 yards set in 2000 by Jared Lorenzen on A&M’s first drive Saturday.

He is the fifth player and first freshman in FBS history to pass for at least 3,000 yards with at least 1,000 yards rushing in a season, and his 4,161 yards are a school record for total offense in a season.

Te’o is also a finalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award, given to the top defensive player in the country. South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones are the other finalists.

Finalists for other awards:

Biletnikoff Award (top receiver): Stedman Bailey, West Virginia; Marqise Lee, Southern California; Terrance Williams, Baylor.

Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award: Dustin Hopkins, Florida State; Cairo Santos, Tulane; Caleb Sturgis, Florida.

Ray Guy Award (top punter): Ryan Allen, Louisiana Tech; Kyle Christy, Florida; Scott Kovanda, Ball State.

Outland Trophy Interior Lineman: Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina; Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M; Barrett Jones, Alabama.

Jim Thorpe Award (top defensive back): Johnathan Banks, Mississippi State; Dee Milliner, Alabama; Phillip Thomas, Fresno State.

Doak Walker Award (top running back): Montee Ball, Wisconsin; Kenjon Barner, Oregon; Johnathan Franklin, UCLA.

John Mackey Award (top tight end): Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame; Zach Ertz, Stanford; Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington.

Also, Texas A&M freshman linebacker Michael Richardson has been released from the hospital after surgery for a cervical spine injury that occurred against Sam Houston State on Saturday.

Richardson had five tackles in the second half on Saturday. He complained of pain in his neck after the game and he was taken to the hospital that night. Surgery was performed on Sunday and he was released from the hospital Monday.

Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin says: “We are so thankful Michael came through surgery in good shape and our focus, thoughts and prayers are just on his healing and recovery.”