First Heisman win by a true freshman in college football history
CNN — Texas A&M freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel on Saturday won the 2012 Heisman Trophy and made history.
Manziel, whose exploits led to his being dubbed "Johnny Football," is the first freshman to win the Heisman, college football's most prestigious award.
Manziel thanked his teammates, saying "I wish they could be on the stage with me," along with his parents, grandparents and coaches.
He bested a field of finalists that included Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o and Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein.
Manziel amassed 43 touchdowns rushing and passing this year, and his 4,600 yards smashed the Southeastern Conference record for total offense.
But beyond the numbers, what put Manziel on the map was his play in Texas A&M's improbable November win against Alabama, ranked No.1 in the nation at the time.
The Aggies were thought not to have much chance of success in the first season in the SEC, but largely because of Manziel's play, they finished the regular season 10-2 and will be playing Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl on January 4.
In smashing through the underclassman barrier, Manziel achieved a feat that eluded past freshman stars Georgia's Herschel Walker, Virginia Tech's Michael Vick and Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson. Walker (1980) and Vick (1999) both came in third in Heisman voting as freshmen, and Peterson (2004) finished second.
The award is voted on by hundreds of media members and past winners.
Te'o, who was seeking to be the first exclusively defensive player to win the Heisman, finished second in the voting. Klein, who would have been the first Kansas State winner, finished third.