- Edward Aschoff, ESPN Staff Writer
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Now that we are entering the last legs of the Heisman Trophy race, Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin is firmly backing his guy.
And why not? Johnny Manziel has been on fire during his first year of college ball. The redshirt freshman quarterback has become the new true Heisman frontrunner after another successful weekend in which he threw for 267 yards and rushed for another 100 with five total touchdowns against Sam Houston State.
Forget the opponent and look at his body of work: Manziel is the first SEC player, first freshman and fifth NCAA FBS player to pass for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in a season. He also has 38 total touchdowns.
Saturday was his eighth straight game with 300 or more total yards of offense and he has broken the school record for total offense in a season (4,161 yards).
"You can put those numbers up against anybody that's not only played this year [but] who's ever played the game," Sumlin said Wednesday. "For a single season, they speak for themselves."
Just put them up against past SEC Heisman winners Cam Newton and Tim Tebow and it's easy to see why Manziel is getting so much of his deserved Heisman love.
Manziel has been arguably the nation's most exciting player to watch this year, but he has not been made available to the media. Per school rules, first-year players aren't allowed to speak to the media.
Well, that's all about to change. Sumlin said on Wednesday that he will finally let Johnny Football speak before the Heisman ceremony on Dec. 8.
"We'll have a plan for him to be available next week," Sumlin said.
While Sumlin is happy with the Heisman attention Manziel has received, he's disappointed that another player on his team hasn't received much notoriety nationally at all.
Defensive end Damontre Moore has been one of the most overlooked players on defense this year. He leads A&M with 78 tackles and is tied for first nationally in tackles for loss (20) and sacks (12.5).
He has totally dominated opposing linemen this year, after moving from outside linebacker to defensive end. Yet, he isn't up for any national defensive awards, which shocks his head coach.
"I was extremely surprised that he's not been on any of those lists," Sumlin said.
"I'm very surprised by that, based on his numbers too."