Heisman and All-America: How I voted

semerson@macon.comDecember 8, 2012 

ATHENS - My ballot for the Heisman Trophy was filed last Monday, but I waited until the announcement to reveal it here, honoring the request made by the Heisman Trust. Mainly because they were very polite.

I'm truly honored to have a vote. But there are almost a thousand people who have a vote. It's a much, much smaller panel that votes for the Associated Press All-American team, and that may be because it's such an arduous task that people run away screaming when asked to do it.

For some reason, I accepted, but now that I've cast my ballot I'm proud I did too. Finally, there was one more task: The AP player of the year (essentially who you voted first in the Heisman) and coach of the year.

Rather than do individual posts on each of these, which would be a nice way of getting hits but also be kinda tacky, I've helpfully put them all in one post. You're welcome.

So without further ado:

HEISMAN

1. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M: This was pretty easy. I'll be very open that I first had to get over voting for a freshman. But there was some hesitation about voting for Tim Tebow as a sophomore, assuming he'd get one or two more shots, but as it turned out he didn't win another one. Manziel was the best overall player in college football this year. It's that simple.

2. Jarvis Jones, Georgia: Is there some homerism involved in this pick? Well, in the sense that I've seen every game Jones has played this season (and last year), and I know how good he is, then yeah, I guess so. Perhaps if I covered Notre Dame I'd feel the same way about Manti Te'o. But the stats between Jones and Te'o aren't really that close, and covering Jones I know that he played most of the season less than 100 percent, rarely got single-blocked and played two games against triple-option teams, basically negating the ability to get sacks. Since part of the national lovefest with Te'o is his personal story and character, I'll have to admit that Jones' own background and personality have a lot to do with my vote for him.

3. Collin Klein, Kansas StateIf not for that game at Baylor, Klein's team would be facing Notre Dame for the BCS championship and Klein could very well be winning the Heisman. But even accounting for that game, Klein's single-season performance speaks for itself, and one bad game shouldn't have taken him completely out of the running. The distance between Klein and the others I considered here - USC's Marqise Lee and Te'o - wasn't really that close.

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AP All-American team

First team
OFFENSE
QB – Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
RB – Kenjon Barner, Oregon
RB – Montee Ball, Wisconsin
OT – Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
OG – Chance Warmack, Alabama
C – Barrett Jones, Alabama
OG – Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina
OT – Taylor Lewan, Michigan
WR – Marqise Lee, Southern California
WR – Terrance Williams, Baylor
TE – Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington
K – Cairo Santos, Tulane
All-purpose player – Tavon Austin, West Virginia

DEFENSE
DE – Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
DT – Will Sutton, Arizona State
DT – Star Lotutei, Utah
DE – Damontre Moore, Texas A&M
LB – Jarvis Jones, Georgia
LB – Manti Te’o, Notre Dame
LB – Arthur Brown, Kansas State
CB – Dee Milliner, Alabama
S – Phillip Thomas, Fresno State
S – Eric Reid, LSU
CB – Jordan Poyer, Oregon State
P – Ryan Allen, Louisiana Tech
Second team
OFFENSE
QB –Collin Klein, Kansas State
RB – Todd Gurley, Georgia
RB – RB Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona
OT – David Yancey, Stanford
OG - Spencer Long, Nebraska
C – Dalton Freeman, Clemson
OG – Cyril Richardson, Baylor
OT – D.J. Fluker, Alabama
WR – Stedman Bailey, West Virginia
WR – DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson
TE – Zach Ertz, Stanford
K – Caleb Sturgis, Florida
All-purpose player - Ace Sanders, South Carolina

DEFENSE
DE – Bjoern Werner, Florida State
DT – Chris Jones, Bowling Green
DT – Louis Nix, Notre Dame
DE – Quanterus Smith, Western Kentucky
LB – Anthony Barr, UCLA
LB – Michael Mauti, Penn State
LB – C.J. Mosley, Alabama
CB – Jonathan Banks, Mississippi State
S – Matt Elam, LSU
S – Tony Jefferson, Oklahoma
CB – Bradley Roby, Ohio State
P - Quinn Sharp, Oklahoma State

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AP NATIONAL AWARDS

Player of the year
Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M

Coach of the year David Shaw, Stanford

***

Comments on All-American ballot:

- The AP makes it tough for its voters when it comes to the offensive line, making us pick a real team, rather than a center and four linemen, without regard to guard or tackle. But that's probably the way it should be, even if it is a headache.

- There were a lot of good tailbacks, and there are every year. Gurley got the second-team nod over the likes of David Fluellen (Toledo), Joseph Randle (Arizona State), Giovani Bernard (North Carolina) and Stefphon Jefferson (Nevada) because Gurley did it in the nation's best conference.

- Kicker Cairo Santos was a perfect 21-for-21 on field goal attempts, and 12 of those came from 40 or more yards. That vaulted him past Caleb Sturgis on my ballot.

- Quarterback is quite the deep position. If I was filling out a third team, I would have debated between Georgia's Aaron Murray and Northern Illinois' Jordan Lynch. It was a call I didn't have to make, but I probably would have gone with Murray.

- And one comment on national coach of the year: I suspect Penn State's Bill O'Brien is going to win. It was tight between Shaw and O'Brien, and I also thought hard about Kansas State's Bill Snyder. But I went with Shaw, who guided his team to a Rose Bowl berth and top 10 ranking despite not having Andrew Luck anymore. O'Brien did a great job holding Penn State together and somehow cobbling out an eight-win season, but ultimately I had trouble voting for a coach whose team wasn't even on my top 25 ballot.

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