Heisman Watch 2012: Our Ballot After Week 12 Belongs To Johnny Football

Bob Levey

Our latest ballot has the leader extending his lead and two newcomers rounding out the ranks.

1) Johnny Manziel: QB, Texas A&M (Last Week: 1st)

It's starting to look like a freshman may hoist the most cherished individual award in sports. A week after beating the nation's No. 1 ranked team in their place, Johnny Football was at it again, throwing for 267 yards and three touchdowns and running for 100 yards and two more scores. In the 47-28 win over Sam Houston State, Manziel became the first freshman in history to throwing for over 3,000 yards and rush for over 1,000. Simply sensational.

2) Marqise Lee: WR, USC (Last Week: 3rd)

It's rare that a player on a losing team moves up, but Lee is just too damn good. In a losing effort to UCLA, he caught nine more passes for 158 yards and a score. He now has 107 receptions for 1,605 yards and 14 scores. There's not a player in the nation better at his position than Lee.

3) Manti Te'o: LB, Notre Dame (Last Week: 4th)

Te'o had just six tackles in the 38-0 win over Wake Forest, but he continues to prove he's one of the best defensive players in the nation, and he should be able to safely score an invite to New York as a finalist.

4) Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia (Last Week Unranked)

Lost in all the SEC /Alabama talk is the play of Aaron Murray, who's continued excellence has the Dawgs at 10-1 and a spot in the SEC title game as the East division champions. With his 330 yards and four touchdowns in Saturday's dismantling of Georgia Southern, Murray now has 2,986 yards 28 touchdowns and just seven interceptions.

5) Brett Hundley: QB, UCLA (Last Week: Unranked)

His true Heisman contending days lie ahead, but Hundley continues to shine. In leading UCLA's Pac-12 South division title clinching win over USC, Hundley threw for 234 yards and a score and ran for two more touchdowns. He's now accounted for 34 total touchdowns for one of the nation's most surprising teams.

Darkhorse Spotlight: Tavon Austin, West Virginia

Tavon Austin has been one of the nation's best wide receivers this year. He came into Saturday's battle against Oklahoma with 96 catches, 968 yards and 11 touchdowns on the year. So of course, when the team moves him to running back against the Sooners, he runs for 344 yards and two touchdowns while averaging 16.4 yards-per-carry. And he catches four passes for 82 yards. And returns eight kickoffs for 146 yards. Yep, that's 572 all-purpose yards. Amazing.

Another Darkhorse: Tajh Boyd: QB, Clemson

In the 6248 win over North Carolina State, Boyd threw for 426 yards and five touchdowns and ran for 103 yards and three more scores. He has now thrown for 33 touchdowns and run for eight as Clemson is now 10-1.

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