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Notre Dame's Te'o eyes Heisman after Maxwell win

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 7, 2012 at 3:23 am •  Published: December 7, 2012
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Other players honored Thursday were Southern California's Marqise Lee (Biletnikoff Award for top receiver), Tulane's Cairo Santos (Lou Groza Award for top kicker), Louisiana Tech's Ryan Allen (Ray Guy Award for top punter), Mississippi State's Johnthan Banks (Jim Thorpe Award for top defensive back), and Wisconsin's Montee Ball (Doak Walker Award for top running back).

Manziel acknowledged he will be nervous Saturday knowing he has a chance to win college football's most hallowed individual honor. Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein is the third finalist for the Heisman Trophy.

Three sophomores have won the Heisman, including Tim Tebow in 2007, Sam Bradford in 2008 and Mark Ingram in 2009. The best a first-year player has ever done is second.

"I had high expectations, but I never would have expected this for myself," said Manziel, a redshirt freshman. "I'll be with two of the best players in the country, all eyes are on you. It's the biggest award in college football. I think you're gonna have a few butterflies."

Joeckel said even he has been amazed at watching "Johnny Football" and his exploits this season.

"It's hard to protect for someone when nobody knows where he is," Joeckel said. "He's a fun guy to block for."

Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said that type of level-headed poise is what has defined his quarterback all season.

"The way he plays, no moment has been too big for him," Sumlin said.

In one of the non-competition awards presented Thursday, Texas long snapper Nate Boyer was honored with the Disney Spirit Award, given annually to the most inspirational figure or team.

Boyer, a 32-year-old sophomore, earned a Bronze Star for his service with the U.S. Army Special Forces Unit and has also provided assistance to autistic children and Darfur refugees.

Former Notre Dame coach Ara Parseghian was honored with the Contribution to College Football Award for his works off the field.

Kelly said the former coach is every bit as revered as he was in his prime leading the Irish.

"He walks with a limp, but let me tell you, he could still coach today. And he can tell me things about my football team." Kelly said.

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Follow Kyle Hightower on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/khightower .