The Oklahoman's Heisman Trophy ballots

All four voters for The Oklahoman voted for Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o.
by Jenni Carlson and Michael Baldwin and John Helsley and Jason Kersey Published: December 3, 2012
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photo - REACTION: Notre Dame 's Manti Te'o (5) reacts after making an interception on a pass for OU's Jalen Saunders (18) during the college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at the Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012, in Norman, Okla. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
REACTION: Notre Dame 's Manti Te'o (5) reacts after making an interception on a pass for OU's Jalen Saunders (18) during the college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at the Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012, in Norman, Okla. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

NOT ON MY BALLOT

Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon; Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State.

Barner was the first one off my ballot. Even though he is a stat machine, he is one of many at Oregon. The Ducks would still be really good without him.

JOHN HELSLEY, OSU BEAT WRITER

1. LB Manti Te'o, Notre Dame: The heart and soul — and dominant force — on a defense that carried the Irish to the No. 1 ranking and a berth in the BCS Championship. For a defender, he's got the stats, too, as well as a signature Heisman-moment signature stamp from every big game.

2. QB Collin Klein, Kansas State: He is to the Wildcats, emotionally and productively, what Te'o is to the Irish. Some downgraded him after K-State's loss at Baylor, but his overall body of work is outstanding this season, with big wins and big moments on a team nobody pegged for the Top 5.

3. QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M: The kid brought excitement and success to the Aggies in their debut season in the SEC, as a premier playmaker who showed maturity beyond his years. A popular favorite, I couldn't vote him No. 1 and overlook his slowdowns in the team's two losses.

NOT ON MY BALLOT

Marqise Lee, WR, USC; Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia; RB Kenjon Barner, Oregon.

Lee's team didn't live up to advance billing, but he exceeded it, hauling in 112 receptions for 1,680 yards and 14 TDs. Austin made you hold your breath almost every time he touched the ball. Barner outshined teammate DeAnthony Thomas, rushing for 1,624 yards and 21 scores — in a timeshare.

JASON KERSEY, OU BEAT WRITER

1. Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame: I've seen few defensive players single-handedly impact a game the way Te'o did Oct. 27 in Norman. He was everywhere, and his diving interception that sealed the Irish's biggest win of the season sure felt like a Heisman moment. Te'o isn't flashy, nor does he have a catchy nickname, but he is the undoubtedly college football's most outstanding player.

2. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State: Klein carried Kansas State to some great wins this season, while also elevating the program to new heights. KSU would've never sniffed the No. 1 ranking or Big 12 title without Klein. It takes a special player to affect his team like that.

3. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M: Manziel is the most exciting player in the game, and will almost certainly win a Heisman before his career is over. But not this year. Manziel was amazing against Alabama, but racked up the rest of his numbers against weak opponents. I also couldn't overlook his poor play in A&M's home losses to LSU and Florida.

NOT ON MY BALLOT

Marqise Lee, WR, USC; Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State; Tavon Austin, RB/WR, West Virginia.

Lee is one of the most under-the-radar superstars in the game. He'll be among the favorites next season. ... Miller was impressive and efficient in leading Ohio State to an unbeaten record. ... Austin's effort vs. Oklahoma was the greatest single-game, individual performance I've ever witnessed.

by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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by Michael Baldwin
Reporter
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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