HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The nominations for college football's most prestigious individual award are out, and as expected, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, is on the short list.
The winner will be announced Saturday in New York City. If the Punahou graduate takes home the trophy, he will be only the second defensive player ever to win the award.
The other two nominees for the 2012 Heisman are:
- Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M Quarterback
- Collin Klein, Kansas State Quarterback
Manziel is the favorite to win college football's most famous player of the award. He would be the first freshman to win the Heisman and the first Texas A&M player since halfback John David Crow won the school's only Heisman in 1957.
Te'o is trying to become the eighth player from Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish have had seven Heisman winners, tied for the most, but none since Tim Brown in 1987.
Klein would be the first player from Kansas State to win the Heisman.
Te'o is the first Hawai'i born and raised player to be invited to New York as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy.
Following the nomination, Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie issued this statement:
"I want to congratulate Manti Te'o for the dual honor of receiving the Butkus Award and being named a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. The mission of the Heisman Trophy is to recognize outstanding college football players who exhibit excellence with integrity. Manti epitomizes great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work.
"Manti is the heart and soul of an undefeated Notre Dame team. He's an inspiration to all the people of Hawai'i, particularly to our youth as they dream and strive for excellence.
"I agree with his coach, Brian Kelly, who said that if Manti doesn't win the Heisman, just cut to the chase and give all future awards to the offensive player of the year. Manti is a superb athlete and role model who has generated tremendous pride throughout our state and country. He is deserving of the Heisman."
Be sure to stay with Hawaii News Now as we follow Te'o's quest for the Heisman. Steve Uyehara and Mike Cherry will travel to New York City and bring you live reports from Times Square starting Thursday.
Related story: Manti Te'o Wins 28th Collegiate Butkus Award