Joeckel, Manziel Named National Award Finalists

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The Texas A&M football team’s successful first season in the Southeastern Conference has paid dividends with a pair of Aggies being named finalists for national awards on Monday.

Junior offensive tackle Luke Joeckel was named finalist for the Outland Trophy, which is given annually to the nation’s top interior lineman. Redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel was named finalist for the Maxwell Award and the Davey O’Brien Award. The Maxwell Award is for the Collegiate Player of the Year, while the O’Brien Award is given to the nation’s best college quarterback.

Joeckel, from Arlington, Texas, has helped clear the way for one of the most prolific offensive attacks in college football. The Aggies lead the Southeastern Conference in rushing offense, scoring offense and total offense, and are one of just three teams nationally to rank in the top 20 nationally in the four major offensive statistical categories.

One of the main beneficiaries of Joeckel and his stellar offensive line teammates is Manziel, who has established himself as one of college football’s most productive players. Manziel, from Kerrville, Texas, became the first SEC player, first freshman and fifth NCAA FBS player to pass for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in a single season, and did it in just 11 games, which is the fastest in history.

Manziel has already broken the school record for total offense in a season with 4,161 yards and needs only 167 yards to break 2010 Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton’s SEC record for total offense. He is Texas A&M’s only 1,000-yard QB rusher, and his 1,114 yards rank second in SEC history only to Newton’s 1,473 among quarterbacks.

Manziel has passed for 300 yards and rushed for 100 yards in three games this season, which had never been done in a season or a career by an NCAA FBS player. He’s also produced two rushing touchdowns and two passing touchdowns in five games in 2012, which is the most since Florida’s Tim Tebow did it six times during his Heisman Trophy winning season in 2007.

The winners of the Outland Trophy, Maxwell Award and Davey O’Brien Award will be revealed on ESPN during The Home Depot College Football Awards airing live from the Atlantic Dance Hall at Disney’s BoardWalk at the Walt Disney World Resort on Thursday, Dec. 6 at 6:30 p.m. CT.

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