The player picked as the best in college football last season is only a second-team choice in his own conference this year, according to a vote of rival coaches.
Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M, who won the Heisman Trophy in 2012, was named the second-team quarterback on the preseason Southeastern Conference squads announced today, behind the University of Georgia’s Aaron Murray.
Manziel is under investigation by the National Collegiate Athletic Association over allegations that he violated rules by accepting payments for autographs, according to ESPN. Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin hasn’t said if Manziel will be the team’s starting quarterback for its Aug. 31 season-opening game against Rice University.
Manziel led the SEC with 1,410 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns as a freshman last season, while also passing for 3,706 yards. He’s the first NCAA player with more than 5,000 total yards and 1,000 rushing yards in a season.
Murray, a senior, threw for a Georgia-record 3,893 yards and 36 touchdowns last season, becoming the first in the SEC to throw for at least 3,000 yards in three straight seasons.
A.J. McCarron, who led Alabama to last year’s national championship, was selected as the conference’s third-team quarterback. Alabama had 16 players named to preseason all-star teams, including a league-high five first-team selections.
Louisiana State University and Georgia both had eight players recognized, while Florida and Tennessee had seven.
The Heisman Trophy, whose voters include media and past winners, is awarded annually to recognize college football’s best player, with Manziel the first freshman winner. The SEC coaches pick the annual preseason all-conference teams and can’t vote for players on their own squad. Vote totals weren’t disclosed in a statement on the conference website.