From Comcast SportsNetNEW YORK (AP) -- Johnny Manziel and Manti Te'o are in position to make Heisman Trophy history.Manziel, the redshirt freshman quarterback from Texas A&M, and Te'o, Notre Dame's star linebacker, along with Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein, were invited Monday to attend the Heisman presentation ceremony.Manziel is the favorite to win college football's most famous player of the year award on Saturday night in Manhattan. 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."I'm overwhelmed by this tremendous honor of representing Texas A&M, the 12th Man and all my teammates in New York," Manziel said in a statement. "This is a dream come true for me, and I know it's a credit to all my coaches and teammates. I definitely wouldn't be a Heisman finalist without my teammates and coaches."Three sophomores have won the award (Tim Tebow in 2007, Sam Bradford in 2008 and Mark Ingram in 2009), but the best a first-year player has ever done is second.Adrian Peterson of Oklahoma finished second to Southern California quarterback Matt Leinart in 2004. Peterson was a true freshman. As a redshirt freshman, Manziel attended A&M last year and practiced with the team but did not play.Michael Vick of Virginia Tech came in third in 1999 as a redshirt freshman and Herschel Walker was a true freshman for Georgia in 1980 when he finished third in the Heisman balloting.Nicknamed Johnny Football, Manziel quickly became a national sensation this season, putting up huge numbers in first-year Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin's spread offense. He led the 10th-ranked Aggies to a 10-2 record in their first season in the Southeastern Conference.With a knack for improvisation, Manziel racked up an SEC-record 4,600 yards of total offense, including 1,181 rushing to lead the conference. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Manziel zoomed to the front of the Heisman race on Nov. 10, when he passed for 253 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 92 yards as the Aggies upset then-No. 1 Alabama 29-24 in Tuscaloosa.Manziel and Texas A&M will play No. 12 Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl.Te'o is trying to become the first defense-only player to win the Heisman. The Fighting Irish have seven Heisman winners, tied for the most with Ohio State and Southern California, but none since Tim Brown in 1987.Te'o became the face of the No. 1 team in the country and leader of a defense that has been the toughest to score upon in the nation. The senior intercepted seven passes, second-most in the country and tops for a linebacker. He also led the Fighting Irish with 103 tackles, and earlier Monday won the Butkus Award as country's best linebacker.Te'o and the Irish face No. 2 Alabama in the BCS championship game on Jan. 7 in Miami.Klein would be the first player from Kansas State to win the Heisman."I'm just honored with this opportunity that the Lord has provided me here at K-State," Klein said in a statement. "I'm so proud to represent K-State in this because I feel like my road is very synonymous and in line with the K-State way. It has been a process, it has been a journey. There have been a lot of ups and downs, as well as a lot of hard times and growing pains through it. I'm just very proud to represent the K-State family and our heart and spirit in this environment."He seemed to be the front-runner for several weeks until Manziel's late push. When Klein threw three interceptions in the Wildcats' late-season loss to Baylor, Manziel moved to the front of the race.Klein is a multitalented quarterback like Manziel, but with a different approach. The 6-5, 226-pound senior is a bullish runner who scored 22 touchdowns and threw for 15 more, while leading the seventh-ranked Wildcats (11-1) to the Big 12 title. Earlier in the day, Klein won the Johnny Unitas Award given to the top upperclassman quarterback in the nation.Klein will finish his Kansas State career against No. 5 Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl.
Between the Warriors' two All-Star starters Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, the team has been putting impressive highlights on tape every game.
Curry, making his fourth consecutive All-Star start, is averaging 24.6 points, 6.1 assists and 33.6 minutes. Durant, attending his eighth All-Star Game, is averaging 26.2 points and 8.6 rebounds on 34.4 minutes per game and a career-best .544 field-goal percentage.
Take a look at the Top 10 plays of the season so far from both Curry and Durant...
Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, the presumptive coach of the 49ers, promised 100-percent focus on his current job.
Shanahan confirmed Thursday he expects to meet with 49ers executives Jed York and Paraag Marathe for a second time after the Falcons’ NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.
Shanahan interviewed with the 49ers on Jan. 5 in Atlanta. He is the last remaining available candidate among the six coach candidates with whom the 49ers met after firing Chip Kelly. The 49ers announced the firings of Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke after the team concluded a 2-14 season.
Shanahan met with the media three days before the conference championship wearing a gray shirt that read, “The only fight that matters is the one we are in.”
“You don’t have an option, so there’s nothing to get distracted about,” Shanahan said. “You can put this aside and totally focus on right here and right now. That’s not tough to do.
“This is an opportunity that I personally as a coach – I’ve wanted to win a playoff game my entire career and got to do that last week. Right now, that we have a chance to play for a Super Bowl, is pretty much what’s consuming my mind.”
The 49ers are prohibited from officially hiring Shanahan until the Falcons’ season is over. If Atlanta defeats the Packers on Sunday, the 49ers can still interview Shanahan next week and have him involved in the process to hire the team’s next general manager. But Shanahan could not be officially hired until following Super Bowl 51, which will take place Feb. 5 in Houston.
Shanahan admitted there is “some interest” but denied there’s been any spoken agreement he will become the 49ers’ next head coach.
“There’s a lot of stuff out there,” Shanahan said. “My friends growing up hear all that stuff. My wife hears that stuff. But everyone’s asking me what’s going on. I don’t know.
"I’m in my office looking at film all day and there’s nothing I’m allowed to do about it. So I think I’ll have an idea of that after the game. I don’t know what date that will be, whether it’s Monday or the following week, I’m not sure, and right now, I truly don’t care.”
The 49ers are expected to hire a general manager next week that will be matched with Shanahan. A source close to Shanahan told CSNBayArea.com that Shanahan is not insisting on full control over personnel and is fine working together with a general manager, on whom he would lean, to execute the plan with free agency, trades, the draft and determining the 53-man roster.
Green Bay director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst and Minnesota’s assistant general manager George Paton are expected to meet Tuesday with the 49ers and, possibly, Shanahan. The 49ers are keeping the door open on Arizona vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough. The 49ers informed a handful of candidates early this week they would not be brought back for second interviews. McDonough was not among those cut from contention.
Eliot Wolf, Green Bay’s director of football operations, pulled out of the running on Thursday. Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Wolf withdrew his name from consideration when it became apparent he would not get the job. The Packers increased Wolf’s salary and will give him a change in titles, according to the report.
If Shanahan and the 49ers determine Gutekunst is the man they want, Packers general manager Ted Thompson is expected to let him leave immediately even if Green Bay advances to the Super Bowl, the Journal Sentinel reported.
Two years ago, Paton and Falcons coach Dan Quinn, Shanahan's current boss, were reportedly connected as part of a possible general manager-coach team. Paton and Quinn know each other from their time together with the Miami Dolphins. Paton and Shanahan interviewed with the 49ers on the same day – both in Atlanta.
McDonough is a highly respected talent evaluator who was believed to have Shanahan at the top of his list all along for coaches with whom he wanted to work, according to sources.
The second interviews are reportedly scheduled for Tuesday in Atlanta, according to the report. The 49ers could have their next coach and general manager in place by the middle of next week – depending on the outcome of Sunday’s game.
“My situation outside of this week, I’m definitely excited about that,” Shanahan said.
“You’re only allowed to talk to teams when you do have a bye week. I got that opportunity a couple of weeks ago. Regardless of what happens in this game, win or lose, you can talk to them again when your season’s over or if you get another bye week. I know I think I’ll get that opportunity next week, whatever happens, and I plan on doing that.”