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Originally published Monday, December 3, 2012 at 9:21 PM

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Johnny Manziel, Manti Te'o, Collin Klein are Heisman Trophy finalists | College football

Texas A&M freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel and Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o are in position to make Heisman Trophy history.

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NEW YORK — 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, top-ranked Notre Dame's standout linebacker, along with Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein, were invited Monday to attend the Heisman presentation ceremony.

Manziel, nicknamed "Johnny Football," is the favorite to win college football's most famous player-of-the-year award 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 earned 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."

Three sophomores have won the award (Tim Tebow of Florida in 2007, Sam Bradford of Oklahoma in 2008 and Mark Ingram of Alabama in 2009), but the best a first-year player has done is second.

Running back Adrian Peterson of Oklahoma finished second to USC 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.

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 USC.

Te'o won the Bronko Nagurski Award as the nation's top defensive player Monday.

Klein would be the first player from Kansas State to win the Heisman. He won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, given to the nation's top upperclassman quarterback.

Paul Petrino

to coach Idaho

MOSCOW, Idaho — Arkansas assistant Paul Petrino was hired Monday as Idaho's head coach.

Petrino has produced some of the most prolific offenses in the nation as an assistant coach at several other schools, Idaho officials said.

"He is one of the top offensive minds in college football," said Duane Nellis, university president.

Petrino replaces interim coach Jason Gesser, a former Washington State quarterback who guided the Vandals during the final four games after coach Robb Akey was fired.

"All I've ever wanted to do was to be a head coach," said Petrino, who is the brother of former Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino.

Petrino said he would bring his high-powered offensive schemes to Idaho and restore the program to the success it enjoyed two decades ago when he was an assistant here.

"People feared the Vandals," he said. "This program has a great tradition."

Petrino most recently served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Arkansas, where this year he went through the firing of his brother, who was dismissed for hiring his mistress to a position in the athletic department and initially lying about her presence during an April 1 motorcycle accident, and the more recent departure of interim Arkansas coach John L. Smith, a longtime mentor.

Paul Petrino served as an assistant coach at Idaho under Smith from 1992 to 1994, and later coached at Utah State, Illinois, Louisville and with the Atlanta Falcons of the NFL.

He was a standout quarterback at Carroll College in Helena, Mont.

Petrino was one of five finalists for the job at Idaho, which is struggling to remain in the Football Bowl Subdivision after the Western Athletic Conference dissolved as a football league. The Vandals will play as an independent next season and are still searching for a conference to join.

Notes

• Fired Kentucky coach Joker Phillips was hired as Florida's receivers coach and recruiting coordinator.

• South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier, 67, signed a two-year extension through the 2017 season. There was no salary increase in the deal. Spurrier is scheduled to again earn $3.3 million in 2013.

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