Manziel, whose exploits led to his being dubbed "Johnny Football," is the first freshman to win the Heisman, college football’s most prestigious award.
"This is a moment I’ve dreamed about since I’ve been a kid, running around the backyard pretending to be Doug Flutie pretending I was throwing Hail Marys to my dad," Manziel said, gesturing to Flutie, the former Boston College quarterback who was onstage with other previous Heisman winners.
"It’s such an honor to represent Texas A&M and my teammates here tonight," he told the audience at the Best Buy Theater in New York. "I wish they could be on the stage with me."
He bested a field of finalists that included Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o and Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein.
Manziel amassed 43 touchdowns rushing and passing this year, and his 4,600 yards smashed the Southeastern Conference record for total offense.
But beyond the numbers, what put Manziel on the map was his play in Texas A&M’s improbable November win against Alabama, ranked No.1 in the nation at the time.