The best Texas-bred or based player in college football has to be Johnny Manziel, right? If you go off the host of national awards Manziel is up for, including a second consecutive trip to New York City as a Heisman Trophy finalist, then that distinction has to go to the man known simply as Johnny Football.
But even with all the anecdotal evidence, the Texas A&M quarterback is no lock to win the inaugural Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award, for which he was one of five finalists announced Monday.
Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty, Missouri quarterback James Franklin, Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro and Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans round out the field, which honors the top offensive player in college football that was born in Texas, played high school football in Texas or attends a university or junior college in Texas.
Petty, the first-year signal-caller for the Aggies' former SWC and Big 12 foe, would seem to have the edge over Manziel, based on statistical and on-field success. Petty has thrown for 3,844 yards and 30 touchdowns against just two interceptions and has rushed for 11 touchdowns in guiding the Bears to an 11-1 record, Big 12 title and Fiesta Bowl berth.
Manziel has accounted for the same number of touchdowns as Petty but has 11 more interceptions this season. Manziel also lost four games, including a 28-21 decision to Franklin's Tigers to close the regular season.
Franklin put up modest numbers -- 2,255 passing yards, 19 touchdowns against five interceptions as well as 474 rushing yards and four touchdowns -- after missing a month with a shoulder injury, but he took Missouri to the SEC championship game in only its second season of membership.
Amaro led the Big 12 with 98 receptions and finished second in the conference with 1,240 receiving yards, but he was not among the three finalists for the John Mackey Award presented to the top tight end in the college ranks.
Evans had 65 receptions for 1,322 yards and 12 touchdowns, including his memorable 279-yard eruption against Alabama.
The Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award will be presented Jan. 10 in Campbell's hometown of Tyler, Texas.