Capitals

Manziel, Klein take in 'surreal' awards atmosphere

201212051827664248700-p2.jpeg

Manziel, Klein take in 'surreal' awards atmosphere

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) College football's biggest single night for awards is set for Thursday, and two of the most talked about players said the spotlight may be the most difficult they've endured.

Texas A&M freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel and senior Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein headlined a group of several finalists who addressed the media Wednesday after arriving at Disney World in advance of the awards show.

Manziel and Klein, along with Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, have already been selected finalists for college football's prized Heisman Trophy, which will be presented Saturday in New York.

The trio will be in the spotlight before that on Thursday, though. They are all finalists for another coveted player of the year honor, the Maxwell Award. Manziel and Klein also are both up for the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award, along with Ohio State's Braxton Miller.

Manziel said the experience has been eye opening for not only him, but the family members that accompanied him.

``It's been surreal for them as well. They're getting overwhelmed just as much as I am,'' said Manziel, who turns 20 on Thursday. ``The thing they're doing is they're just enjoying it. They're just sort of living through me and enjoying the trip, coming to Orlando and then New York... I'm happy for my family getting a chance to do all of this with me.''

Te'o and Miller didn't arrive in Florida on Wednesday. But they will be in town for Thursday night's award show.

The Maxwell Award has been a predictor of Heisman winners in recent years, with Maxwell recipients Cam Newton (2010) and Tim Tebow (2007) going on to win the Heisman.

Known for his understated demeanor while at Kansas State, Klein seemed a lock to take the Heisman before the then-No. 1 Wildcats lost to Baylor 52-24 on Nov. 17.

But the guy who's earned the nickname ``Optimus Klein'' lived up to it after helping his team rebound and earn a convincing win over Texas last week to secure the second Big 12 championship in Kansas State's history. The Wildcats will meet Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl.

He said he hasn't let himself get caught up in much of the off-field hype that grew around him as Kansas State found success this season.

``I think my motivation toward this game and for my performance is deeper than that,'' Klein said. ``I know what truly motivates me and a lasting human motivation is going to be more out of a love and a passion of what you're doing and who you're doing it for and why you're doing it, more than trying to prove someone wrong.''

Manziel, known as ``Johnny Football'' is considered by some to be the Heisman front-runner following his late-season exploits leading the Aggies to five straight victories, a 10-2 mark and Cotton Bowl berth in their first Southeastern Conference campaign.

Playing a free-wheeling brand of football that was often built on improvisation leading coach Kevin Sumlin's spread offense, Manziel also nearly single-handedly derailed Alabama's chance of defending its national championship when he propelled his team to a 29-24 upset over the former top-ranked Crimson Tide.

He also passed for 3,419 yards and 24 touchdowns and posted an SEC-record 4,600 yards of total offense on his way to being named a unanimous choice for Associated Press SEC offensive player of the year.

Manziel maintains that he still feels like the same kid from Tyler, Texas that came to Texas A&M just wanting to fulfill his dreams of playing college football.

Now, the only thing Manziel won't have on his side is a little history if he hopes to hoist the Heisman.

Three sophomores have won it, including Tebow in 2007, Sam Bradford in 2008 and Mark Ingram in 2009. The best a first-year player has ever done is second.

``Looking back in August and at the way the media thought us to be, there were so many question marks around our team,'' Manziel said. ``I think the best thing that we did was that we grew each week. We got better and better as the season went on. And the way our offensive line played, the way our receivers jelled - I got to benefit from that.

``So without them I wouldn't be sitting here right now.''

He also has the endorsement from an unlikely source with Alabama cornerback and Thorpe Award finalist Dee Milliner saying that if he had a Heisman vote, he'd pick Manziel.

Te'o will arrive in town having already picked up some hardware this week, after being presented with one honor for the nation's top defensive player. He received the Bronco Nagurski Award on Monday, given by the Football Writers Association of America.

Te'o will look for his second top defensive player award Thursday as a nominee for the Chuck Bednarik Trophy.

The Notre Dame defensive leader has inspired his teammates on an off the field, playing on following in-season deaths of his grandmother and girlfriend. Te'o will now get to play for the national championship that Klein missed out on when the Fighting Irish play Alabama in the BCS title game.

In receiving the Nagurski award, Te'o put his focus almost entirely on that Jan. 7 matchup.

``If you ask people who the Butkus Award or the Bednarik Award winners are, or even the Heisman Trophy winner some years, they probably don't remember them,'' Te'o said this week. ``But they remember who won the national championship. They remember that. That's the trophy everybody wants.''

---

Follow Kyle Hightower on Twitter athttp://www.twitter.com/khightower

Quick Links

Game 58: Capitals at Blackhawks Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

usatsi_9678896.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Game 58: Capitals at Blackhawks Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Chicago Blackhawks

Where: United Center, Chicago, Ill.

When: 8:30 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Blackhawks will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Blackhawks game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

You can also stream the game online with no cable TV subscription on fuboTV (try for free!).

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS GAME?

The Capitals (33-17-7) take on the Blackhawks (24-26-8) Saturday, February 17 at 8:30 p.m. ET in Chicago.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS GAME ON?

The Capitals-Blackhawks game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 7:30 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 8:00 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 11:30 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 12:30 a.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

7:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
8:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
8:30 p.m. — Capitals at Blackhawks
11:00 p.m. — Caps Extra
11:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime
12:30 a.m. — Caps in 30

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS GAME?

Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Blackhawks game:

Forwards
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Alex Chiasson - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Defensemen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Madison Bowey

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Jakub Vrana, Taylor Chorney

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS GAME?

The Capitals-Blackhawks game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

The game is also available to stream, along with all the pregame and postgame shows, on fuboTV (try for free).

CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

Quick Links

2018 NBA All-Star Saturday night: TV and live stream info, things to watch for dunk contest, three-point contest

2018 NBA All-Star Saturday night: TV and live stream info, things to watch for dunk contest, three-point contest

The 2018 NBA All-Star Saturday Night is here with the three-point contest, dunk contest and skills competition set for Los Angeles.

Here is all you need to know: TV and live stream info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:

2018 NBA ALL-STAR SATURDAY NIGHT

Where: Staples Center
Tip-off: 8 p.m.
TV: TNT
Online with no cable TV: fuboTV (try for free)

PODCAST: ALL-STAR WEEKEND PREVIEW, WIZARDS AT THE BREAK 

Skills competition

Participants: Lou Williams, Clippers; Jamal Murray, Nuggets; Al Horford, Celtics; Spencer Dinwiddie, Nets; Joel Embiid, Sixers; Buddy Hield, Kings; Lauri Markkanen, Bulls; Andre Drummond, Pistons

What to know: This year's crop has a fascinating mix of guards and big men and don't sleep on the seven-footers. Embiid in particular has a unique skillset for his size. Still, it's tough to beat the guards. Watch out for Dinwiddie, who is the best passer of the bunch.

RELATED: BETTING ODDS FOR DUNK CONTEST, THREE-POINT CONTEST

Three-point contest

Participants: Klay Thompson, Warriors; Eric Gordon, Rockets; Devin Booker, Suns; Paul George, Thunder; Wayne Ellington, Heat; Bradley Beal, Wizards; Kyle Lowry, Raptors; Tobias Harris, Clippers

What to know: Thompson and Gordon enter the contest as past champions, as Thompson won it in 2016 and Gordon took it home last year. Thompson has the best three-point percentage among the group and is the favorite, but watch out for Beal, a past runner-up, and George who has the second best percentage. Also, Booker is one of the game's best young players and has a very smooth stroke from three.

RELATED: WIZARDS/BULLETS HISTORY ON ALL-STAR SATURDAY NIGHT

Dunk contest

Participants: Dennis Smith Jr.; Mavericks; Donovan Mitchell, Jazz; Larry Nance Jr., Cavaliers; Victor Oladipo, Pacers

What to know: This is all about the rookies, Smith and Mitchell, who most are predicting to win. Oladipo has been in the contest before, but didn't win. He's also the only All-Star of the bunch. Nance is the only guy who isn't a guard and his father won it back in 1984. It will be interesting to see if he does some sort of nod to his old man, now 34 years later.

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS