Just a handful of weeks ago a big, popular website scoffed openly at the potential of Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o winning the Heisman Trophy, deriding the journalist who dared to suggest the possibility. Well, now that same website looks (even more so than usual) pretty stupid, as all the biggest sporting sites are openly discussing and indeed suggesting the validity of the young man’s candidacy.

Whisper it quietly, but Manti Te'o could just very well become the first defensive player to win the Heisman trophy since Charles Woodson. Manti’s play speaks for itself, as do his defensive statistics. 80 tackles in itself shows what kind of a demon he is on the field.

Obviously, the award is heavily weighted towards offensive players, to use that ugly old refrain, chicks dig touchdowns. However, as evidenced by the sheer weight of volume of text being put forth towards a Te’o win, it appears he really, legitimately is in with a shot.

Looking around the wide expanses of the World Wide Web, it is truly astonishing to see the growth of support for the fierce defender. First the best news. The ESPN fan ballot has Manti crushing it. Absolutely crushing it.

You do of course have to take that with a pinch of salt. That’s just fan voting and relative busts like Matt Barkley are still polling 5% because of the vagaries of said style of voting. The ESPN experts poll is probably a better measure of his actual chances, and they have him at number two, behind Kansas State QB Colin Klein.  This is of course still very respectable

USA Today is perhaps less kind to Manti, and has him second, with 23 second place votes, again behind Klein who has a whopping 35 first place votes.

Sports Illustrated also has Te’o at the two spot.

What appears obvious is that thanks to The Fighting Irish’s incredible run of success this season, Te’o is right there in the spotlight, and is seriously being touted as a possible Heisman winner. The problem is basically Collin Klein. The logical answer to the question whether Te’o can take the award or not, is that basically Klein needs to submit a couple of stinkers.

If Te’o can keep his performance levels at the lofty heights they are right now, and if he can perhaps chip in a couple more flashy plays, and if Klein slips even just a little bit, Te’o could very well be that rarity of rarities.

A defensive Heisman trophy winner.

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