BEREA, Ohio – Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel was asked Tuesday if he had any advice for Ohio State redshirt freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett as Barrett prepares for his first career start Saturday vs. Navy in Baltimore.
Manziel answered by first offering best wishes to Braxton Miller, who’s out for 2014 after re-injuring his shoulder last week.
"It’s tough to see a friend like Braxton (go through that)," Manziel said. "It’s rough. I don’t wish that for anybody. I don’t wish that for him especially. Hopefully everything in that situation works out for him. I hope he can get a redshirt and be able to play because first and foremost, I’m a fan of Braxton. I think he’s incredible for college football. I think he’s incredible for Ohio State and the state of Ohio."
Miller and Manziel are the same age — six days apart, actually — and both graduated from high school in 2011. Miller was an early enrollee at Ohio State and finished the messy 2011 season as the starting quarterback under interim coach Luke Fickell.
Manziel redshirted as a freshman at Texas A&M and had a new head coach for his second year, too. In 2012, he became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy in what was a pretty good year for Miller, too, as Ohio State went 12-0.
Barrett, who’s also a native Texan, now takes over at Ohio State after sitting last year while rehabbing a torn ACL. He probably would have redshirted anyway given that Ohio State had Miller and Kenny Guiton.
"Coming in and taking over for a program like that, I think (Barrett) has a good situation with (Ohio State) Coach (Urban) Meyer being there and being able to put him in situations to be successful," Manziel said. "I think more than anything, he needs to depend on Coach Meyer, who’s been through it all. Their quarterbacks coach (Tom Herman) is a very creative guy who is a standup guy as well. I would say lean on those guys. Lean on the older players that have been there.
"They have a lot of playmakers, so you get the ball to those guys in space and they can really do a lot with it. Don’t try to do too much. I would say rely on your coaches. Rely on what they’re telling you, and most of all, have fun and go out and play football like you did in high school and like you’ve been doing your whole life."
Manziel didn’t mention how he knows Miller. Presumably, it’s from the college football postseason award circuit. It could also be through mutual friend LeBron James, a business associate of Manziel’s and a famous fan/friend of the Ohio State program.
James tweeted well wishes to Miller when news of the injury broke last week.
"Ohio State is obviously a very big deal, but a true freshman…man, I really wish them nothing but the best," Manziel said, forgetting that Barrett is a redshirt freshman. "And I hope Braxton is OK."