2012 Heisman winner Manziel a finalist again
Johnny Manziel isn’t sure if he’ll declare for the NFL draft
But if he does he’s thought a lot about his legacy and how he
wants to be remembered as one of the best to have ever played and
someone who made a major impact for Texas A&M.
He’s made a pretty compelling argument for both. He’s a finalist
for the Heisman Trophy again, with a chance to join Archie Griffin
as the second player to win the award twice.
”To be a college football player in a skill position, that’s
what you shoot for every year,” Manziel said. ”So to get to New
York and to be one of the best players in the country and then to
be that person to win it, it’s a dream come true for anybody that’s
grown up playing Pop Warner Football, that’s grown up playing
middle school, high school football.”
Johnny Football is one of six players who will attend the
presentation ceremony Saturday night in New York. Manziel isn’t
expected to take home another Heisman after Florida State’s Jameis
Winston burst onto the scene with a spectacular redshirt freshman
season much the way Manziel did last year.
Manziel became the first freshman to win the Heisman in 2012
after setting numerous school and Southeastern Conference records
while leading Texas A&M to an 11-2 record and a victory over
No. 1 Alabama in its first season in the SEC.
The Aggies were supposed to contend for a national title in
Manziel’s encore. But another standout season by the electric
quarterback wasn’t enough to overcome a porous defense that was
among the worst in the nation. The Aggies finished 8-4.
”This year we definitely had our ups and downs,” Manziel said.
”We didn’t have a final record like we wanted to at the beginning
of the year. But just the whole season and how it’s been, it’s been
That ride for Manziel started when he was suspended for the
first half of the Aggies’ season opener against Rice for what the
school said was an ”inadvertent” violation of NCAA rules
involving signing autographs.
The quarterback was investigated for allegedly accepting money
for autographs from memorabilia brokers, a violation of NCAA rules
that could have led to a much longer suspension.
He shook off his early season drama to throw for 3,723 yards and
33 touchdowns and led the team in rushing with 686 yards and eight
more scores. He threw more touchdown passes, had more yards
passing, a better completion percentage and averaged more yards an
attempt than he did in 2012.
He’s third in the nation in total offense with 368.2 yards a
game and fourth in pass efficiency.
Manziel dealt with various nagging injuries this season and said
this week that he’s getting better as the Aggies have some time off
before facing Duke in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl on Dec. 31. His thumb
injury is still bothering him the most, but he said it isn’t
anything that would keep him out of the bowl game.
Manziel continued to spend time with quarterback guru George
Whitfield to work on becoming a more polished quarterback.
”I wanted to come back and be a better quarterback, not just a
guy who some people say is a good athlete,” he said. ”I never
wanted to be labeled as that. So to work hard with coach Whitfield
multiple times this summer to put in the work I thought… to get
where I needed to be.”
Left tackle Jake Matthews has enjoyed blocking for Manziel and
said his ability to evade tackles makes his job much easier.
”It’s fun to watch him run around the field and see the things
he does to the other guys,” Matthews said. ”I just try to give
him as much time as I can and let him make the plays.”
Manziel said he thinks he’s ready to play in the NFL, but the
sophomore insists he hasn’t made a decision about his future. Most
assume that he will leave College Station, but despite Tweeting
that he was growing tired of the town this summer, he indicated
that he wasn’t itching to get out.
”I need to take everything in to account,” he said. ”I think
you take that, how the season went. But more than anything, are you
ready for the next level? You don’t want to go be unprepared for
the National Football League or leave two years on the table. You
don’t want to do that.”
”In the grand scheme of things it all comes down to making the
best decision for you.”
Associated Press writer Kyle Hightower contributed to this