He saved a stray cat from being hit by a car. He nearly wrestled down an alligator. He took down an elephant with his bare hands. His name is not Steve Irwin, though. His name is Johnny Manziel, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner.
The story of Johnny Football is one for the ages. He wasn’t a highly touted recruit out of high school, but Manziel grew to a larger than life symbol being a stud in high school. He played three sports but was only recruited by a handful of major FBS schools for football.Manziel decided to sign with Texas A&M over Baylor, Oregon and Stanford as an early December graduate.
Just before the start of summer workouts, Manziel was arrested. He was charged with disorderly conduct, failure to identify and possession of a fake identification card. The College Station Police Department charged Manziel with misdemeanors, which put Manziel in the negative spotlight before he started his 2012 Heisman campaign.
At the start of the season, many Texas A&M fans didn’t even know who Manziel was. Rivals ranked the future Heisman winner at the end of 2011 season as the 14th best dual-threat quarterback.
Manziel’s career did not start off on a high note as the Aggies dropped their first game of the 2012 season to the Florida Gators. Manziel did perform well for his first start, though, especially against a fast Gator defense. He went 23 of 30 for 173 yards passing and ran for 60 yards with one touchdown. This game drew light on the most exciting player in college football. Manziel’s greatest moment was on an afternoon in Tuscaloosa.
The Alabama Crimson Tide looked like a freight train that could not be stopped. They were primed for another national title, but had to beat a hot team from College Station, Texas. Most winners have Heisman moments throughout the season. Johnny Manziel had an entire Heisman game. He dismantled the Crimson Tide defense with his arm and his legs. His final stat line against the number one defense in the land was 24 of 31 for 253 yards with two touchdowns and over 90 yards rushing. Manziel’s uncanny ability to make big plays gave the Tide defense headaches all afternoon. He led a fourth quarter drive where he had two throws that had Tom Brady written all over it.
Manziel continued his living legend by winning both the Davey O’Brien Award and the most prestigious award, the Heisman Trophy. In doing so, he eclipsed the Southeastern Conference total yards record for a quarterback set by Cam Newton in 2010.
Manziel’s wonder year isn’t over yet as he will lead the Aggies to take on the Oklahoma Sooners in the Cotton Bowl in Cowboy Stadium on January 4th. His parents are working on a trademarking deal to officially coin Manziel’s famous nickname. The Aggies were projected to finished near the bottom in the SEC this year. Texas A&M tied for second in the SEC West with LSU and finished the regular season ranked No. 9 in the BCS Poll. It’s all because of the spark plug from Kerrville, Texas.
For a kid who scouts said was just a little too short and did not have a big enough arm to play quarterback, Johnny Football seems to be doing just fine. Manziel has shown the world what he can do: save stray cats from traffic, take down number one teams and become the first freshman Heisman winner. The real question now is what can’t this kid do?