It is true that Manziel took over as the starting quarterback at Texas A&M as a redshirt freshman, just as Barrett will at Ohio State starting with Saturday's game against Navy. And it is true that both were highly thought of dual-threat quarterbacks coming out of high school in Texas, and both took over for recently established stars in Ryan Tannehill and Braxton Miller.
That was a slightly different situation, though, as Manziel had won the job in fall camp while Barrett inherited it when Miller went down with season-ending shoulder surgery. Still, Manziel has been there before and excelled, going on to win the Heisman Trophy as a first-year starter, and he said he expects Barrett to do well when the lights go on this weekend.
"I think he’s got a good situation with Coach 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 him, 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."
Barrett, Scout's No. 13-rated quarterback in the class of 2013, has had success, rushing and throwing for more than 1,500 yards apiece as a junior at Rider High School in Wichita Falls and then adding to those numbers before suffering a torn ACL midway through his final campaign.
Manziel, meanwhile, was just a three-star QB and the No. 22 signal caller in the class of 2011 according to Scout. He shined at Tivy High School in Kerrville but many doubted his size at just 6-0, 175 pounds.
Manziel, though, burst onto the scene in 2012, outdistancing Miller (who took fifth) for the Heisman that campaign. The two were major parts of the postseason awards circuit and got to know one another, with Miller even including Manziel in his famous "Ohio" standouts tweet when LeBron James announced his return to Cleveland.
“First and foremost, it’s tough to see a friend like Braxton … I mean, it’s rough," Manziel said. "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 medical 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."
Now the top backup for the Cleveland Browns, who took him with a first-round pick in the May draft, Manziel hopes to see Miller again able to dazzle two hours south of his new hometown.
"Man, I really wish them nothing but the best and I hope Braxton is OK," he said.