Texas A&M University Aggies
Tivy High School
A master at improvisation, Manziel created huge headaches for most defensive coordinators game-planning vs. the Aggies' quarterback. With his balance, lateral agility and deft spin moves, the Texas A&M product has been a nightmare for defensive players trying to contain him in the pocket.
The dual-threat quarterback became the first freshman to ever win the coveted Heisman Trophy. After two years of keeping the Aggies fans on their feet with his "never-say-die" attitude on the gridiron, the two-year starter made his tenure at College Station a short one, opting to enter the 2014 NFL Draft Class. In two seasons at the university, he set or tied at least 35 school, Southeastern Conference and NCAA records.
Manziel quickly lived up to his nickname, "Johnny Football," once the redshirt freshman seized his opportunity to start for Texas A&M in 2012. He more than replaced Ryan Tannehill, a 2012 first-round choice by the Miami Dolphins, as the team's field general, going on to a 20-6 record (.769 winning percentage) during his 26-game span as a starter.
The redshirt junior amassed 9,989 yards in total offense as a collegian, an average of 384.9 yards per game. He connected on 595-of-863 passes (68.95%) for 7,820 yards, throwing for 63 touchdowns while being intercepted 22 times. His scrambling skills produced 2,160 yards with 30 more touchdowns on the ground, averaging 6.26 yards on 345 pigskin totes.
Among active NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision performers, he leads the nation in average yards per game in total offense. His average of 300.77 aerial yards per game ranks third among active players in the Southeastern Conference (ninth nationally), also placing third with a pass completion percentage of .6895 (percentage is fourth in the FBS). He is fourth in the league and 14th in the nation with a 164.05 passing efficiency rating, along with coming in second in the SEC and twelfth in the major college ranks while averaging 46.46 total offense plays per game.
Despite playing just two seasons, Manziel ranks 10th in the Southeastern Conference and 29th in the nation with 93 touchdowns responsible for. In addition to recording the top three passing and top three total offense performances in school history, he also became only the second quarterback in school annals to rush for 2,000 yards in a career (2,160) and the only signal-caller to throw for at least 3,000 yards in multiple seasons (3,706 in 2012; 4,114 in 2013).
The Tyler, Texas, native comes from a family that made their fortune through the Texas petroleum industry. He grew up playing a variety of sports, including basketball, baseball, golf and football. At Tivy High School in Kerrville, Texas, he focused on baseball and football. However, it was in football that sportswriters, coaches, and parents said he "achieved folk hero status" and was compared to quarterbacks like Brett Favre, Michael Vick, and Drew Brees.
At Tivy High School, Manziel was coached by Mark Smith. He lettered four times on the gridiron, competing as a wide receiver during his freshman campaign. He began his sophomore year primarily as a receiver, but started the fourth game at quarterback, sharing that position for the remainder of the schedule. He finished with 1,164 yards passing, 806 rushing and 408 receiving for a combined 28 touchdowns.
Manziel's junior year was his first as the full-time starting quarterback for the Antlers, and he completed that season with 2,782 yards on 211-of-349 passes (60.5%) that included 19 touchdowns and only five interceptions. He collected 1,529 yards with 33 scores on 232 carries (6.59 ypc), adding 152 receiving yards and a total of 55 touchdowns. That year, he was voted All-San Antonio Area Offensive Player of the Year as well as District 27-4A MVP, guiding his team to a 9-5 record.
During Manziel's senior season, he connected on 238-of-363 tosses (65.6%) for 3,693 yards, 45 touchdowns and five interceptions, leading the team to the Class 4A Region IV/District 28 title by compiling a 10-2 record, finishing 29th in the state's poll. On 171 carries, he tallied 1,695 yards (9.91 ypc), finding the end zone thirty more times. He also scored on an 89-yard kickoff return and once more on a 22-yard reception, generating a total of 77 touchdowns.
That stellar senior campaign saw Manziel be honored by the Associated Press as the District 28-4A MVP (unanimous selection), Class 4A first-team All-State, San Antonio Express-News Offensive Player of the Year (second year in a row), the Associated Press Sports Editors Texas Player of the Year, Sub-5A All-Area first-team by the San Antonio Express-News, and rated the best quarterback in Texas by Dave Campbell's Texas Foot-ball. He added Texas Football Top 300, Prep Star All-Region and Super-Prep All-Region accolades during his final season in 2010.
For Manziel's three years as a starting quarterback, he completed 520 of 819 passes (63.5 percent) for 7,626 yards and 76 touchdowns, rushed 531 times for 4,045 yards and 77 more scores, along with catching 30 passes for 582 yards and another five touchdowns. He was the only quarterback in nation to be named as a Parade All-American his senior year, and he was also selected The National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA) Senior Athlete of the Year in football.
Manziel was highly recruited out of high school. In addition to Texas A&M pursuing him, he received offers from Baylor, Colorado State, Iowa State, Louisiana Tech, Oregon, Rice, Stanford, Tulsa, and Wyoming. Surprisingly, although he grew up a Texas Longhorns fan, the University of Texas, which had previously featured a quarterback of similar traits to Manziel (Colt McCoy), did not recruit him. Although it was rumored that Texas wanted Manziel at defensive back, Texas coach Mack Brown said the rumor was not true.
The quarterback originally committed to play for Oregon, but he would later change his commitment to the Aggies, thanks to the influence of then-quarterbacks coach Tom Rossley. Prior to his arrival at College Station, Texas, Manziel was named to the NUC All World Game (started by David Schuman and National Underclassmen Combine) in 2010, where he rushed for over 100 yards and threw for over 200. It was the first time he had dominated on a national stage. He played in the game as a teammate with present University of Oregon quarterback, Marcus Mariota.
After joining the Texas A&M program prior to the 2011 season, Manziel served as Ryan Tannehill's understudy, quarterbacking the scout team while waiting for his chance to compete for playing time with the varsity. After Tannehill was selected in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins, the redshirt freshman seized his opportunity and turned his record-breaking 2012 season into a march towards the coveted Heisman Trophy.
Texas A&M was faced with uncertainty at the quarterback position when Tannehill left for the National Football League after the 2011 season, but Manziel performed well during spring ball and fall practices and won the starting job over Jameill Showers and Matt Joeckel. His first game was supposed to be vs. Louisiana Tech in Shreveport, La., on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, but the game was postponed until Oct. 13, due to Hurricane Isaac hitting the Louisiana coast two days prior to game time.
Consequently, Manziel's college football debut was played as a redshirt freshman vs. the Florida Gators before a home crowd at Kyle Field. Although he began the season in relative obscurity, his play vs. Arkansas, in which he broke Archie Manning's 43-year-old total offense record, gained him some attention. Manziel had 557 yards of total offense, breaking Manning's record of 540.
Two games later, Manziel surpassed his own total offense record against No. 24 Louisiana Tech by achieving 576 yards of total offense, becoming the first player in SEC history to have two 500-plus total offense games in one season. He was launched into the national scene after he led Texas A&M to a 29–24 upset over then top-ranked Alabama in Tuscaloosa. In that game, he accounted for 345 of A&M's 418 yards of offense, including two passing touchdowns, thus becoming the frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy in most national watch lists and polls due to his performance during the game combined with other Heisman frontrunners faltering.
On November 24th, during the game vs. against the Missouri Tigers before a home crowd, Manziel left the game with an apparent knee injury late in the first quarter. He returned to the field for the next series of downs wearing a knee brace and finished the game with 439 yards of total offense, throwing for three scores and running for two others. During the game, he broke the single season record for offensive production in the Southeastern Conference with 4,600 yards, surpassing Cam Newton and Tim Tebow, notable recent Heisman Trophy winners.
Manziel also became the first freshman and only the fifth player in NCAA history to pass for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 more in a season, reaching that mark two games earlier than any other player. He won the SEC Freshman of the Year Award and College Football Performance National Freshman of the Year Award, in addition to garnering the Davey O'Brien Award and the Heisman Trophy, making him the first freshman ever to win either award. He finished with 3,706 yards on 295-of-434 passes (67.97%) that included 26 touchdowns. He also led the team with 1,401 yards and a season-record 21 scores on 201 carries (6.97 ypc).
Coming off their 2012 season that featured an 11-2 record, Texas A&M was ranked sixth in the nation prior to the 2013 season opener. Manziel's eligibility for the campaign was under question after reports surfaced that he had signed autographs for money in January 2013. On August 28th, 2013, the NCAA reached an agreement with Texas A&M to suspend the quarterback for the first half of the team's season opener vs. Rice, after acknowledging that Manziel did not receive any money for the autographs.
In the game vs. then top-ranked Alabama, Manziel threw for a school record of 464 yards and five touchdowns in the 49-42 loss. His primary target during the game was Mike Evans, who compiled seven receptions for a school record of 279 yards. In the 51-41 win over Mississippi State, the signal-caller tied his career-high five touchdowns, while also throwing for 446 yards and three interceptions.
The Aggies would close out the 2013 season with a 9-4 record, as Manziel hit on 300-of-429 passes (69.93%) that included 37 touchdowns. He became the first player in school history to throw for over 4,000 yards (4,114) in a season, as he again paced the squad in rushing, generating 759 yards with nine more scores on 144 attempts (5.27 ypc).
The finalist for the 2013 Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, Heisman Trophy and Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award saved his finest performance during his sophomore season for the postseason. Named the MVP of the Chick fil-A Bowl, he guided the Aggies to a come-from-behind 52-48 victory over Duke, as he threw for 382 yards and four touchdowns on 30-of-38 attempts, adding another score and 73 yards on 11 carries. Shortly after the bowl game, on January 8th, 2014, Manziel announced that he would forego his junior season in order to enter the 2014 NFL Draft.
"After long discussions with my family, friends, teammates, and coaches, I have decided to make myself available for the 2014 NFL Draft. The decision was not an easy one, but we all felt this was the right time to make the next step toward a professional career," said Manziel. "My experiences here and the support of this school, Coach Sumlin, Chancellor (John) Sharp, my teammates, my classmates and Aggie football fans everywhere will be something that I carry with me for the rest of my life. I'll always be an Aggie."
"In all of my years of coaching, Johnny Manziel is the most exciting football player I have ever seen," Aggie head coach Kevin Sumlin said. "We appreciate everything he has done for Texas A&M and Aggie football and wish him nothing but the best."
Manziel appeared in 26 games for Texas A&M, starting all but the 2013 season opener, vs. Rice…Completed 595-of-863 passes (68.95%) for 7,820 yards, 63 touchdowns and 22 interceptions…Carried 345 times for 2,160 yards (6.26 ypc) and thirty scores…On 1,208 plays, he amassed 9,989 yards in total offense and was responsible for 93 touch-downs…Scored 180 points and recorded one solo tackle…Manziel is one of just two Aggies to throw for over 7,000 yards in a career; one of two to toss at least sixty touch-downs; one of three to complete over 550 passes; one of three to complete over sixty percent of his throws; one of three to gain over 8,500 yards in total offense; one of five to attempt at least 850 passes.