Johnny Manziel extended his best week ever. Forget the epic Halloween the Texas A&M redshirt freshman quarterback had, photos of which made the internet rounds this week. Manziel’s true business was handled impressively Saturday at Mississippi State. He led Texas A&M to its seventh win, smashing top 20 ranked Mississippi State 38-13. The legend of Manziel continues to swell, and could culminate this year with an invitation to the Heisman Trophy presentation.
Head coach Kevin Sumlin was more conservative with the play calling in the second half, so Manziel didn’t finish with eye-popping statistics. Still, 30-36 passing and over 300 yards against an SEC defense is plenty impressive. But had Sumlin needed, or chosen to unleash Johnny Football, he was capable of much more. Manziel exhibited that in the first 30 minutes.
Manziel’s first half numbers: 18-22, 164 yards passing; 10 carries for 82 yards and a touchdown. Johnny Football came into the week with five commendations as SEC Freshman of the Week, and is likely headed to No. 6. Manziel has the Freshman of the Year award sewn up, not just in the SEC but all college football. But is Manziel working his way into the top five of the Heisman conversation?
Beyond front runner Collin Klein and celebrated Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o, the race is wide open. Why not the freshman Manziel? He’ll get opportunities to put up more numbers in the second half against Mississippi State, a high profile, quality win for the Aggies. Alabama is looming, but a strong finish today and a solid outing against the nation’s premiere defense, and Manziel should propel into New York and the Heisman Trophy ceremony.
Manziel is the future. Even with the NFL success of Robert Griffin III, 2011 Heisman winner and a player Manziel’s style is very comparable to, Manziel likely needs two more seasons of refining before considering the pros. And even then, it should be just consideration given his deviation from NFL prototype size.
But what that means for SEC defenses is a lot more Johnny Football. Barring injury, he is destined for lofty heights. Not since Tim Tebow won the Heisman as a sophomore has there been such historic possibility in a young quarterback.