Perhaps this one can be chalked up to the slow, off-season news cycle, but The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported a tidbit from the Davey O’Brien Award ceremony that Texas A&M quarterback and 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel is taking classes online this semester.
This is hardly an earth-shattering revelation, though it does explain Manziel’s frequent appearances around the country at various events.
Still, his assertion that attending an English course at the beginning of the semester “turned into…a big deal” attracted scrutiny.
Busted Coverage was not alone in its skepticism. Former Kansas wide receiver Daymond Patterson tweeted the following:
If Cam Newton was takin all online classes and was at every major event and award show the NCAA would have all investigations goin right now
— D.Patterson ll (@DP2Nice) February 19, 2013
His choice to go low profile around the A&M campus fits with a statement he made in November, calling himself “more of a homebody” during his first teleconference interview.
The increasingly magnified microscope under which he now lives is only going to intensify. Inevitably, there will be skeptics anytime his rendezvouses with celebrities are publicized.
Manziel’s situation is somewhat reminiscent of Matt Leinart. Coming off his 2004 Heisman Trophy, Leinart achieved celebrity status in the world’s celeb-epicenter. His only class during the 2005 season was a ballroom dancing course, as Leinart had already earned his degree.
As a second year student, Manziel has more educational requirements to meet. The NCAA mandates student-athletes finish 48 credit hours by the end of their sophomore year.
Manziel is fast becoming a case study in the tenuous relationship that exists between big-time, profitable athletes and the NCAA’s student-athlete philosophy. No wonder chatter about the quarterback considering the 2014 NFL Draft is growing, despite his size and style both being wildly different from the typical pro quarterback.
Manziel told The Star-Telegram:
“For me, being a shorter guy, a chance at the NFL, at a high draft pick, that’s something that I’ve only ever dreamed about,” said Manziel, who could enter the 2014 NFL Draft because he would be three years removed from high school at that time. “The NFL, … it’s changing. There’s a lot of things that can be done with more mobile guys.”
At the very least, Manziel has a natural endorsement opportunity when he does leave for the professional level.