Johnny Manziel is the 2013 Heisman front runner, a reminder made clear in the Texas A&M spring game on Saturday, played before a program record crowd.
Manziel’s defense of the Heisman began in earnest with a stellar showing on Saturday. The 2012 Heisman trophy winner threw for three touchdowns and over 300 yards on a ridiculous 24-of-30 passing.
An offseason of assorted hi-jinx distracted from Manziel’s stellar freshman campaign captaining the Aggie offense, but Saturday’s intrasquad scrimmage was a reminder of the quarterback’s abilities.
Since finishing 11-2 in their debut SEC season, the Aggies has been regular focus of national attention. Manziel said after the game his goal was to have some fun with that.
“I told [teammates]… ‘we’re going to celebrate every time. We don’t get to be on ESPN for a spring game like this every day. So we might as well have fun with it and get the recruits to have fun,’” he said. “Everybody is here to have fun. It’s spring ball. It’s been a grind. It’s the last day to go out and really show that we’ve been working, so we were going to have fun with it regardless.”
Manziel was the first freshman to win the Heisman, and as such, has commanded unprecedented attention. He loses All-American offensive tackle Luke Joeckel and standout wide receiver Ryan Swopes in 2013, but until another player steps up to declare otherwise, Manziel is the 2013 Heisman front runner.
All-Conference selection from Arizona, wide receiver Austin Hill, suffered an ACL injury that will keep him out of action in 2013.
Hill’s absence is a huge loss for Rich Rodriguez’s Wildcat offense, which is already faced with replacing All-Conference quarterback Matt Scott.
“[Hill] is the biggest competitor out here. He wants to play and he’s a really good football player, so he’s bummed,” quarterback B.J. Denker told GOAZCATS.com reporter Tracy McDannald.
First-year Purdue head coach Darrell Hazell led Kent State to a surprise Top 25 seasons in 2012, but in 2013 he’s taken a backseat, the Associated Press reports.
Hazell takes over a Purdue program that reached a bowl game in 2012, but has not been a legitimate Big Ten Conference contender since Joe Tiller retired.
“I really like the direction we’re heading,” Hazell told reporters. “Obviously, there’s a lot of work to be done before we open up the season, but I think they’re starting to understand what it takes to be a better football team.”
In one of the more disappointing stories of the spring season, Wagner cornerback Torian Phillips was arrested for burglary this weekend, per The New York Post.
Wagner’s run to the FCS Playoffs after superstorm Sandy was one of the more inspiring stories in the 2012 college football season.