Johnny Manziel won the Heisman Trophy last season and he’s been a rock star ever since. He’s what you could consider one of the first Instagram legends in sports, shown poppin’ bottles and partying like nothing we’ve seen from a high-profile college athlete in some time.
Manziel is the same guy who talked about how his life was changed by spending a weekend with Drake in Toronto, before spring breaking in Cabo. Still, at just 20 years old, Manziel’s done a lot of living in the past eight months.
Now gravity is in play, and being back in College Station to return to his “Johnny Football” moniker is the important step.
Manziel didn’t get specific on Monday when he spoke with ESPN’s Phil Murphy, but he described his goals for Texas A&M and himself as “lofty” and “through the roof.”
That’s a significant change from the quarterback who went into the 2012 season just grateful for not being suspended, as it was shortly after he had been arrested. This is an actual “started from the bottom, now we’re here” kind of story for Johnny and his football.
Manziel wasn’t even really “that dude” at A&M to begin with. He wasn’t a Robert Griffin III from the year before, who had the clips to indicate that a Heisman campaign was on the horizon.
Johnny Football wasn’t rumored to command anything close to six figures from SEC rivals upon campus arrival. When he outperformed Jameill Showers in team scrimmages, Manziel was just a guy on the team competing for a spot.
“Life’s different. I’m on a bit of a pedestal and I realize people are watching and something is always going on,” Manziel told ESPN.
For a positive, the Aggies are considered a top-five team among coaches and The Associated Press. Manziel is not the only one with high expectations for A&M, the same school that critics said would go through its initial struggles in the SEC.
The Manziel phenomenon, along with what Kevin Sumlin is doing in College Station, has completely taken over the college football conversation in Texas. The Longhorns still exist, but they don’t even move the meter in the Big 12 discussion.
Whether they’re rooting for a pass or fail, every football fan is watching to see what Johnny does next.
For whatever negative attention Manziel’s received, he still hasn’t been a problem. The only real knock on him is that he’s supposed to be too broke to have this much fun. His job only pays with a scholarship, and his celebrity reaches too far.
The worst news that came out about Manziel during his spring semester was that Drake changed his life. In the summer, it was that he was hit with a parking citation.
The NCAA and its apologists have tried to humble these cats for so long. Manziel hasn’t touched the humble pie in almost a year.
This season is either going to build him up or knock him down.