Coach Kevin Sumlin has forced people to recognize ever since he stepped foot on Texas A&M's campus. During the Aggies' first season in the SEC, nobody gave a new head coach with a freshman quarterback much besides a handshake and a sarcastic, "Good luck."
But the Aggies went on to become the only team to defeat Alabama in 2012, as that freshman QB turned out to be the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy. Johnny Manziel became the center of attention in Aggieland, as player, coach and program all sought new heights.
2013 wasn't quite as kind to the newcomers in the SEC West, finishing 8-4 with a defense that looked a lot more Big 12 than SEC. Though the Aggies played well, they didn't bag any upsets, instead content to beat the teams they were supposed to beat. Texas A&M is bowl-bound, but their future after that was extremely uncertain after that, according to reports.
Those reports suggest that not only is Manziel considering leaping to the NFL following his redshirt-sophomore season, as expected, but that Sumlin was very interested in following him out the door. USC finally fired Lane Kiffin midway through the 2013 season, leaving a big opening with huge potential and a major spotlight. That deal sounded great to Sumlin, who expressed his full interest but only if he would be the lone candidate. Sources also said Sumlin was either planning a move to USC or to the NFL. But when USC refused to, essentially, appoint Sumlin, he called off the deal and re-upped with the Aggies.
Sumlin, it seems, was worried about his longevity in Aggieland without his prized QB. Those worries were apparently alleviated by the $4 million annual salary Sumlin is now set to bank by staying put, but it's all on the line for the hot coaching prospect whose name was attached to almost every opening at the highest levels of football.