After months of speculation, Texas A&M Football coach Kevin Sumlin named redshirt freshman Johnny Manziel as the Aggies' starting quarterback today, according to the Texas A&M Athletics website. The announcement ends an eight-month competition to replace the departed Ryan Tannehill, who was selected No. 8 overall in the 2012 NFL draft.
Sophomore quarterback Jameill Showers was thought to be the front-runner for the position entering fall practices after he had multiple strong performances during the spring. Sumlin has been adamant all summer that the quarterback competition was not over, and that assertion evidently proved true.
Manziel had an excellent scrimmage on Saturday night where he completed 18 of 22 passes for 218 yards and three touchdowns. But Showers also appeared indecisive during the same scrimmage. In an offensive play in which the quarterback has to get the ball out quickly, Showers hesitated.
Manziel was considered one of the top quarterback recruits in the country coming out of high school. Mike Sherman was able to convince the 6'1" 190 lb athlete to de-commit from Oregon and pledge to the Aggies.
As a senior, Manziel passed for 3,609 yards while rushing for 1,674 yards. He scored 75 total touchdowns during his senior season while throwing only five interceptions. For his efforts, Manziel was named the National High School Coaches Association Player of the Year.
Manziel played in a spread offense in high school, which is similar to the one that he will be operating in at A&M. He is a dynamic runner with great speed. Manziel's ability to create while on the move should be an asset to the Aggie offense when they face the top defenses in the SEC in 2012.
Manziel will become the first freshman quarterback to start a game at A&M since Stephen McGee started against Texas in 2005 when McGee was a redshirt freshman. McGee started a run of three successive A&M quarterbacks who have moved on to the NFL.
Manziel and the Aggies open the season on August 30 in Shreveport against Louisiana Tech.