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What You Need to Know About 'Johnny Football,' Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel

Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel
Texas A&M QB Johnny ManzielBrett Davis-US PRESSWIRE
Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterJanuary 7, 2017

The 2012 season was going to be a banner season in College Station no matter what, but the hype surrounding Texas A&M's 4-1 start in its inaugural season in the SEC has been exaggerated due to the electric play of redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel.

Manziel, a native of Kerrville, Texas, burst onto the scene during the first month of the season, leading the SEC in total offense with 356 yards per game.

Through the air, Manziel is lethal.

He is completing 69.3 percent of his passes, thrown for 1,285 yards, tossed 11 touchdowns and only thrown two picks during the first five games of his college career.

But it doesn't stop there.

Manziel has made his mark on the ground as well. The 6'1", 200-pounder has rushed for 495 yards and seven touchdowns this season. His average of 99 rushing yards per game—the third-best mark in the SEC—is better than South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore, Georgia's Todd Gurley and Alabama's Eddie Lacy.

Not bad company to be in.

Manziel came to Texas A&M two seasons ago as a a 4-star recruit and the nation's ninth-ranked dual-threat quarterback, according to 247Sports.com. He was thought of so highly by dual-threat teams that he was once committed to the Oregon Ducks.

After watching what he's capable of this season, it's clear why.

"Johnny Football" has taken the SEC by storm, and while he deserves most of the credit, his coaching staff deserves a tip of the cap as well.

Head coach Kevin Sumlin and offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury came to College Station with the mantra that they plan on "getting the ball in the hands of playmakers in space." That's all well and good, but that only works if you do that based on personnel and not based on what has worked within a predetermined system.

If you don't believe me, just ask former Tennessee offensive coordinator Dave Clawson and former Auburn offensive coordinator Tony Franklin.

To Sumlin and Kingsbury's credit, this isn't the same offense that made them so successful at Houston with Case Keenum at the helm. They tweaked the system to fit the personnel, and that has been a key reason why Manziel has been so successful.

With games against LSU and Alabama still on the docket, the toughest part of A&M's schedule is yet to come. However, it's clear that the new regime has shed the label that Texas A&M is soft and fades down the stretch, and Manziel's playmaking ability is a big reason why.

Get used to being wowed by Manziel, because if the first five games of his career are any indication, he's going to be doing a lot of that in the SEC over the next few seasons.

 

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