How Johnny Manziel's Epic Freshman Season Will Impact SEC Recruiting

Andrew Kulha@@AKonSportsSenior Analyst IIINovember 13, 2012

COLLEGE STATION, TX - SEPTEMBER 08:  Johnny Manziel #2 of the Texas A&M Aggies at Kyle Field on September 8, 2012 in College Station, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Texas A&M freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel helped drastically alter the landscape of college football when he led the Aggies to a victory over then-No. 1 Alabama, but Manziel's impact won't just be constrained to the football field.

His epic freshman season is going to also help change the landscape of SEC recruiting.

It's hard to deny that Texas A&M is on the rise in the SEC—and even nationally—and you can bet that top recruits are noticing the Aggies.

They run an exciting brand of offense—ranked fourth in the nation, scoring 43.1 points per game—and much of that has to do with Manziel. He has passed for 2,780 yards and 18 touchdowns so far this season, compared to just six interceptions.

The Aggies are also ranked 18th in the passing department, putting up 302.7 yards per game through the air, courtesy of Manziel.

That's great and all, but we've seen exciting offenses before, and we've seen quarterbacks put up great numbers.

Where Manziel and A&M separate themselves from that is the fact that they are actually a very good team, and there aren't many people that doubt that after their 29-24 win over Alabama this past weekend.

Not only is Texas A&M an exciting football program, but it is proving that it can not only compete in the SEC, but beat the best teams in the conference—which naturally means it is beating the best teams in college football.

Much of this has to do with Manziel....

He obviously has the tools of a great quarterback in his arm, footwork, running abilities and vision, but he displays other intangibles that you look for in the greats as well.

Consider that he's a freshman quarterback, and he just marched into Tuscaloosa and beat Nick Saban and Alabama. He wasn't shaken, and he played up to the level of his competition.

That's the true sign of a great quarterback and a great football leader.

Recruits have no choice but to notice that Texas A&M is being led by a freshman quarterback that appears to be a superstar—already. The selling point of being able to play with Manziel is going to be huge for A&M, especially with offensive recruits—that's going to be a game changer in the SEC.

I wrote last week how I felt that 2013 5-star wide receiver recruit Ricky Seals-Jones was LSU's must-have recruit, and they are currently in a fight to land his commitment with the aforementioned Aggies.

While Seals-Jones' top two does consist of A&M and LSU according to 247Sports, Manziel's performance against Alabama has completely changed my tone on this recruiting (I guess you can say that I've flipped).

I've been pretty optimistic about LSU having a great shot at landing the 5-star wideout if only because of their prestige, National Championship aspirations and the fact that he could be their premier deep threat for their offense—much like Rueben Randle was.

But after watching what Manziel and the Aggies did to Alabama, I can't imagine Seals-Jones turning their offer down.

The kicker here is, even if he doesn't commit to the Aggies, you can bet other elite recruits will jump at the opportunity, both now and in the future.

Manziel is changing the recruiting game in the SEC.

No longer is it Alabama, Florida, LSU and everyone else. Texas A&M is proving that they can more than hang with the elite in the SEC. Sure, their two losses came to Florida and LSU, but they've done something that nobody else has been able to do—beat Alabama.

Manziel is going to be a star in college football until the NFL comes calling, and Texas A&M is going to quickly become a recruiting powerhouse because of him.

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