One year ago, Johnny Manziel was a relatively unknown name listed on Texas A&M's roster. He was one of four people listed as possible replacements for former Aggie signal-caller Ryan Tannehill, along with Jameill Showers, Matt Joeckel and Matt Davis.
My, how things have changed in 365 days.
Now Johnny Manziel has become "Johnny Football," a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback and college football superstar.
Quite a transition for the Kerrville, Texas-native.
So how is Manziel adjusting to his new-found fame? It's an ongoing process.
The 20-year-old Manziel posted a picture on his Twitter account on Saturday night of himself and two other people fanning cash at the WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma. The picture immediately went viral even though the legal gambling age at the WinStar is 18 years old. The picture was later taken down and replaced with this:
Nothing illegal about being 18+ in a casino and winning money...KEEP HATING!— Johnny Manziel (@JManziel2) January 6, 2013
He's right. There is nothing wrong with it as long as he's not gambling on sports, according to NCAA Bylaw 10.3.
Photographs later surfaced from TMZ.com of Manziel reportedly holding a champagne bottle at a Dallas-area club, where it was legal to drink for the underage Manziel as long as he was with his parents—which he was.
But posting pictures of yourself fanning cash at a casino and allowing yourself to be photographed drinking under the age of 21 still isn't the smartest thing in the world to do for a Heisman Trophy winner who has eligibility remaining. Manziel seems to recognize this.
"I've got to learn from it and move on and make sure I don't make some of the same mistakes again as far as the stuff I've been doing," he told the Associated Press on Thursday.
Good for Manziel.
Fair or not—and it's probably not—he is going to be held to a higher standard after what he accomplished in 2012. That's true on the field and it's true off of the field.
He's no longer just the Texas A&M starting quarterback. He's an ambassador for the Texas A&M football program's past, present and future.
That doesn't mean that he has to act like it 24/7/365, but it does mean that he probably should give off that impression more times than not.
Manziel shouldn't be criticized for doing what a lot of other people would do if they were thrust into the spotlight. He didn't ask to become a full-fledged celebrity, but that's what he is now. Managing his own image is part of what goes along with that.
Good for Manziel for recognizing that.