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Has Johnny Manziel Had Too Good of an Offseason?

Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterFebruary 19, 2013

It's safe to say that Johnny Manziel has had a year for the ages.

The Texas A&M starting quarterback and 2012 Heisman Trophy winner has gone from an underdog to win the Aggies' quarterback battle to a modern-day college football superhero in a span of 365 days.

Just how bright is Manziel's star shining? 

The rising redshirt sophomore, who was in Fort Worth, Texas on Monday accepting the Davey O'Brien Award as the nation's top quarterback, is taking online classes at Texas A&M this semester to avoid the masses of classmates looking for autographs and photo opportunities, according to USA Today.

Online classes are fairly common nowadays, but he's not the first college football superstar to return to school with eligibility remaining.

Considering he's been living the life of the superstar ever since becoming the first redshirt freshman to take home the Heisman Trophy, the attention he's getting shouldn't come as a shock.

Just how good has Manziel had it since taking home the Heisman hardware?

He caused quite a stir on Dec. 19, 2012, when he sat courtside for the Philadelphia 76ers vs. Houston Rockets game in Houston, according to the Dallas Morning News. Manziel even went in the locker room after the game and struck the Heisman pose with Rockets star James Harden.

But that was just the start of Manziel's NBA tour.

The next night he was shown on TNT sitting courtside for the NBA game between the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas. TNT analyst Steve Kerr went so far as to speculate how an amateur athlete could afford such pricey seats, taking a shot at the SEC in the process.

Manziel defended himself from Kerr and the critics with a tweet.

Bought myself a little birthday present tonight stop hating! #HEATvsMAVS

— Johnny Manziel (@JManziel2) December 21, 2012

But Manziel's whirlwind tour of superstardom was only getting started.

After setting a Cotton Bowl record with 516 total yards in Texas A&M's 41-13 romp over Oklahoma on Jan. 4, Manziel celebrated by taking a little trip to the casino.

It was a successful one.

Manziel snapped a photo of himself at the WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Okla.—which is an 18-and-over establishment—showing off his winnings to the fans.

There's nothing illegal about a college football player gambling in a casino as long as it's not on sporting events, according to NCAA Bylaw 10.3.

Manziel's Cotton Bowl celebration continued the next night at a Dallas-area club, where he was captured by TMZ.com popping bottles of Dom Perignon. Since Manziel's parents were present at the club, the 20-year-old was allowed to drink under Texas law. 

Nothing from the prolonged Cotton Bowl celebration was illegal, but Manziel himself admitted that he needs to be a little smarter with what gets out now that he's a bona fide celebrity.

"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 (h/t ESPN).

It's incredibly unfair, but Manziel is going to be held to a higher standard now that he's a Heisman winner. He's not a normal college student; he's a celebrity and an ambassador to Texas A&M and the Heisman Trust.

Manziel realizes this, and made a visit to a Connecticut children's hospital in mid-January. He even mocked the mini-stir he created following the Cotton Bowl by posting a picture of himself with a child holding Monopoly money.

Great visit to the hospital today in Connecticut made a ton of new friends. Hopefully this picture passes compliance.. twitter.com/JManziel2/stat…

— Johnny Manziel (@JManziel2) January 11, 2013

Now with the casino "controversy" in the rear-view mirror, how about a trick-shot video with the incomparable Dude Perfect? 

Yep, Manziel did that in January...and it was spectacular.

College Station is only a seven-hour drive from New Orleans, so when the Super Bowl rolled into the Big Easy, Manziel and his family came with it.

The 6'1", 200-pound quarterback shared photos of himself with various celebrities during his stay in New Orleans, including a shot with two stars from Duck Dynasty, and one with Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake.

Stars of the stage and screen were out in full force at the Super Bowl, but Manziel still managed to do a little networking with some of his soon-to-be peers at the next level—including New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.

But his stay in New Orleans wasn't done.

With Mardi Gras taking place the week after the big game, why WOULDN'T he stick around to enjoy the festivities?

Manziel partied on Bourbon Street with thousands of other revelers, and shared some of his experiences on his Instagram account.

It's been quite the offseason for "Johnny Football," and before spring practice kicks off, there may be more stories—and Instagram photos—to come.

Despite his new-found celebrity status, Manziel still has an eye on football and becoming a better pocket passer.

One stop this summer will be a return trip to San Diego to work with quarterback coach George Whitfield, Jr., according to the San Antonio Express News. Manziel worked with Whitfield last summer, and credits a lot of his success in 2012 to the time spent with the "quarterback engineer."

“I came back for fall camp a completely new person—a completely new quarterback,” Manziel said.

Manziel may have the hardware, the celebrity status and living a life that many only dream of, but he's still committed to becoming a better player on the field.

That's a scary thought for opposing defensive coordinators in the SEC.

 

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