10 Players We Wish Could Play with Johnny Manziel
Johnny Manziel has become a college football phenomenon overnight, developing into a larger-than-life character. Winning the Heisman Trophy as a freshman quarterback, breaking conference records in his first year on the field and just being better at life than most of us, there isn't much "Johnny Football" can't do.
But with Texas A&M preparing for another season and Manziel trying to somehow top last year’s performance, there are many players that we would absolutely love to see play with this young man. Of course, it would never happen, but imagine if you could gather some of the best college football players and place them on the Texas A&M roster to create a super team in College Station.
Manizel would not only benefit greatly from having other elite players on his team, but it would make this Aggies squad must-see television more than it already is.
While all of this may be unattainable, here are some of the players you wish could team up with Manziel, helping to create an unstoppable force.
Duke Johnson, RB, Miami
It didn't take long for running back Duke Johnson to prove he is one of the best runners in college football. As a true freshman last season, he rushed for 947 yards, received 221 yards, averaged more than 30 yards on kickoff returns and was responsible for 14 total touchdowns, including throwing for a score.
While it may not be fair just yet to start tossing out comparisons, Johnson could soon find himself in league with other Miami greats such as Willis McGahee, Frank Gore and Clinton Portis.
His combination of acceleration and patience in the backfield makes him a true NFL prospect in a couple of years. Texas A&M may currently have a deep backfield at the moment, but I doubt any are as talented as the young man who is carrying the rock for the Hurricanes.
Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
Johnny Manziel may not actually have the privilege of playing with Jadeveon Clowney— especially since he plays on defense—but I'm sure the reigning Heisman winner wouldn't mind having the beast on his team right about now.
Texas A&M has many questions defensively heading into the 2013 college football season. The majority of the guys who provided last year’s pressure on the opposing quarterback are gone. This is why you wish you could plug somebody like Clowney into the Aggies' system and let him go to work. The current South Carolina Gamecock is easily the best NFL prospect in all of college football, Barring a serious injury, he will be the first overall pick in next year’s NFL draft.
There aren’t many who can consistently block this guy coming off the edge, and he instantly can make any defense in the country better. You put Clowney on the Texas A&M football team right now, and those chances to win a national title increase dramatically.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
Can an underrated player get some love?
Maybe it is the fact he plays for Washington, or that everybody was drooling over other tight ends in the country, but you could make a case Austin Seferian-Jenkins is the best at his position. At 6'6", Seferian-Jenkins has the size, runs excellent routes for a big man, and he catches just about anything and everything thrown his way.
This guy is the real deal at the tight end spot, and his 110 receptions and 13 touchdowns in two years help provide more evidence of that. Although Washington has a solid quarterback in Keith Price, the offensive line couldn't stop water dripping from a faucet, which didn't help anybody on the roster. With Texas A&M being solid up front yet again, putting Seferian-Jenkins on the squad would help both players out.
Then Seferian-Jenkins would become the household name that he deserves to be.
Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
Along with Duke Johnson, there was another true freshman running back who stood out last season in Todd Gurley. The only person in the SEC who finished with more rushing yards than Gurley was Manziel, as the Georgia back rushed for 1,385 yards and scored 17 touchdowns on the ground.
His ability to run between the tackles or kick it to the outside makes Gurley a special runner who can do a little bit of everything. He can catch the ball out of the backfield, contribute on special teams and, of course, Gurley uses his patience and athleticism to gash defenses for the big play.
We have seen what this young runner is capable of doing in an already loaded offense in Athens. It would be even more impressive to see his numbers playing for a season with a playmaker at quarterback.
Stefon Diggs, WR, Maryland
If you are looking for a young receiver who will probably make an even bigger impact in the upcoming season, look no further than Stefon Diggs. Not as big of a name as he should be because he played for a team that only won four games, the true freshman showed why he was a highly recruited player coming out of high school.
Diggs finished his first season with 54 receptions, 848 receiving yards and hauled in six touchdowns. Keep in mind; he put all of these numbers up playing with an outrageous number of quarterbacks, as it seemed like a Maryland signal-caller was getting hurt every week. Just imagine what he would be capable of if he had somebody like Manziel throwing him the ball.
The Terrapins receiver is capable of lining up in multiple different spots and has more than enough speed to beat a defense over the top. Diggs would provide Texas A&M with that true deep threat, helping to create even more explosive plays in College Station.
Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
Texas A&M had a solid freshman wide receiver last season in Mike Evans, but Alabama's Amari Cooper wasn't too shabby, either. Finishing the year with 999 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns on only 58 receptions, Cooper has the size and speed to instill fear into every defensive coordinator in the country.
This is also somebody who seemed to be getting even better as the season went along, finishing four of the last five games with more than 100 receiving yards. If that momentum can carry over to next year, he would create a scary wide receiver tandem with Evans and make every SEC secondary want to throw in the towel.
Cooper is great at taking advantage of what the defense gives him. Not having so much pressure on him by playing with another proven wide receiver would make him that much better in a Texas A&M uniform.
It would also help out Manziel and help fix the depth at the position.
Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
Remember Sammy Watkins?
He wasn't as effective last year as we had hoped for, due to suspensions and missing one game with a virus, but he still finished with 708 receiving yards. Regardless of what his numbers or lack of touchdowns (three) may indicate, he is still one of the more explosive players in all of college football.
His route-running skills and the pure speed that he brings to the table makes him somebody that defenses must keep track of at all times. Watkins is a receiver who can hurt you deep; he can run a route across the middle and then break off a huge play with his ability to run after the catch.
Texas A&M could put a receiver like Watkins in the slot, and it would be all over for anybody who tried to keep up with this offense. You either watch the run from Manziel, or you get burned by playing man-to-man on a receiver who is just faster than you.
Dri Archer, RB, Kent State
As you can see in the picture, it is very hard to bring down Dri Archer. No, he isn't the biggest back in the world at 5'8", but he is insanely fast, has great vision and his lateral movement is just not fair. One of the college football plays of the year last season was provided by the Kent State runner, and believe me, there was a lot more of where this came from.
Archer only touched the ball 159 times last season but somehow finished with 1,429 yards, which comes out to an incredible nine yards per carry average. He also caught the ball 39 times for more than 500 yards, proving to be a versatile player and one of the more explosive in the entire country.
Bringing Archer on Texas A&M would give Manziel somebody to whom he can just hand the ball and watch him do all of the work. Forget about making plays on his own. Just give the ball to the little running back, and he will do the rest.
This would not only take a lot of pressure off of Manziel, but it makes this Aggies offense that much harder to stop.
De'Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon
If we are going to continue to talk about explosiveness, I'm not sure it gets any better than De’Anthony Thomas. Much like Archer, the flashy Oregon runner doesn't get the ball a ton because of his size, but when he has it, defenses are lucky just to catch him.
See the poor defender in the picture? He thought he could catch Thomas, but instead he ended up with a face full of dirt and nearly tearing the referees ACL.
Thomas has great change of direction skills and is easily one of the fastest players in the game. Although he only carried the ball 92 times last year, 32 of those touches picked up a first down. There were also 10 of his 45 receptions that went for at least 15 yards.
This Duck is the ultimate playmaker in college football and somebody who can become a quarterback’s best friend in no time.
I'm sure Manziel wouldn't mind having him on his side.
Marqise Lee, WR, USC
As far as offensive players are concerned, there are none better than Marqise Lee. This kid isn't just great at the college level, but he will be tearing it up on Sundays as early as the 2014 season. Probably the best receiving prospect we've seen since Julio Jones, Stanford head coach David Shaw said Lee is the best he has seen since Randy Moss.
Lee is the complete package at wide receiver for the Trojans, from his speed to his route-running, the potential for him is endless. The thing that stands out the most with this USC receiver is his ability to adjust to the ball and go up and get it. Last year he led the Pac-12 in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns.
There is nobody at the receiver position better than Lee, and he would have been the first wideout selected if he were eligible to leave this season. Having him on the Aggies football team would give Manziel somebody he can feel confident in just throwing the ball up there and letting the gifted receiver go get it.
A combination of Lee and Manziel would likely create the best quarterback-wide receiver tandem in college football.