Texas A&M Football: 6 Aggies Who Can Help Johnny Manziel Defend His Heisman
Johnny Manziel became the first freshman in history to win the Heisman Trophy when he accomplished the feat in 2012. He enters the 2013 season with a chance to become only the second player in college football history to win two Heisman trophies, and he has the teammates surrounding him at Texas A&M to do exactly that.
In order to win the Heisman Trophy you need to put up great statistics while playing on a very good team. Manziel will put up tremendous numbers as long as Kevin Sumlin is the coach at A&M and 12 starters return from the Aggies 2012 squad that ended the season ranked No. 5 in the nation.
In addition to the 12 starters, the Ags return a multitude of players who contributed to their breakthrough season in 2012. Seven members of their 2012 recruiting class played immediately as freshmen and return for their sophomore season with a better idea of what it take to succeed in the Southeastern Conference.
The Ags are primed for a run at a SEC and national championship in 2012. If they are in contention for the BCS title in November, then Manziel will be in contention for his second consecutive Heisman Trophy.
This is a look at some of the players who can help Manziel win a second Heisman.
LT Jake Matthews
Jake Matthews earned All-American honors in 2012 when he played right tackle for Texas A&M. He will slide over to the left tackle spot to protect Johnny Manziel's blind side in 2013, and he is projected to be a first-round selection in the 2014 NFL draft.
Matthews is a tremendous football player who has started on the Ags' offensive line since he was a true freshman. He should excel at his new position and will help keep Manziel upright against the top pass-rushers in the SEC.
One of the big reasons Manziel excelled so much in 2012 was because he played behind the best offensive line in college football. Luke Joeckel left school early and is projected to be the first pick in the NFL draft.
Matthews should make a seamless transition to Joeckel's old spot. In 2014 he will make it four years in a row that the Aggies have had a player selected in the first round of the NFL draft.
C Mike Matthews
Mike Matthews is the younger brother of Jake Matthews. Mike Matthews was the second-string center for the Aggies in 2012.
He played behind Patrick Lewis and saw a lot of action in blowouts. Mike Matthews was very solid as a freshman and should only get better with more experience.
The younger Matthews will be tasked with controlling the pace of the Aggies' offense and making all of the line calls. The center's role in the Ags' offense is so important that Patrick Lewis was named the team's offensive co-MVP along with the Heisman Trophy winner.
Mike Matthews will take over that role in 2013. He will be an extension of the coaches on the field. Mike Matthews should do a solid job of leading the offensive line in 2013.
WR Mike Evans
Mike Evans burst onto the college scene as a freshman with a tremendous campaign in 2012. He caught 82 passes for 1,102 yards and five touchdowns.
In the process, Evans became Johnny Manziel's go-to player when he was in trouble. Evans caught a 32 yard pass on a 3rd-and-19 play late in the fourth quarter against Ole Miss that may have saved A&M's season.
Evans used his size and surprising strength to dominate smaller defensive backs during the 2012 season. He should only get better with more experience in Kevin Sumlin's system.
Evan's is Manziel's security blanket. Manziel knows that when all seems lost, he can just throw the ball up towards the 6'5" receiver and good things are bound to happen.
Manziel will always be a threat to score on every play because he has receivers like Evans on the field.
RB Ben Malena
Ben Malena rushed for 808 yards with eight touchdowns and added another touchdown receiving in 2012. He silently had an outstanding season in his first year as a starter at running back.
Malena keeps defenses from focusing in Manziel. He is generally the give option when the Aggies run their zone-read offense. Malena is also an excellent blocker. He keeps blitzers off of Manziel.
The blocking from the Aggies' OL and Malena gave Manziel the chance to pass for 3,706 yards in 2012. He will help Manziel have another great season in 2013 because he helps the Ags in all phases of the offense.
RB Brandon Williams
Brandon Williams is the X-factor on the Ags' 2013 season. While the media and fans are concentrating on what Johnny Manziel will do next, Williams may be the most talented offensive player on the field.
Williams wowed teammates and coaches last spring with his speed and playmaking ability. He is a threat to score a touchdown every time he touches the ball.
He may be the fastest player on the Aggies' roster. Williams resembles Eric Dickerson with his speed and running style. He is good enough where he could give the Ags two legitimate Heisman candidates in their backfield.
You need to win games if you want to win the Heisman Trophy. Williams will help the Ags win lots of games in 2013.
TE Cameron Clear
Cameron Clear will offer the Ags a dimension to their offense that they did not have in 2012. He is a huge 6'6" 270-pound tight end. Not only does Clear give Manziel a big target, but also he will add an extra dimension to the run game.
Clear is a dominant blocker who will able to seal the edge for the Ags. He will allow the Ags to run outside more in 2013. The Aggies led the SEC in rushing in 2012 while averaging 242 yards on the ground per game.
Clear's blocking will make the running game even more effective in 2013. He should also offer Manziel a huge target in the red zone. Clear will give Manziel a legitimate receiving threat from the tight end position when he gets close to the end zone.