Johnny Manziel's Guide to Achieving a Perfect College Football Career
Johnny Manziel, quarterback of the Texas A&M Aggies, finished a college football season in 2012 that fell just short of perfect.
He won a Heisman Trophy, beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa and had a Tecmo Bowl spin-off made about his exploits on the field.
The last 18 months have been a whirlwind for Manziel, filled with awards, partying, spring break shenanigans and one excellent football season.
Read on for Manziel's blueprint to having the perfect football season.
10. Triple-Threat High School Quarterback
The first step on this list will be high school.
Manziel, for all his success as a dual-threat quarterback in college, was a viable triple-threat at the high school level, where he caught 30 passes for 582 yards and five touchdowns over the course of three years as a starter at Tivy High School.
Obviously, before moving on to bigger and better things at the collegiate level, one has to play in high school.
The ability to do damage as a receiver, as well as a rushing quarterback, is an added bonus.
If you cannot do this, the perfect college football career may be out of your reach.
9. Enroll Early
Manziel's next step was to graduate early from Tivy and enroll at Texas A&M in January of 2012.
You better believe the extra time with the program and the ability to spend the spring in practice helped lead to the Heisman winning campaign in 2012.
Manziel was able to spend the spring learning the system and showing the potential that blossomed into success later in the season.
For young players, just coming out of high school, being able to spend the spring with the program and get some extra reps, as well as the extra conditioning can result in huge dividends the next fall.
8. Play in a High-Powered Offense
If Johnny Manziel played at Stanford or Wisconsin, he wouldn't have won the Heisman Trophy.
Stanford and Wisconsin, while each had solid offenses in 2012, with plenty of success on that side of the ball, did not put up near the numbers that A&M did, and much of the reason for that is the difference in systems.
The Cardinal and Badgers both ran variations on a pro-style offense, while Manziel got to lead Kevin Sumlin's high-powered spread.
Winning the Heisman is a key part of having the perfect season, and playing in the right system was a huge contributor to Manziel's success.
It's not necessary to play in a spread to win the Heisman, but for a quarterback that can run, it sure helps.
7. Play in the Toughest Conference in College Football, and Tear It Up
Not only did Manziel have an excellent season as the quarterback of a major college program, but also he did it in the best conference in college football, one which featured some of the best defenses in college football.
The SEC is the top of the college football food chain, especially after winning the past seven national titles.
And Manziel tore it up, setting all kinds of records and leading the Aggies to an 11-2 overall record and 6-2 in the SEC, tied for the second best record in the conference.
If he had the same numbers in the MAC, WAC or even the Big Ten, there are some doubts about whether he would have won all the awards that he managed to win during the 2012 season.
6. Break Records
Manziel wreaked havoc on the record books, both SEC and national.
He set the SEC record for yardage in a game with 557 yards against Arkansas, then broke that record with 576 yards against Louisiana Tech.
He broke Cam Newton's SEC record for most yards in a single season, putting up 5,116 yards.
He also broke the SEC record for most yards per game average, highest yards per play average and became the first SEC quarterback to throw for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in a single season.
And that's only the beginning.
FBS records for yards in a season by a freshman, as well as total offense by a freshman, were broken.
Manziel set the record for rushing yards by a quarterback in a bowl game with 229 against Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl, and he also became just the first freshman ever to accumulate 3,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing in the same season.
It doesn't matter who you are, that's an impressive football resume to start a career.
5. Beat the Best
Manziel's "Heisman moment," the play that really garnered the attention of the nation and helped increase the momentum of all the hype happened against the best team in the country.
On 3rd-and-goal from the 11-yard line with just over eight minutes left in the first quarter, Manziel worked his magic, evading the relentless Alabama rush, scrambling to the outside, then hitting his tight end for the touchdown that put the Aggies up two touchdowns early in the first quarter.
It was classic and started off an excellent game against the best team in the country that resulted in a huge upset for the freshman quarterback and his team.
In order to have a perfect season, a player must win against the elite competition he faces and have a solid game doing so.
Manziel did just that against Alabama, throwing two touchdown passes, no interceptions and averaging over five yards per carry as the Aggies won, 29-24, in Tuscaloosa.
4. Win Awards
To win awards, a player must accomplish above average things on a regular basis and consistently out-perform the competition.
Manziel set the pattern for this accomplishment, hauling home plenty of hardware, including the most prestigious award in college football, in his first season at the helm.
He was the first freshman to win the Davey O'Brien Award, the first to win the Manning Award and the first to win the Heisman Trophy.
He was named first team All-American, the Sporting News College Football Player of the Year, AT&T ESPN All-America Player, SEC Offensive Player of the Year and SEC Freshman of the Year.
He was also a finalist for both the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award as well as the Maxwell Award.
It's difficult to improve on such a season.
3. Party Hard
Manziel's offseason has been filled with enough activity to last most people for a lifetime.
First of all, Manziel is taking online classes, instead of actually attending school.
Back on December 19 of last year, Manziel caused a fuss by sitting courtside at a Houston Rockets vs. Philadelphia 76ers game, and made even more of a splash following the game when photos of him striking the Heisman pose with Rockets stud James Harden surfaced.
The very next night, Manziel was again courtside at the Miami Heat vs. Dallas Mavericks game, which raised some comments from TNT analyst Steve Kerr about how he could afford such expensive seats.
After the Aggies' win over Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl, Manziel posted pictures of himself holding his winnings from a night at the casino.
Just days after that, on Jan. 7, 2013, Manziel spent time partying in a bar with his parents, which is legal in Texas, as long as the person under 21 is with his or her parent/s.
To say it's been a busy offseason for the man would be an understatement, but he has certainly enjoyed himself in the wake of such a successful season.
2. Use Twitter
Like it or not, much of our communication these days is done via social media of one type or another.
Twitter seems to be Manziel's preferred method of communication.
During the college football offseason, Manziel used his account to keep followers updated on his extra-curricular activities and post pictures of said activities.
He's an active user and has already updated Twitter several times since A&M's spring game on April 13, 2013.
While some coaches ban players from Twitter and others allow it with restrictions, Manziel has parlayed Kevin Sumlin's long-suffering for the site into an effective mode of communication for his fans.
1. Win a Title
The one item in this list that Manziel has not yet accomplished is the greatest team accomplishment of all.
Winning a national title.
Without a national title, no team's season can be termed "perfect."
Manziel and Texas A&M had a great season in 2012, capping it all off with a 41-13 whooping of Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl.
Manziel, as mentioned, won all kinds of personal awards and finished the season as the most talked about story of the college football season.
Even so, you better believe he would like to top his major accomplishments with a national title as soon as possible.
That's the only way to cap off a "perfect" season.