Reigning Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny "Football" Manziel put on a spectacular display at the Texas A&M Aggies' spring game on Saturday, as his Maroon squad emerged victorious over the White, 43-23.
The exhibition showcased the competitive fire of Manziel, which suggests that his energy, intensity and focus this far ahead of the 2013 college football season will prevent him from regressing as a redshirt sophomore.
It's hard to put a lot of stock in a game with minimal meaning outside of the Aggies' own locker room, but the numbers don't lie when it comes to Johnny Football.
The team's official Twitter page logged the star signal-caller's final statistics:
Texas A&M Football @AggieFootball
With Johnny's day done, he'll finish 24-of-30 for 303 yards, 3 TDs and a long of 60 yds. Also 3 carries, 18 yards. #12thMan4/13/2013, 8:38:05 PM
According to USA Today's Paul Myerberg, a record crowd of 45,212 flocked to Kyle Field for Saturday's gridiron clash. The biggest reason was the presence of Manziel, and he didn't disappoint.
As the first freshman to ever win college football's most prestigious individual award, the possibility of a letdown for Manziel is at least somewhat feasible. Departed left tackle Luke Joeckel may also become the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft.
Even without Joeckel, though, Manziel and the Aggies will be fine. 2012 All-American Jake Matthews is moving to the left side, which provides Texas A&M's biggest star with ample protection on his blind side.
Further evidence of Manziel's grit came when he attempted to throw a lead block for running back Brandon Williams. That worried offensive coordinator Clarence McKinney, whose comments after the game indicated that such a thing won't likely happen again (h/t ESPN's Sam Khan Jr.):
Sam Khan Jr. @skhanjr
#Aggies OC Clarence McKinney on QB Johnny Manziel's lead block for Brandon Williams "I told him 'Don't ever do that again.'"4/13/2013, 9:28:49 PM
Manziel was wearing a non-contact jersey, and some may consider throwing a lead block in a spring game to be irresponsible. However, it also seems to indicate that Manziel isn't touting too big of an ego at the expense of his teammates—despite his meteoric rise to stardom.
Putting forth the extra effort to maximize the effectiveness of a play in a relatively irrelevant contest is indicative of how driven Manziel is to spur the Aggies to another sensational campaign.
In the context of this most recent magnificent performance, the early success in Manziel's brief career should only continue.
Whether it results in a national championship trophy being brought to College Station remains to be seen, as the Southeastern Conference promises yet again to present formidable, physical competition. That could put Manziel at risk despite the incredible elusiveness and athleticism he routinely uses to avoid sacks, extend plays and scamper for big gains and touchdowns.
Having said that, Texas A&M football won't fall short of its ultimate goal due to a lack of passion and hustle from its most important player.
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