Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin helped save Johnny Manziel's incredible freshman season.
Before the season, the eventual Heisman Trophy winner was in danger of being suspended for the 2012-13 campaign. Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman reports the Aggies coach provided a letter of support for Manziel, who was still in the process of attempting to win the starting job from Jameill Showers. Sumlin said his eventual starter had paid his dues:
A lot has been said about discipline, but he went through all that, which is a little bit more than people think. That's not a public deal, it's just what I ask him to do. He did all those things and his parents were involved in all of that. So for him to go through that, then go through camp and those types of things and earn the job, that's what's brought him to where he is now.
Sumlin spoke to reporters at the Scott Verplank Foundation Tournament, also stating the decision was based on going through internal punishment and not based on talent or the ability to help Texas A&M win games.
The comments come after a report from Kate Hairopoulos of The Dallas Morning News in which it was revealed by a source that Manziel felt compelled to transfer had the suspension been upheld:
A&M initially suspended Manziel for the 2012 season following his arrest in College Station’s Northgate bar district last summer, a source with knowledge of the situation told SportsDay.
Manziel, entering his freshman season after sitting out the 2011 season as a redshirt, would have felt it was necessary to transfer if the suspension wasn’t overturned on appeal, according to the source.
Instead of transferring, the suspension was overturned after the appeals process, which included the letter from Sumlin. Manziel went on the win the starting job just prior to the first game of the season and the rest is history.
The dynamic dual-threat quarterback went on to account for more than 5,100 yards of total offense and 47 touchdowns. Those numbers, paired with a 10-2 regular-season record by the Aggies, were enough to make Manziel the first freshman to win the Heisman.
If not for Sumlin's support, it's unknown if the suspension would have been overturned, and perhaps Manziel would be getting ready to start his first collegiate season with another school right now. Maybe the legend of "Johnny Football" never would have been created.
It goes without saying that the decision by Sumlin worked out well for Manziel and the Aggies.