Johnny Manziel: Punishment from 2012 Arrest Helped Me Win Heisman Trophy

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMarch 25, 2021

FILE - In this Nov. 10, 2012, file photo, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) runs for a first down during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Alabama at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Manziel could become the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy when the award is presented on Saturday night. (AP Photo/Dave Martin, File)
Dave Martin/Associated Press

Johnny Manziel believes his arrest prior to the start of the 2012 season helped him win the Heisman Trophy that year. 

In the first episode of his Ball Don't Lie podcast (h/t TMZ Sports), Manziel explained why his June 2012 arrest impacted his redshirt freshman year at Texas A&M:

"In 11 days, I won the (starting) job doing these sprints, doing the whole thing. At the end of the year, I rushed for 1,500 yards. I outrushed Todd Gurley in the SEC. Nuts. My redshirt freshman year, the year I won the Heisman.

"I believe all that was directly correlated to me running those sprints at the beginning of the year and being in the dumbest shape on the team. ... Without a doubt. I got punished and I won a Heisman for it. It's crazy. The bad doesn't always turn out so bad down the line."

Going into the 2012 season, Manziel was one of the quarterbacks vying to replace Ryan Tannehill as the Aggies starting quarterback. Tannehill was a first-round pick by the Miami Dolphins after two years of running Texas A&M's offense. 

In June 2012, Manziel was arrested and jailed for getting into a fight and having a fake ID card. He was charged with three misdemeanors, including disorderly conduct, failure to identity and possessing a false identification card. 

Manziel reached a plea deal in July 2013 in which he pleaded guilty to failing to identify himself. He received a $2,000 fine and had to pay court costs but had his other two charges dropped. 

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Head coach Kevin Sumlin named Manziel his starting quarterback for the 2012 season. The freshman led the Aggies to an 11-2 record and became the second player in school history to win the Heisman after throwing for 3,706 yards, running for 1,410 yards and accounting for 47 touchdowns.