Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) runs for a touchdown against the South Carolina State Bulldogs. (Brendan Maloney-US PRESSWIRE)
USA TODAY Sports
In his two years at Texas A&M, Johnny Manziel accounted for 93 total touchdowns. Now he'll see how the Johnny Football Show will play at the next level.
According to NFL.com and ESPN, Manziel submitted paperwork Wednesday that he will enter the NFL draft.
In 2013, Manziel completed 69.9% of his passes for 4,114 yards and 37 touchdowns. He also rushed for 759 yards and nine touchdowns. In 2012, his Heisman year, Manziel rushed for 1,410 yards and 21 touchdowns.
His career totals: 7,820 yards passing and 63 touchdowns with 22 interceptions, and 2,169 yards rushing and 30 touchdowns.
The Aggies finished the 2013 season 9-4.
Most of the questions about Manziel's passing ability were answered this season, leaving only the bigger-picture arguments about his final legacy and where his two-year run puts him in the pantheon of great college quarterbacks.
"It's pretty incredible when you look at his two-year totals and numbers he's been able to put together," Duke coach David Cutcliffe said in the days before losing to Manziel and the Aggies in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. "The excitement meter in the way he plays takes it through the roof. To become somewhat legendary in one year puts you right at the top of the ladder in the historical sense of what an individual player has meant to college football."
Manziel also will leave, as Cutcliffe noted, with the distinction of being the first pop culture phenomenon from college football in the era of social media, making him the most talked-about, Tweeted-about, Instragrammed player the sport has ever seen.
At the intersection of fame and immaturity, Manziel admittedly struggled at times to reconcile living life on his terms with the responsibility of being a Heisman Trophy winner and legitimate celebrity.
When he was accused in August of receiving payments from memorabilia brokers to sign autographs - which led to an NCAA investigation and ultimately a suspension for the first half of Texas A&M's opener, it seemed the NCAA's amateurism rules would be as big a factor as anything in driving him to the NFL after this season.
But as Manziel acknowledged recently, the past four months have been relatively peaceful. After the Aggies lost to Alabama on Sept. 14, effectively ending their national championship hopes, the Manziel hysteria faded a bit and the spotlight moved to Florida State's Jameis Winston.
Even on campus, Manziel said life was more normal this fall than when he burst on the scene in 2012.
"It's been a little bit of a journey, but I feel like I'm a lot better at handling it now than I was last year at this point," Manziel said. "I've had a great group of friends, a great group of teammates that have been around me since things kind of changed back in August. But life's been good. I've been able to enjoy things in College Station. It's really mellowed out a lot."
And in his Texas A&M finale, he delivered a final show-stopping performance, completing 30-of-38 passes (12-of-13 in the second half) for 382 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Aggies to a 52-48 Chick-fil-A Bowl victory against Duke. He also ran for 73 yards and a touchdown, overcoming a near-disastrous performance by the Texas A&M defense and rallying the Aggies from 21 points down at halftime.
In the game he left the college football world with one more classic Manziel play - running into a mess of bodies, hurdling a linebacker to avoid a sack, then backpedaling to get away from pressure and throwing a 19-yard touchdown pass.