Matt Edmonds watches the way football is played today and wonders what his life might be like if he was about 10 years younger.
“Sometimes I definitely think that,” said Mustang’s former star quarterback.
Many people have wondered if Johnny Manziel’s size will be a hindrance to his NFL prospects, but the former Texas A&M superstar is likely to be a top-10 selection when the 2014 NFL Draft begins Thursday night. Standing at 6-feet tall, though, Manziel’s improvisation skills and mobility turned him into a Heisman Trophy winner and one of the most electric players in college football history.
Edmonds was only 5-foot-6 when he led Mustang to the 2005 Class 6A state championship game, but in many ways, was like a poor man’s Manziel during his historic senior season. He tossed a state-record 42 touchdown passes and threw for 3,778 yards that year, but Division I coaches never came calling because of his size.
Quarterbacks these days, though, don’t necessarily have to have the prototypical height to be successful — especially if they can bring that additional element of mobility like Manziel.
OU quarterback Trevor Knight is 6-foot-1, and said he’s loved watching guys without Peyton Manning’s size succeed in football before him.
“To watch the way those guys compete every day and the way they’ve seen success, it’s definitely encouraging,” Knight said. “They’re all great players, and regardless of their height, they’re getting it done.”
During Sugar Bowl preparations, Knight even had the opportunity to meet one of his idols, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.
The Sooners practiced all week at the Saints’ practice facility, and one day, Brees was there after practice.
“I got to stop and talk with him for a second,” Knight said. “He’s an awesome guy. It was a pretty special moment for me, growing up a big Drew Brees fan.”
Brees fell out of the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft after a successful collegiate career at Purdue, largely because of concerns about his 6-foot frame.
Today, Brees is an eight-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion who holds numerous NFL passing records.
“He’s just a winner,” Knight said.
Knight, like Manziel, played Texas high school football, so he had the opportunity to watch the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner play before he was famous. He also got an up-close look at Manziel during last year’s Cotton Bowl, when Texas A&M routed OU 41-13.
“He just knows how to get it done,” Knight said. “He’s a playmaker. Sometimes it’s unorthodox, but he continues to do it over and over, so I’d venture to say that he makes it orthodox.
“That’s just the way he plays the game. He brings a whole difference dimension.”
Edmonds is six inches shorter than Manziel, so even in today’s game, he likely wouldn’t be a first-round NFL prospect. He played two seasons at Southern Nazarene in Bethany before finishing his collegiate career at Bacone in Muskogee, where he suffered a career-ending shoulder injury.
Edmonds is now El Reno’s wrestling coach. He loves where he’s at in life and loves coaching, but still wonders if he might’ve gotten a closer look from bigger colleges in today's world.
“I’ve seen the way people are starting to look at quarterbacks — not necessarily just for the height and everything — but if you can have a total package and be productive, they tend to at least give you a shot,” Edmonds said.