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Oklahoma football: If you like college football, you should love Johnny Manziel

COMMENTARY — Oklahoma is going to spend Friday night trying to stop Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, a nightmare for opposing defenses and a dream for college football.
by Jenni Carlson Published: January 3, 2013

But I'm here to tell you — if I didn't like Manziel, I wouldn't have voted him third.

Heisman ballots, in case you didn't know, are write-in only. We aren't told who to vote for. We can vote for anyone in college football. So, voters have to think highly of any player who gets on their ballot. Voters have to think of them as one of the best three players in the country.

And Manziel has absolutely earned that lofty status.

The stats bear it out; Manziel passed for 3,419 yards and rushed for 1,181 yards, becoming the first SEC player and the first freshman in NCAA history to pass for 3,000 yards and run for 1,000.

The highlights bear it out; do yourself a favor and search “Johnny Manziel: Top 12 Plays of 2012” on YouTube.

The results bear it out; Texas A&M is a program transformed, winning 10 games in its inaugural SEC season a year after struggling to finish above .500.

Then, there's Manziel's personality.

He is soaking in everything that's happened since he won the Heisman. He plays golf with the Jonas Brothers, he poses for pictures with LeBron James, and he acts as excited as a kid in a candy store. In other words, he acts like any normal person would.

It's refreshing.

Manziel does things on the field that most of us can't fathom, and yet, he acts like an Average Johnny off the field, bedhead and eyeglasses and all.

Just one more reason to like the guy.

He is a nightmare for opponents, as the Sooners are likely to find out Friday night, but if you love college football, it's impossible not to love Johnny Manziel.

Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125. Like her at, follow her at or view her personality page at

by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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