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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

ARLINGTON, Texas — Johnny Manziel stepped onto the Cowboys Stadium turf the other day looking like he'd just rolled out of bed.

His hair was messed up. His contacts were replaced by glasses.

“These late nights,” the Texas A&M quarterback mused, “go to sleep at 2, wake up at 7.”

As he talked during Cotton Bowl Media Day, he was surrounded — literally — by reporters. Cameramen actually stood behind him filming because, well, the back of the Heisman Trophy winner's head was better than nothing.

“I didn't know this was coming,” he said sheepishly of the media throng. “I probably needed to wear contacts.”

Mr. Heisman didn't think he'd be the center of attention at Media Day?

That aw-shuck-ness is just one more reason to love Manziel.

I know you don't want to hear this, Oklahoma fans. Your Sooners are going to spend the better part of three hours Friday night chasing chase down Manziel. He's going to create headaches. He's going to make plays.

And yet, it's guys like Manziel who make college football great.

Manziel is from Kerrville, Texas, a town of only 20,000. He is listed at 6-foot-1, though that'd probably only be if he was wearing platform shoes and standing on tiptoe. And up until two weeks before Texas A&M's opener, he was an unknown redshirt freshman competing for the starting quarterback job.

Less than four months later, he won the most recognized award in sports.

Now, he's Johnny Heisman.

“You never really know, especially with a freshman,” Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said of how his quarterback has progressed. “As things played out the rest of the year, you never knew that was going to happen.”

Manziel is an amazing story.

Now, there are some in Aggieland who believe I'm anti-Manziel. Heck, they believe that all of us at The Oklahoman are down on the guy. That's because none of the four of us who have Heisman votes picked Manziel as our top choice.

Continue reading this story on the...

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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