By Danny Cox
CBS Local Sports presents 32 Players in 32 Days, a daily feature focusing on one impact player from each NFL team.
Name: Johnny Manziel – QB – #2
Weight: 210 lbs.
Hometown: Tyler, TX
College: Texas A&M
Known as “Johnny Football” to many, that’s just what the Cleveland Browns want Johnny Manziel to focus on – football. He’s certainly made a name for himself on and off the field, but the Browns are looking forward to what he can do when he’s got pads on and a football in his hand.
Once he was selected in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, the Browns quarterback competition immediately became one of the most interesting storylines of the upcoming season. His competition with Brian Hoyer is what everyone is looking forward to, but no matter what, Manziel will have an impact on the Browns in his rookie year.
As a kid growing up in Texas, it was evident early on that Johnny Manziel was going to be a big-time player in sports. No one may have known that he’d be drafted by both the NFL and MLB, but maybe deep down, he knew.
Manziel played four years of football at Tivy High School, and he was on the varsity team before his freshman season ended. At that point though, he was a wide receiver. It wasn’t until the fourth game of his sophomore season that he was moved over to the quarterback position.
During his sophomore year, Manziel amassed 1,164 passing yards, 806 rushing yards, and 408 receiving yards with 28 total touchdowns.
His junior and senior seasons built him up as a full-time quarterback and it brought forth recruitment from Louisiana Tech, Rice, Colorado State, Texas A&M, and a host of other schools. He originally committed to Oregon, but changed his mind and ended up at Texas A&M.
Manziel’s freshman season was redshirted, so he didn’t play in any games. In 2012, he won the starting job over Matt Joeckel and Jameill Showers after Ryan Tannehill left for the NFL. Thing started a bit slow, but everyone knew his name when he racked up 557 yards of total offense against Arkansas, breaking Archie Manning’s old record of 540 yards.
Two games later, Manziel broke his own record by putting together 576 yards of total offense against Louisiana Tech.
Things only got better for Johnny Manziel and the Aggies as they beat then No. 1 Alabama and continued on to a great season. Once all was over, Johnny Manziel had won the Davey O’Brien Award and the Heisman Trophy. He became the first freshman to ever win either award.
His sophomore season brought forth more great stats and attention, and it ended with Manziel’s announcement that he would forgo his last two seasons in college and enter the NFL Draft.
Johnny Manziel was at one time projected to be the No. 1 overall pick, but things took a weird turn.
In the months leading up to the draft, no one doubted Manziel’s talent, but they did doubt his focus, competitiveness, and if he could actually survive in an NFL locker room. On the night of the draft, Manziel sat there and continued to sit there until the Cleveland Browns selected him with the 22nd overall pick.
Brian Hoyer entered this year as the solid pick for the Browns starter and Mike Pettine has confirmed that he will start over Johnny Manziel. The rookie is persistent in his quest to show people that football is his life and their focus should be on his play, not his off-the-field lifestyle.
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.