Johnny Manziel named AP player of the year

Published On December 18, 2012 | By Kimberly Petalas

Johnny Manziel, better known as Johnny Football, was the first ever college freshman to be voted the Associated Press Player of the Year.

Manziel has also won the Heisman Trophy and Davey O’Brien Award.

The vote was between Manziel and Manti Te’o, Notre Dame’s starting linebacker, but the vote didn’t even come close. Manziel got 31 of the votes for the award, which was twice as many as Te’o received.

In high school, Manziel ran for almost 1,700 yards and 30 touchdowns. He was even more impressive when he signed onto Texas A&M football.

In his first game against Florida, he ran for 60 yards and a score in his first game against Florida.

“I knew I could run the ball, I did it a lot in high school,” Manziel said in an interview with the AP. “It is just something that you don’t get a chance to see in the spring. Quarterbacks aren’t live in the spring. You don’t get to tackle. You don’t get to evade some of the sacks that you would in normal game situations. So I feel like when I was able to avoid getting tackled, it opened some people’s eyes a little bit more.”

Manziel threw for 3,419 yards and 24 touchdowns and ran for 1,181 yards and 19 more scores to help the team win 10 games for the first time since 1998. He brought new life and hope to the team. Ryan Tannehill, who preceded Manziel and is now with the Miami Dolphins, saw potential in Manziel from day one.

“It’s pretty wild. I always thought he had that playmaking ability, that something special where if somebody came free, he can make something exciting happen,” Tannehill said. “I wasn’t really sure if, I don’t think anyone was sure if he was going to be able to carry that throughout an SEC season, and he’s shocked the world and he did it.”

In that first game against Florida, Manziel knew the speed of the games was going to be the biggest change.

“The whole first drive I was just seeing how fast they really flew to the ball and I felt like they just moved a whole lot faster,” he said of the Florida game. “It was different than what I was used to, different than what I was used to in high school. So it was just having to learn quick and adjust on the fly.”

Throughout the year, Manziel got used to playing the college game.

“I feel like as the year went on, I just learned the offense more and knew exactly where I wanted to go, instead of maybe evading the blitz and just taking off running for the first down instead of hitting a hot route or throwing it underneath to an open guy and doing things a lot simpler and cleaner.”

While he has been trying his hardest to bring his team to victory every game, Manziel is far more concerned with helping his team extend their winning streak to six games with a win over Oklahoma on Jan. 4 in the Cotton Bowl.

“I think it will happen after the bowl game and after the season is completely over,” he said. “I’m just ready for it to die down a little bit and get back into a practice routine where we get better and hopefully do what we want to do in the bowl game.”

Manziel is excited to show former coach, Kliff Kingsbury, who recently left to coach at his alma mater Texas Tech, that he can get the job done in the Cotton Bowl.

“Even though Kliff Kingsbury’s not here anymore, we just need to continue to get better and do what we do,” Manziel said. “Push tempo, go fast and be the high-flying offense that we have been all year.”

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About The Author

Kimberly graduated from Hofstra University in December 2012. She has been a sports fan her whole life and grew up around sports, whether it was playing or watching them. She started her writing career interning for her local newspaper, The Gardner News, where she currently works as a reporter. In college, Kimberly wrote for Long Island Report, as well as Her Campus Hofstra.