Texas A&M Football: Luke Joeckel's Departure Changes Landscape for Johnny Manziel

By Kris Hughes
Thomas Campbell – US PRESSWIRE


Heisman Trophy-winning Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel had the luxury this fall of having two of the best 0ffensive tackles in college football blocking for him on Saturdays. Word has it now, though, that at least one of those two guys will be playing on Sundays next fall instead of in College Station.

According to reports, Texas A&M junior offensive tackle Luke Joeckel will bypass his senior season of eligibility and declare himself eligible for the 2013 NFL Draft where he is certain to be one of the first linemen taken. Joeckel paired with junior Jake Matthews this fall — whose status is still uncertain — to create a lethal one-two combo up front that was a nightmare for opposing defensive tackles and defensive coordinators all season long and helped to open many of the Mack Truck-sized holes which Johnny Football was able to work with to pad both his running and passing stats in 2012.

Johnny Manziel will have at least one of his protectors in Matthews still in tow should he decide to stay, but several draft pundits are suggesting Matthews will also be likely to leave now with the departure of Joeckel. Ultimately, it comes down to whether Matthews will be willing to test the waters and see whether he or his teammate Joeckel will be the first lineman to be taken in the 2013 Draft, or, whether that matters to him at all.

Most suggest that should both Joeckel and Matthews declare their eligibility for the 2013 Draft they would be the first two linemen taken, but the order isn’t necessarily set in stone, because it will have to do with the needs of the teams in position to draft.

If Johnny Football loses both of these two guys it will be up to two new faces — presumably Cedric Ogbuehi, Jeremiah Stuckey and Joseph Creek — who all saw some playing time in 2012, but do not have the collective reputation of Joeckel and Matthews.

Aggie fans shouldn’t fret too much though. Kevin Sumlin‘s proved to be a more-than-capable talent evaluator and shaper of talent so far, so even with the departure of Joeckel and Matthews should it occur, Johnny Manziel will be in new, but talented hands in 2013 as he makes a run for a second-straight Heisman Trophy.

Kris Hughes is the College Football Network Manager for Rant Sports. You can follow Kris on TwitterGoogle Plus and Facebook

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