This offseason has been anything but perfect for star Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. It’s been controversy after controversy and it is only adding to the pressure he is under for the upcoming season.
Let’s start with the obvious: Manziel has to back up a stellar Heisman Trophy winning season with another season that is virtually just as good. While he may not have to match those numbers, no one may ever do that, he still has to come close or be just as dominant facing in-game situations.
Last season, Manziel became the first-ever freshman to win the Heisman Trophy, the award given to college football’s best player. He rushed for 1,571 yards and 21 touchdowns to go along with 3,706 yards passing with 26 touchdowns. He should not be expected to repeat those numbers. But, 1,000 yards rushing and 3,000 yards passing is something that should be obtainable for the sophomore quarterback.
Aside from his fantastic freshman season, Manziel is facing pressure when it comes to his maturity. Off the field, Manziel has gotten himself in trouble more often than most college football head coaches care to have their star player get into. Whether it was a poor choice for a tweet or leaving early from a football camp that he was a counselor at, trouble always seems to find him.
Due to trouble always hot on his heels, many experts are beginning to question his maturity which also means that NFL scouts will be questioning his maturity. It makes sense, really. Why would an NFL team want to pick a player that has a history of off-field issues? Teams have been known to pass on players because they fear their personality.
One thing we have to keep in mind is that Manziel will only be a sophomore. He’ll have to play for at least one more season following the 2013 season due to the NCAA rule that football players have to stay in school through their junior years. However, that doesn’t mean all eyes won’t be on Manziel to see if his play will falter much like his off-field life has.
While, realistically, Manziel hasn’t gotten into that much trouble off the field, the fact that he is the defending Heisman Trophy winner, which he won as a freshman, just puts him under a more powerful microscope that will have everyone reading into and dissecting every aspect of his life. If he keeps his nose clean off the field and can repeat the success he had last season, Manziel will put a lot of minds at ease heading into his junior season.
The 2013 college football season will be an important one for Johnny Manziel. How will his off-field issues affect his play? Will he be able to repeat his 2012 performance or was that just a flash in the pan? Those are both questions, among others, that Manziel will face this coming season.