Texas A&M Aggies: Offensive Line Counted On To Protect Johnny Manziel Again

Brett Davis, USA TODAY SPORTS

At last week’s Southeastern Conference media days, nearly all of the talk surrounding the Texas A&M Aggies was about last season’s Heisman Trophy winner, Johnny Manziel. The A&M signal caller won the prestigious award after last season and seems to have been in the news ever since, for one reason or another.

Manziel was amazing last season on the field as he became the first freshman to ever win college football’s top individual honor. However, as is usually the case, the guys up front that allowed Manziel to make those plays, his offensive linemen, were largely lost in the shuffle.

Gone from last year’s team is All-American left tackle Luke Joeckel, who was drafted second overall in the 2013 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Also gone from last year’s line is center Patrick Lewis.

The Aggies do return three starters on the line, although only one of them will be playing the same position that he did last season. Jake Matthews, son of former NFL standout Bruce Matthews, moves to left guard from right guard for the 2013 season. He will have the all-important job of protecting Manziel’s blind side. Matthews is a preseason All-SEC pick for the upcoming season.

Cedric Ogbuehi also returns as a starter, moving from right guard to right tackle this season. The 6-foot-5, 300-pound junior will be starting for the third straight season at A&M. Jarvis Harrison, a 6-foot-4, 320-pound junior, returns as the starter at left guard.

The two new starters on the offensive line should also fit in nicely. Mike Matthews, brother of Jake, figures to be the starting center in 2013. The younger of the two brothers, Mike played well in a reserve role last season. The right guard spot is still not settled at this point. Either Ben Compton, a 6-foot-4, 307-pound junior, or Germain Ifedi, a 6-foot-5, 320-pound redshirt freshman, will fill that spot.

These are the players given the task of getting Manziel back to New York, where he could become only the second two-time winner of the Heisman. And while the offensive linemen are sometimes largely responsible for Manziel’s success, they also understand that he will get the spotlight instead of them.

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