I can picture Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel sitting at home — wherever home may be — in College Station just gently shaking his head in agreement and smiling. With each passing day there’s some new development that adds additional fuel to a fire for him to replicate his success in 2012 with an even greater performance in 2013
The most recent fuel?
Georgia Bulldogs senior quarterback Aaron Murray — who has thrown for 10,091 yards and 95 touchdowns against 32 interceptions in his three seasons as a starter in Athens — got the nod from SEC coaches today as he was named the Pre-Season All-SEC 1st Team quarterback by the conferences coaches. It’s an individual decision to determine whether this nod is a validation of what Murray has meant to the Georgia program and Mark Richt since 2010 or a proverbial slap in the face to Manziel given his off-field shenanigans since the Heisman run in 2012.
Aaron Murray is a first-tier quarterback, there’s few that would be willing to argue against that point given not only his statistics but ability to keep Georgia in the mix in a conference which has gotten progressively deeper and more challenging since 2010. What is open for debate is whether Murray reasonably belongs above Manziel as the best quarterback in the conference assuming all things were equal.
If Johnny Manziel was a perfect citizen off the field during the past eight months would the SEC coaches still have seen fit to give Murray the same odds if we were comparing the two straight-up, one-on-one, without any extenuating circumstances? It certainly doesn’t seem as likely.
Regardless, you can bet it’s another wall-worthy item for Manziel to tack to the bulletin board along with everything else he will use as motivation this upcoming season — assuming eligibility and Texas A&M’s ability to continue keeping the NCAA at arm’s length throughout the 2013 season, that is.
Manziel will have all the motivation he needs given all the attention he has received — both positive and negative — to show that 2012 wasn’t a fluke but a sign of even better things to come. On the flipside, can Aaron Murray prove that he deserved the accolades he received today and is in fact what many are unsure he has the promise to be– an NFL-caliber quarterback?
It’ll all play out over the course of the next few months with both quarterbacks’ SEC play telling the first story in the larger tale and their draft selections in next summer’s NFL draft being the story’s conclusion.