I honestly feel a little bit bad for Johnny Manziel.
I think he gets a bad rep everything that’s happened in his three years at A&M. He went from being a redshirt that nobody knew, to a potential starting QB in the doghouse for a summer arrest, to the star of college football, to a guy some people considered to be “out of control.” It’s been a roller coaster for him.
I think the offseason got blown way out of proportion. It’s well known that Johnny’s family is well off. I think most of the things we saw in the offseason can be attributed to that. Also, he's 21. He did a lot of things 21 year olds would probably do, and he got criticized for it. It just seemed to me that he wasn’t really ready for all the attention he got after he won the Heisman, and he wasn’t quite sure how to handle his “fame." As for the pay-for-autograph allegations, well, due to the ineptitude of the NCAA, I guess we’ll never know. But I wouldn’t blame him for taking money for his autograph, honestly.
His time in College Station has been plagued by too much attention. He has to have a police escort to get home after games, because everyone knows where he lives. He’s so highly scrutinized that he can hardly take a step without somebody questioning where he’s going. No kid wants that. Some handle it better than others, and admittedly, Johnny has not handled it very well. But nobody wants to be under a microscope like that.
He genuinely loves being an Aggie. It’s evident in the video from after the final home game of the season against Mississippi State. He loves his school and he loves his team. But everyone knows he won’t be back next year, and quite honestly I don’t blame him. He hasn’t been able to truly appreciate and enjoy his college experience like most other kids have. I don’t blame him for wanting to escape the fishbowl and be compensated for his talent and the persona that he brings. Hopefully, when he looks back on his three years in college, he’ll have some good memories to reminisce on.
Thanks for an unforgettable couple of years, Johnny. Gig ‘em.