Johnny Football Saga ‘Unravels’
The Johnny Manziel saga continues with object lessons galore about how – or how not to – comport oneself as a college football star.
The recent allegations that Manziel accepted money for signing memorabilia at the behest of an autograph dealer or dealers are far more serious than the party-boy antics that have been well-documented since shortly after Texas A&M’s Cotton Bowl victory over Oklahoma. Manziel has been mostly unapologetic for his behavior, even when dismissed from the Manning’s Passing Academy, where he was hired to tutor young quarterbacks but couldn’t get to meetings on time.
But the current issues, if proven, will put both Johnny Football’s eligibility and Texas A&M’s season in jeopardy. It seems that Aggies’ head coach Kevin Sumlin either failed to set boundaries for Manziel or his quarterback ignored them. And Manziel’s poor judgment seems to be boundless.
The sleazy memorabilia broker with whom he apparently worked knew he was offering Manziel an improper inducement, then taped Manziel without his knowledge while he signed the items, and finally tried to sell ESPN the resulting video evidence.
Maybe he’ll have better luck selling the video to the NCAA investigators.
Meanwhile, the Aggies have to face the very real possibility of life without Johnny Football.
They have only one quarterback who has thrown a pass in a college game, Matt Joeckel, who has all of 11 attempts.
And the national-ranked Aggies face top-rated Alabama Sept. 14.
When Johnny’s father, Paul Manziel, told ESPN the Magazine that “it could all come unraveled,” he may have been prescient.
It’s clear that Manziel wouldn’t listen to his parents or coaches, and you wonder who the 20-year-old player goes to for advice. * With just two weeks to go before the Aloha Stadium opener for UH against USC Aug. 29, there still is keen competition for starting positions and playing time. At least two offensive line positions are still up for grabs, and wide receiver as well as running back still are being sorted out.
The good news is that the competition is intense, and the team seems well-conditioned and enthusiastic. There are so many new players who will be getting their first taste of play at this level Aug. 29 that lack of experience has to be of some concern.
Quarterback Taylor Graham really hasn’t played since high school and was hurt for much of his senior year at that. But he not only looks the part, he also has a terrific arm and shows great pocket presence and composure. Can he do it when the lights are on? Really only one way to find out.
A real bright spot appears to be the interior of the defensive line, where Moses Samia and Saui Matagiese are both healthy, and freshman sensation Kennedy Tulimasealii will join Calen Friel in the rotation.
Position groups will be solidified in the next week or so. This group will be better than last year’s team, but the schedule is much more difficult, and it may take exceptional execution to significantly better last year’s mark.