For better or worse, Johnny Manziel has been making headlines since the summer. From a July arrest to winning the Texas A&M starting quarterback job to leading the Aggies to an 11-win season to its first year in the SEC to becoming the first freshman to win the Heisman, Manziel has been one of the stories of the 2012 season.
The attention hasn’t slowed since the season ended, either, as many have rushed to criticize Manziel for what they believe to be off-field missteps, including photos of the 20-year-old at a casino holding a bottle of Dom Perignon and another that sees him fanning out a wad of cash. Even a college coach has gotten in on the act, with Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops telling a radio station late last week that Manziel “might have three or four Heismans … if they can keep him out of jail or keep him eligible.”
It’s certainly been a whirlwind for Manziel and his family, with the scrutiny on an individual who was a relative unknown outside of College Station entering the 2012 season seemingly increasing on a daily basis. Manziel himself acknowledged recently the microscope under which he’s been living, saying that “I’ve got to learn from (things) and move on, and make sure I don’t make some of the same mistakes.”
In that vein, A&M athletic director Eric Hyman, the San Antonio Express-News reports, has sat down with the parents of Manziel to discuss their son’s new-found fame and the best way moving forward to deal with it.
“I told them he’s no longer a freshman, and he’s no longer a sophomore, junior or senior,” Hyman told the paper. “He is a ‘Heisman. …
“It’s (about) education, and we’ve got to help the family and Johnny with the transition into being a Heisman award winner. There are things you have to learn, and we have to help him with that.”
Hyman added that winning a Heisman and all the attention that comes with it is “a tremendous responsibility — but it is a responsibility.”
Right or wrong, in this day and age of instant news via social media outlets, celebrities — even college-age athletes — face more scrutiny than ever before. And, unless SEC coaches can find devise some plan this offseason to defend the dual-threat quarterback, that scrutiny’s not going away for the foreseeable future.