And there you have it. After months of speculation indicating that Johnny Manziel would be leaving College Station after two seasons as the starter, Johnny Football has done just that.
In a statement released Wednesday afternoon to The 12th Man, the now-former Texas A&M confirmed the inevitable by announcing that he has decided to make himself available for the May NFL draft. Manziel said his decision “was not an easy one” and that it came after consultation with “family, friends, teammates and coaches.”
In a phone conversation with Bruce Feldman of CBSSports.com, Manziel acknowledged “I feel very relieved” now that the decision has been made and that “[i]t’s a weight off my shoulders.”
Almost from the moment he became the first freshman — redshirt or otherwise — to win the Heisman Trophy in 2012, Manziel became the focus of an intense off-field spotlight that seemingly scrutinized his every move. While the offseason was rather noisy on the Manziel front, the 2013 season itself was refreshingly quiet, with the player — and the media — intent on focusing, for the most part, the on-field portion of his larger-than-life persona.
Still, the NFL question was never far from the mind, especially with tweets like “Bull**** like tonight is a reason why I can’t wait to leave college station” reminding everyone to enjoy Manziel while they can at this level. With his draft projections continuing to rise seemingly by the day — a top-five slot is certainly not out of the question — combined with the constant drama of the past offseason, Manziel’s decision was a no-brainer for those on the outside looking in.
Manziel leaves A&M with a slew of school records, a Heisman Trophy and consensus 2012 All-American honors — his 2013 season wasn’t bad, either — along with a ton of credit for making the Aggies transition from the Big 12 to the SEC as wildly successful as it was. Manziel also, whether you like him or not, leaves college football a poorer sport because he’s no longer a part of it.
Godspeed, JFF. See ya in Cleveland…