Texas A&M’s entrance to the SEC and the birth of Johnny Football hysteria happened to meet at an intersection at the best possible time in 2012. As the Aggies ditched the Big 12 in search of an escape from the shadows of a controlling program in Austin and a more lucrative opportunity to receive a bigger slice of conference revenue, Johnny Manziel gave te football program a new energy that could not have come at a better time. Manziel helped lead Texas A&M through a successful debut season in the SEC, knocking off top-ranked Alabama in Tuscaloosa, winning a Heisman Trophy and leading the Aggies to a Cotton Bowl victory over former Big 12 foe Oklahoma.
For everything Manziel has done for the Texas A&M football program, recognition for years to come in College Station is warranted. One Texas A&M regent wants Kyle Field, the home of the Texas A&M Aggies football team, to now be referred to as The House That Johnny Built in an official capacity. He’s actually serious about this.
There is no denying the impact Manziel had in putting Texas A&M on the map, but the biggest reason Kyle Field is being expanded is because of the move the school made to the SEC and the larger paychecks that come with the move.
Texas A&M announced the comprehensive stadium renovation plans for Kyle Field in May 2013, the spring after Manziel’s Heisman season. The plans are well underway, leading to the cancellation of the spring game and should be completed in full in time for the start of the 2015 season. Stadium expansion likely would have come in time whether Manziel was in College Station or not, because the support for the school is plentiful and a move to the SEC came with plenty of support and enthusiasm.
So is the renovated Kyle Field a result of Manziel mania? Or is the future SEC money coming in more of a factor? Given that few knew who Manziel was when the school announced a move to the SEC to thunderous applause, Manziel’s impact may be slightly exaggerated when it comes to this issue.
Former West Virginia wide receiver Reggie Roberson seems to have found his new place to call home. Roberson announced his commitment to SMU with a doctored image on Twitter on Saturday afternoon.
By rule, Roberson will have to sit out the 2018 college football season since he is transferring to another FBS program. He’ll be eligible to play again for SMU beginning in 2019, but he will do so with three years of eligibility remaining.
Roberson was a three-star prospect in West Virginia’s Class of 2017 and he played in 10 games as a true freshman for the Mountaineers last fall. In those 10 games, Roberson caught six passes for 30 yards. Roberson is a native of Texas, so moving to SMU will bring him a little closer to home than Morgantown, West Virginia can offer.
Syracuse recruiting director Asil Mulbah is heading to the NFL. With an announcement on Instagram, Mulbah announced he is joining the scouting department with the NFL’s Buffalo Bills.
“Excited to announce that I have accepted a position in the Buffalo Bills Scouting Department,” Mulbah said in his statement. “I’d like to thank Coach Babers, the SU football staff, and the players for an amazing two seasons filled with memories I will cherish for the rest of my life.”
Mulbah has previous NFL scouting experience with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He has been a part of the Syracuse program since 2016. Prior to his arrival at Syracuse under head coach Dino Babers, Mulbah made stops at Wake Forest and Bowling Green.
Nebraska has a handful of centers vying for the starting job in the middle of the offensive line this season. However, one of those options will not be Michael Decker. On Saturday morning, via Twitter, Decker announced he is retiring from playing football. Decker was a starting center for the Huskers last season.
“Over the past [six] months, I have taken a step back and looked at my future career goals and decided that I can no longer [accomodate] football’s commitments,” Decker said in his statement. “It is finally time to see that these aspirations outweighed the lacking desire to continue playing the game. Which, given the team’s goals, would only hurt them by my participation.”
Decker started five games for Nebraska at the center position in 2017 as a sophomore. A knee injury in October brought his season to a premature end. That injury also sidelined Decker for Nebraska spring football this season, leaving his future with the program and the game in doubt.
Nebraska is now moving forward with 14 offensive linemen on scholarship. Hunter Miller seemed to get the most opportunities in the spring to work with the first-team offense, but Nebraska also expects to have Cole Conrad back for the fall. Conrad started seven games for Nebraska last fall.
Masato Uchida, the head coach of Nihon University’s national championship football team in Japan, has resigned as head coach of the program in response to a devastating hit delivered by one of his players on an opposing quarterback in a recent game against rival Kwansei Gakuin.
A Nihon defender well behind a pass play sped toward a quarterback well after an attempted pass. With the quarterback leisurely jogging toward the sideline, the Nihon defender tackled the unsuspecting quarterback from behind at the legs. You can watch the video of the hit, which went viral in Japan, on YouTube. The quarterback was forced to leave the game and it has been reported recovery from ligament damage in his spine could take three weeks. Fortunately, no nerve damage was discovered.
“The responsibility for this series of problems lies directly with me. I will resign as head coach,” Uchida said on Saturday, according to the Associated Press. “I am quitting for the sake of the young players. We must create a new Nichidai. After the incident, I did not warn my players and that is my responsibility. It was my poor judgment.”
Officials from Kwansei Gakuin accused Nihon of intentionally trying to hurt the quarterback, but Uchida initially refuted such allegations. In light of the controversial hit, three games for Nihon have been canceled due to upcoming opponents opting not to play against them. The Kantoh Collegiate Football Association announced additional cancellations as well.