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Opinion: The next generation

National title hopes don't follow Manziel out the door

Published: Sunday, January 12, 2014

Updated: Sunday, January 12, 2014 22:01


Bryan Johnson

Quarterback Johnny Manziel will forego two years of eligibility and declare for the NFL draft.

Being an Aggie fan throughout the early 2000s was not the easiest task. Overwhelmed by an immense amount of Texas T-shirt fans, the fans of Texas A&M, young and old, waited patiently for their time. Insert Kevin Sumlin and Johnny Manziel. The dynamic duo found a way to transform our traditionally known “hick” and “uncool” University into the cool place to be, and dare I say, the new powerhouse in Texas.

Since Kevin Sumlin and the explosion of the Johnny Football saga, recruiting has been at an all-time high. Blue-chip recruits are committing to A&M over top schools in the nation, including that other school in Austin. Currently, A&M holds the No. 2 recruiting class in the nation, trailing only Alabama.

Think of the recruiting success as mixing a drink. The glass is the University. Start with a large quantity of Kevin Sumlin, the recruiting mastermind and “swagcopter” CEO, add a Heisman-winning quarterback, a splash of a $450 million playground renovation, along with state-of-the-art facilities and you have a pretty tasty pitch. Who wouldn’t want to drink that?
Aggies everywhere need to thank and stand by Manziel as he takes the next step to the NFL — not just for his mind-altering plays on the gridiron, but for what he has done for the University. Whether ESPN is talking about Manziel’s latest tweet or about being the first freshman to win the Heisman, A&M is in the limelight and now one of the premier names in all of college football, a large part of which came by the arm and legs of No. 2.

With Manziel announcing his eligibility for the 2014 NFL draft this April, Aggie national championship hopes are not leaving with him. Manziel wasn’t the peak of Aggie football, he was the turning point of Aggie football. And this year’s recruiting class proves that.

A&M has addressed the need on the defensive line by getting a verbal commitment from the No. 5 overall recruit and No. 1 ranked defensive end in nation, Myles Garrett. Being tabbed “The Incredible Hulk” while being compared to Jadeveon Clowney, it’s safe to say the man is a freak (and I mean that in the best way possible). In the Under Armour All-American game, Garrett posted an impressive six tackles, including one sack and four tackles for loss.

With Garrett’s explosive quickness and massive 6-foot-5, 247 pound frame, it wouldn’t be a stretch to think Garrett will make an instant impact on the Aggie defensive line the minute he steps foot on campus.

More good news came from the UA All-American game when the No. 8 overall player and No. 1 athlete in the nation, Speedy Noil, shocked many people by choosing Texas A&M over home-state favorite LSU.

Noil is a lightning quick player who defines the word versatile. At Edna Carr High School in New Orleans, La., Noil played quarterback, running back and wide receiver — excelling at all three positions. His blazing speed was on display at the UA All-American game where he posted three catches for 90 yards and a touchdown. Be on the lookout for the “Speedy Gonzalez” package featuring A&M’s two speedsters, LaQuvionte Gonzalez and Noil, next season.

The 6-foot-7 wide receiver Frank Iheanacho (“Nacho” is going to be the next great nickname) added his name to the long list of talented A&M recruits when he announced his intent to attend A&M. Iheanacho is a big, strong outside threat that will combine with 6-foot-5 Ricky Seals-Jones to help fill the shoes of Mike Evans, who will be joining Manziel in the NFL Draft.

The 2014 recruiting class has many more big names and explosive talent and the 2015 class is already shaping up to be a dandy.

Manziel and Sumlin created a standard at Texas A&M and the most talented high school football players in the nation are noticing. So sit back and enjoy being the “it” university in Texas, because college football kickoff is only 226 days away.


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