Johnny Manziel was a virtual unknown at this time last year. He was trying to win the starting QB job at Texas A&M. His June 2012 arrest barely made news outside of Texas. But his coach fought for him, and Manziel won the starting QB job. After upsetting Alabama in November, he became a National name. He won the Heisman in December. Though we saw glimpses during the season, Manziel remained somewhat of an engima. Texas A&M kept him locked away from the media. Given free reign from December forward, he made up for lost time.
Below is a timeline from the Heisman forward. Manziel has played just 60 minutes of football over the subsequent eight months. But he has had no trouble staying in the headlines.
December 2012: Manziel won the Heisman, despite an SI writer leaving him off the ballot entirely. He read the Top 10 list on David Letterman. He later did the Tonight Show where he gave Megan Fox a Texas A&M baby jersey. He also was spotted courtside at a Mavs game, which caused Steve Kerr to ask some questions.
January 2013: Manziel celebrated the New Year, legally, with his parents. Then, he blew away Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl, to the delight of Gus Johnson. He was spotted courtside with his model girlfriend at the Houston Rockets game. He partied with Rick Ross. He also taped a trick shot video at Kyle Field with the Dude Perfect guys. Sounds like a fun Winter Break.
February 2013: Manziel reveals he’s taking an entire slate of online courses to avoid the stress of attending classes on campus.
March 2013: Manziel attends a Drake concert in Toronto, calls it the highlight of his offseason. He later goes on Spring Break. Social media spotted him bro-ing out hard, hanging out with multiple groups of bikini clad fans in Cabo. The backlash began here, as well. Reports emerged that Manziel shoved a graduate student and threw interceptions in Spring Practice. An Orlando columnist suggested he should be the last freshman to receive the Heisman.
June 2013: Manziel put in the obligatory offseason quarterbacking session with guru George Whitfield. He attended Game 2 of the NBA Finals, not courtside. He tweeted a cryptic comment about wanting to leave Texas A&M. He later revealed this was frustration over a campus parking ticket. Bruce Feldman reveals Manziel refers to a member of his entourage as “Turtle.” A columnist accuses him of undergoing “social implosion.” He also referenced a vacation in Oregon.
July 2013: Manziel is asked to leave the Manning Academy, presumably due to some form of hangover, perhaps after partying with A.J. McCarron, that caused him to miss a morning session. Media members set their sights on him, comparing him to Ryan Leaf, among others.
There’s no specific incident that’s worrisome or in any way indicative of a “social implosion.” He is, in many respects, “just a 20-year-old.” If he doesn’t get it yet, this 6+ month experience may help him. The bigger worry with Manziel is just over-extending himself.
Manziel did all of the above, in addition to being a full-time college student and a college quarterback. He spoke of exhaustion and wanting to spend some time in College Station, while popping in for SEC Media Day en route to the ESPYs in Los Angeles. We’re not sure what Teddy Bridgewater, Jadeveon Clowney, T.J. Yeldon and others have been doing this summer (probably a good thing). But we’re guessing they aren’t getting as many frequent flier upgrades.