— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 3, 2013
This should come as very little surprise to those who have been following the meteoric rise of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, but for those wondering, experts Adam Schefter and Kirk Herbstreit both believe Johnny Football will be headed off to the NFL following his redshirt sophomore season in College Station.
With good reason. Manziel began the Aggies’ 2013 campaign as a total unknown and ended it as the all-time SEC leader in single-season yardage (5,116) and as the first freshman to ever win the Heisman Trophy.
Since, Manziel has been partying like he’s already getting paid. NBA analyst Steve Kerr called Manziel out for sitting courtside at both Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks games, saying that those tickets were pretty pricey for a college kid. After that, as well as several raging parties on Halloween and New Year’s Eve, Manziel’s parents were called into the A&M athletic directors office to talk about actually growing up.
Finally, beyond Manziel’s underaged antics is the sticky issue of his now-famous nickname, Johnny Football. His family’s company is in the process of trademarking it, and whether or not he can collect compensation is a murky subject. Should his family and those currently selling merchandise with Johnny Football on it settle out of court, the NCAA will allow him to keep the money. Anything else are dollars he cannot take, but it will be incredibly difficult proving his amateur status with money coming in, no matter the source.
Thus, Manziel will likely unfetter himself as quickly as possible. The NFL has its longstanding “three years out” rule, meaning no player can enter the NFL Draft or sign with a franchise until he is three years removed from high school. The 2013 season will serve as Manziel’s third in Aggieland.
Apparently, the 12th Man should already be preparing itself for life post-Manziel — NFL scouts already are.
Here is how Shefter sees Manziel’s pro prospects shaping up:
One NFL talent evaluator compared Manziel to former Duke standout Bobby Hurley, saying he’s the best point guard in America, able to dish it off or take the ball to the hoop himself with his rare athletic instincts.
Alabama coach Nick Saban once compared Manziel to Doug Flutie, though NFL scouts do not believe the Texas A&M quarterback has the same type of arm strength. One scout said Manziel, who’s listed as 6-1, is more like Fran Tarkenton, able to scramble or throw the ball pretty accurately.
NFL scouts are uneasy about his Manziel’s size.
They also are uncertain how high he’ll wind up going when he turns pro or what type of quarterback he’ll be, given that he’s only a redshirt freshman. But even NFL evaluators are enamored with watching Manziel work his magic.
Expect this to be a closely-watched, ever-evolving story as the season unfolds. At 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, he is smaller than RGIII, who starred with the Redskins but sustained several injuries against bigger and faster pro defenses.
That being said, Manziel’s Aggies play host to mighty Alabama in Week 2. If Johnny Football can continue to work that magic Shefter talks about, there’s no telling how high the young gunslinger’s draft stock will rise.