The legend of Johnny Football has grown all season while Johnny Manziel piled up yards and the Texas A&M Aggies piled up wins.
On Monday, the freshman quarterback finally weighed in on his catchy nickname as he spoke to the media for the first time all season.
“I think a lot of people here in Aggieland enjoy it,” he said. “But I find it extremely funny.”
The success of Manziel and the Aggies is no joke. His 4,600 yards of total offense have helped No. 10 A&M to its first 10-win season since 1998, and has him among the top contenders for the Heisman Trophy.
Manziel said he respected coach Kevin Sumlin’s decision for him not to speak to the media this season because he’s a freshman. But says he’s happy to have a chance to talk about this season.
“It’s kind of nice now to be able to kind of let you guys know how I am a little bit more,” he said. “There’s so many question marks out there.”
Sumlin, who is in his first year at A&M after four seasons at Houston, raved about Manziel and said he was a catalyst for what his team was able to do in its first season in the Southeastern Conference.
“He’s a tremendous competitor and a tremendous leader, and that’s something that you really don’t see in a player as a redshirt freshman,” Sumlin said. “His leadership on and off the field throughout the season has made our season a real successful one.”
Manziel has thrown for 3,419 yards and 24 touchdowns and ran for 1,181 yards and 19 more scores in a regular-season the Aggies capped with five straight wins including an upset of then top-ranked Alabama. He is second in the nation in total offense and broke Cam Newton’s SEC record for total offense in a season on Saturday.
The quarterback is a bit surprised at how well Texas A&M did in its transition from the Big 12.
“I don’t think I ever really envisioned how big this season would be for us,” he said. “I don’t really think anybody envisioned that we would win 10 games at the beginning of this season and that we would all have so much success as a team.”
McCoy to start for Texas
Texas coach Mack Brown says Case McCoy will start at quarterback this week for the No. 23 Longhorns at No. 7 Kansas State.
Starter David Ash is listed as questionable after a rib injury in last week’s loss to TCU. Ash had three turnovers in the first half in one of his worst games of the season.
Murray imposes media blackout
With Georgia one win away from playing for a national championship, quarterback Aaron Murray has suddenly imposed a media blackout.
The school said Monday that Murray met with coach Mark Richt and got permission to be relieved from his media responsibilities leading up to the Southeastern Conference championship game between the third-ranked Bulldogs (11-1) and No. 2 Alabama (11-1).
The winner of Saturday’s game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta will advance to face top-ranked Notre Dame for the BCS title (12-0).
Murray has always been one of Georgia’s most accessible players, usually meeting with the media on Tuesdays and after games. But he gave a hint that his approach would change when he didn’t hang around following last week’s win over Georgia Tech, appearing to catch the sports information staff off guard.
One of his best friends, linebacker Christian Robinson, said Murray simply wants to make sure his entire focus is on beating the Crimson Tide.
“I don’t think this has anything to do with the media,” Robinson said. “I don’t think he’s trying to send message. It’s just something he decided to do this week as far as being prepared.”
Around the nation
No. 5 Florida probably will be without linebacker Jelani Jenkins (broken bone in right foot) for the team’s bowl game. … Pitt football coach Paul Chryst dismissed redshirt freshman defensive back Stephen Williams from the team for disciplinary reasons two days after city police charged him with assaulting a woman who claimed to be his girlfriend. …