Johnny Manziel won the 2012 Heisman Trophy. He played QB at Texas A&M and was the first-ever freshman to win the award.
Johnny Manziel signed autographs for fans at a Tristar Productions event at NRG Arena in Houston in June of 2021. He interviewed for The Game Before the Money afterwards.
SI Vault tweeted a photo of Manziel wearing a Brett Favre jersey and Packers helmet when he was four years old. That assured me that he grew up like most of us, a huge football fan who loved watching his favorite players.
Who Were Johnny Manziel’s Favorite Players As a Kid?
“Probably Vince Young,” Manziel said. “Vince Young or Reggie Bush.”
A future Heisman winner cheering for Reggie Bush seems like a natural pick. Having a Texas Longhorn as a favorite might be a surprise to a lot of Texas A&M fans. Manziel, however, grew up in Texas at a time when Vince Young made his own history with a national championship.
Colt Brennan “An Absolute Clinic” at QB
Manziel added that another college quarterback also stood as one of his favorites. “I got to watch a lot of very, very good football through the early 2000s. Colt Brennan, rest in peace, Colt Brennan was an absolute clinic at the quarterback position when I was growing up.”
A lot of great football players mimic their peers in terms of approaching the game and performance. Manziel extended plays much like Vince Young did.
He also proved himself an excellent runner, likely influenced by Reggie Bush’s fantastic runs at USC. Remarkably, Manziel led the SEC in rushing in 2012, racking up 1,410 yards to top future NFL running backs Todd Gurley and Eddie Lacy, who finished second and third in the SEC that year. Manziel also led the SEC with 7.0 yards per rushing attempt. Only in the 2006 season did Bush top Manziel’s 2012 rushing stats in yardage and yards per carry.
How much might Manziel have learned from Hawaii’s Colt Brennan? Both Brennan and Manziel led their conferences in pass completions and completion percentage for two seasons. Pass completions are often overlooked stat in Johnny Manziel’s career log, despite him winning the SEC completion percentage title for both of his years at Texas A&M. In 2013, his 69.9 rate of completions placed him third nationally. Brennan led the nation in completion percentage for two seasons and still holds the NCAA single-season record after the 2020 season, with 72.6% in 2006.
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The Tristar Productions event was a huge success and very fun to attend. In addition to Johnny Manziel, the event was attended by 2021 Hall of Fame inductee Drew Pearson and his fellow Dallas Cowboys legend, Bob Lilly. Those two weren’t the only Hall of Famers in attendance, as Willie Roaf, one of the greatest offensive tackles in NFL history, was also there. So was 1982 NFL MVP Mark Moseley and 1978 Heisman Trophy winner, Billy Sims. Several baseball stars such as Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio were also on hand, along with current NFL players Jalen Hurts, Davis Mills, and Ja’marr Chase.