That ride for Manziel started when he was suspended for the first half of the Aggies’ season opener against Rice for what the school said was an “inadvertent” violation of NCAA rules involving signing autographs.
The quarterback was investigated for allegedly accepting money for autographs from memorabilia brokers, a violation of NCAA rules that could have led to a much longer suspension.
He shook off his early season drama to throw for 3,723 yards and 33 touchdowns and led the team in rushing with 686 yards and eight more scores. He threw more touchdown passes, had more yards passing, a better completion percentage and averaged more yards an attempt than he did in 2012.
He’s third in the nation in total offense with 368.2 yards a game and fourth in pass efficiency.
Manziel dealt with various nagging injuries this season and said this week that he’s getting better as the Aggies have some time off before facing Duke in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl on Dec. 31. His thumb injury is still bothering him the most, but he said it isn’t anything that would keep him out of the bowl game.
Manziel continued to spend time with quarterback guru George Whitfield to work on becoming a more polished quarterback.
“I wanted to come back and be a better quarterback, not just a guy who some people say is a good athlete,” he said. “I never wanted to be labeled as that. So to work hard with coach Whitfield multiple times this summer to put in the work I thought... to get where I needed to be.”
Left tackle Jake Matthews has enjoyed blocking for Manziel and said his ability to evade tackles makes his job much easier.
“It’s fun to watch him run around the field and see the things he does to the other guys,” Matthews said. “I just try to give him as much time as I can and let him make the plays.”