Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, aka "Johnny Football," declared for the National Football League draft Wednesday, deciding to leave school early after his sophomore season with the Aggies.
"After long discussions with my family, friends, teammates, and coaches, I have decided to make myself available for the 2014 NFL draft," Manziel said in a thank you letter posted on TexAgs.com
. "The decision was not an easy one, but we all felt this was the right time to make the next step toward a professional career."
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In 2012, Manziel became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy after setting numerous school and Southeastern Conference records. He led Texas A&M to an 11-2 record, including a win over top-ranked Alabama. In what turned out to be the final game of his collegiate career, Manziel led A&M to a 52-48 come-from-behind win over Duke in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl on New Year's Eve. The Aggies trailed 38-17 at halftime. Manziel threw for 382 yards, including four touchdown passes. He also ran for 73 yards and a touchdown.
He was suspended for the 2013 season opener for what the school called an "inadvertent" NCAA rules violation, when he allegedly accepted money for autographs from memorabilia sellers. Despite that, he led the SEC with 4,114 yards and 37 touchdowns, and added a team-leading 759 yards rushing and nine more scores. A finalist for another Heisman, Manziel finished fifth for 2013 as the award went to Florida State's Jameis Winston.
"In all of my years of coaching, Johnny Manziel is the most exciting football player I have ever seen," Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin said in a statement
. "We appreciate everything he has done for Texas A&M and Aggie football and wish him nothing but the best."
Draft experts have weighed in on where Manziel might fall in the draft. SI.com's Chris Burke tagged him as the third overall pick,
going to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
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