Last year, once the 2012 college football season was over, the 2013 Johnny Football season began, and for those of us in the blog and radio business, life was good.
You could count on it. Almost weekly, there would be at least one episode of Johnny Manziel going to Cabo, or going to Austin, or appearing in a country music video, or on and on and on.... Then, the chicanery went from college kid stuff to potential college program killing stuff (autographs for pay), and somewhere around that time Johnny Football decided to grow up.
And that really sucked.
From about the time the 2013 season started, Johnny Manziel has managed to stay in his shoes and as a result, after his announcement last week that he'll be heading to the NFL, he is cued up to possibly be the number one pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. The off the field deal that was such a big part of the Johnny Football Experience has all but dried up, his heightened self awareness becoming the bane of the collective existence of everyone responsible for reams of content every day.
So as Manziel basks in his newfound maturity, months away from a multimillion dollar payday, it was no surprise when this was tweeted out on Friday:
— Johnny Manziel (@JManziel2) January 10, 2014
For those of us in the content generation business, this was the final Manziel blow, his wisdom the Death Star to our snark's Alderaan. There will be no drunken escapades, random Vines, or constant reminders that "he's just a kid." Johnny's off to San Diego, but it's not to hang in the Gaslamp District.
It's business time.
Bruce Feldman of CBS reports that Manziel does indeed plan to move to San Diego for the next few months to train with his private quarterback coach George Whitfield, who coincidentally has tutored the last two quarterbacks taken with the first overall pick in the draft, Cam Newton in 2011 and Andrew Luck in 2012.
Whitfield's influence was probably more profound on Newton than Luck, who was already considered a polished passer from about the end of his sophomore year at Stanford, and Newton is probably the doppelgänger for Manziel in terms of what potential objections Whitfield will help him address come combine and workout time.
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Newton was a mobile quarterback playing in what was perceived to be a more college friendly system at Auburn when he won the 2010 Heisman, and he went into the draft process with many questions surrounding scheme and off the field stuff. A lot like Manziel, just about five inches taller.
Manziel told Feldman, "I'm ready to become a professional and dedicate myself to making my dream a reality of becoming the best quarterback I can be." I suppose if this is what Manziel has to do to become "Texans worthy" and become Whitfield's third number one overall selection in four years, then so be it. But with Manziel growing up before our eyes, and Aaron Hernandez incarcerated, the King of Content for 2014 better reveal himself soon. REAL soon.
Because it appears Johnny Football is actually (gasp!) focused on football.