For months now, the nation has been mesmerized by Texas A&M quarterback Johnny "Football" Manziel. However, no one had heard the freshman quarterback speak because of coach Kevin Sumlin's policy that limits freshman media availability.
Monday, Manziel spoke with reporters in an hour-long teleconference, marking the first time the Heisman favorite has spoken with the media all season.
"Nice to be able to talk to you all," Manziel said on the conference call Monday (via LA Times).
Manziel's personality has remained a mystery for college football fans this season, but the thoughtfulness, poise and eloquence he displayed while answering questions for the first time will likely only add to the support he garners for being the first freshman college football player ever to win the Heisman Trophy.
When asked about his now wildly popular Johnny Football nickname, Manziel said (via USA Today):
I don't see myself as Johnny Football, I still see myself as Johnathan Manziel, a small-town guy from Kerrville, Texas, who's extremely fortunate and extremely blessed to play football here at A&M.
Manziel has thrown for 24 touchdowns, rushed for another 19 and accounts for a whopping 383 yards of total offense per game for the Aggies. He also broke Cam Newton's SEC record for total offense in a season with 4,600 yards.
On top of that, Manziel also has an upset of then-No. 1 Alabama under his belt.
Johnny Football remained humble throughout the conference, and when asked if he considers himself the frontrunner for the Heisman, he said:
I don't know if that's the case, and I feel like that situation will play itself out. Whatever is meant to be will happen. So I'm just doing whatever Coach Sumlin asks me to do in terms of lifting and getting ready for bowl practice and making sure our team stays focused and can hopefully take care of business in the bowl game.
Manziel currently leads USA Today Sports' survey of Heisman voters this week, garnering 22 of 37 possible first-place votes to edge Notre Dame's Manti Te'o by a considerable margin.
Johnny Football has has had a record-setting season, and after the Heisman vote on Dec. 10, the Aggies signal-caller will likely have a new nickname—Johnny Heisman.
Manziel concluded the conference by saying:
This season has been incredibly surreal and beyond my wildest imagination. But it's a true testament to how this team has grown each and every week, because without those guys, my individual success wouldn't mean anything.
What do you think? Does putting a voice behind a Heisman candidate add to their likeability? Is Johnny Football everything you expected him to be? Let us know in the comments below.
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