Johnny Manziel's Heroics vs. Oklahoma a Sign of What's to Come in 2013

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IJanuary 5, 2013

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 04:  Johnny Manziel #2 of the Texas A&M Aggies runs the ball against the Oklahoma Sooners during the Cotton Bowl at Cowboys Stadium on January 4, 2013 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

It's natural for college football fans to ooh and aah when Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel takes off from the pocket or launches a deep pass down the sideline. But in 2013, those jaw-dropping plays, which seem to happen much more often when No. 2 is on the field, will become commonplace in College Station and across the SEC.

I don't mean that Manziel's highlights will become ordinary in the sense that others will make them, but mundane considering how we'll come to expect that from Johnny Football.

Closing out his Heisman Trophy-winning season in style, the sensational redshirt freshman not only beat mighty Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl on Friday, but he shredded the Sooners, embarrassing Bob Stoops' defense to the tune of 516 total yards and four total touchdowns.

Thanks to Manziel's heroics, a tight, 14-13 game at halftime ended 41-13, in favor of the Aggies. 

But with the closing of the first chapter in the book of Manziel comes the opening of another. So, what does Johnny Football have in store for us in 2013?

Well, we saw a pretty lengthy, scary preview on Friday night in Arlington. After watching the 20-year-old dominate for four more quarters, I'm convinced that the sky truly is the limit for Manziel, and that no matter how stunning his 2012 statistics (5,116 total yards, 47 total touchdowns), things are only going to improve as he learns to exploit weaknesses in opposing defenses and gains more experience at the college level.

This tweet from ESPN's SportsCenter pretty much sums up the hard-to-believe reality as it pertains to Johnny Manziel:

Friendly reminder to college football fans...Johnny Manziel has 3 YEARS of eligibility left. #JohnnyFootball

— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 5, 2013

Sure, the SEC is the roughest and toughest conference in all of college football, but Manziel has already proven to be the SEC's top player in just his first season. Can we really expect him to start flinching in year No. 2?

Not a chance. 

To believe that any defense is going to "catch on" or "figure out" Manziel would be foolish. Johnny Football's success doesn't hinge on gimmicks or luck, but rather talent and skill. He is not a predictable runner like Tim Tebow, but a lethal dual threat, much more similar to past college stars like Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III.

You can't teach speed, and Manziel's certainly can't be matched. His arm strength and his accuracy are also tremendous (3,706 passing yards and 26 passing touchdowns) and are only going to get better during his sophomore campaign. And perhaps the most valuable of all Manziel's traits, his sixth sense to know what to do and when to do it, isn't going anywhere anytime soon. 

So, if you ask me, Manziel's unforgettable performance against Oklahoma on Friday night is nothing more than a sign of things to come in 2013 and beyond.


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