On Wednesday, NFL.com writer and analyst Gil Brandt reported that the redshirt sophomore from Texas A&M officially submitted declaration papers to the NFL for the 2014 draft, part of a record 80 underclassmen. Manziel has reportedly picked Select Sports Group to handle his NFL contract negotiations and Maverick Carter, who works closely with NBA superstar Lebron James, to handle his marketing.
In a letter to the Aggie faithful on Wednesday, Manziel officially declared his intent to enter the draft, while also waxing poetic about his time in College Station.
"Anyone who has ever watched a football game at Kyle Field knows that leaving that atmosphere, those Saturdays with excitement, color and noise, will be hard for me," wrote Manziel. "I cannot begin to tell you what the support of the school, my teammates, Coach Sumlin, Chancellor Sharp and the fans has meant to me over the last two year."
Manziel led the Aggies to a 9-4 record in 2013, including a thrilling 52-48 comeback win over the Duke Blue Devils in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on New Years Eve in Atlanta.
"I promise you I will always be an Aggie. I will always try to make you as proud of me in the NFL as I did at Texas A&M," Manziel continued. "I regret we weren't able to bring a National Championship to College Station, but I assure you a championship is going to come soon with Coach Sumlin and these talented players."
Johnny Football closed the letter, "Gig 'em Aggies! I'll always love you guys."
Manziel had a huge impact on the Aggies. The team went 7-6 in 2011, their last season in the Big 12, before heading to the SEC in 2012, where they finished 11-2 under new coach Kevin Sumlin. The Aggies finished 5th in the Associated Press poll that year.
“In all of my years of coaching, Johnny Manziel is the most exciting football player I have ever seen,” Aggie head coach Kevin Sumlin said. “We appreciate everything he has done for Texas A&M and Aggie football and wish him nothing but the best.”
Manziel, who hails from Tyler, was the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner and will have a strong marketing draw for whichever NFL team drafts him. He has already established a marketing company, which filed for the "Johnny Football" trademark last February.
NFLDraftScout.com rates Manziel as the eighth-overall player in this year's draft and would likely be a top 10 selection. The quarterback joins fellow signal-callers Teddy Bridgewater from Louisville and Blake Bortles of UCF, who both announced they will enter the draft early.
One of Manziel's favorite targets in 2013, wide receiver Mike Evans, declared for the draft early as well. Evans is ranked as the number two available wide receiver behind only Clemson's Sammy Watkins. Evans is also expected to be a first round selection.
In his two seasons as a starter for the Aggies, Manziel accounted for just under 10,000 yards of total offense, after amassing an SEC single-season record of 5,116 in 2012. As a sophomore, Manziel was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy and finished fifth in the voting. He was also a finalist for the O’Brien, Walter Camp Player of the Year, Maxwell Award, Manning Award, Hornung Award and the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award.
The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft is Jan 15.
Monday, September 1 2014 2:00 AM EDT2014-09-01 06:00:48 GMT
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