Left school as a third-year sophomore. Won 2012 Heisman Trophy. 2012 Davey OBrien Award Winner as nation's top quarterback. Two-time First-Team All-SEC. 2013: Finished fifth in Heisman voting. Started all 13 games. Led team in rushing with 759 yards. Suspended for first half of opener vs. Rice for violating NCAA bylaw saying student-athletes cannot permit their manes or likenesses to be used for commercial purposes. 2012: First Freshman to ever win Heisman Trophy. SEC Offensive Player of the Year. SEC Freshman of the Year. First Team All-SEC. Led the team in rushing with 1,410 yards. 2011: Redshirted. High School: A three-star player who was also recruited by Oregon. Misc: Arrested on June 29, 2012 for showing fake ID to police after getting into a fight at a College Station bar. Pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charge of failing to properly identify himself to police.
Has big hands and grips the ball well on the move. Dynamic athlete. Exceptional game-day competitor -- rises to the occasion. Has a passion for the game. Played on the biggest of stages and revels in having his back against the wall. Stepped up against a national championship Alabama defense in 2012 and has proven he can command come-from-behind victories, as he capped his career in the Chick-fil-A bowl vs. Duke by overcoming a 21-point halftime deficit. Sufficient timing, ball placement and accuracy (68.9 percent career passing percentage). Terrific scrambling ability. Reverse spins and buys time in the pocket while continuing to scan the field -- can still set his feet, alter his throwing motion and manipulate his arm and throwing platform. Houdini-like escapability (uses subtle, nifty sidestep moves) and improvisational ability in the pocket to pull a rabbit out of his hat and create magic. Has peripheral, wide-eyed running vision (sometimes appears to have eyes in back of his head) and a very good feel for spacing. Carries the ball with a fearless confidence that he will find a way to create and usually gains positive yardage on broken plays when he appears trapped. Is mentally and physically tough -- will pop back up from hard collisions and respond to a challenge. Record-setting and award-winning two-year production. Has a knack for sustaining drives and possesses playmaking ability to create on third downs and in critical situations to keep the sticks moving. Exceptional pro day performance, displaying much improved footwork in the pocket, superb deep-ball accuracy and arm strength and supreme confidence on a big stage.
Has an unorthodox body type with marginal height, rounded shoulders and an underdeveloped body. Will need to learn to do a better job protecting his body and sliding. Feels pocket ghosts and often takes off running at the first flash of coverage. Undisciplined -- plays his own offense and presses to make plays. Cannot see over the pocket easily and almost never steps up into it, creating extra difficulties for OL coaches to coordinate blocking schemes and for offensive linemen to anticipate where the pocket will be. Dances around the pocket too much and creates needless sacks rolling into protection when the pocket is clean. Struggled vs. LSU and Missouri when he was forced to stay inside the pocket. Has not worked from under center, and footwork and set-up will require refinement. Often throws the ball up in the air and relies on big receivers to adjust to it and make plays, highly benefiting from the playmaking ability of a talented supporting cast featuring Mike Evans and an offensive line stocked with first-round talent. Tends to overshoot the deep ball and throw off his back foot, leading to some underthrows (too many dirtballs on the move) and diminished accuracy. Needlessly pats the ball when he scans the field. Could stand to do a better job carrying out play-action fakes. Has not developed a reputation as a worker or for doing the extras. Suspect intangibles -- not a leader by example or known to inspire by his words. Carries a sense of entitlement and prima-donna arrogance seeking out the bright lights of Hollywood. Is known to party too much and is drawn to all the trappings of the game. Lacks ideal starting experience (only two years), operated a non-traditional offense and has a lot to learn.
A once-in-a-generation, run-around, ad-lib, sandlot-style quarterback who consistently won games playing a brand of fast-paced, jailbreak football that often goes off script and can be difficult both to game plan with and against. Is most comfortable on the move outside the pocket where he can find open throwing lanes and see the field and will command mush rush and extra spy defenders. Has defied the odds and proven to be a great college-system quarterback, but still must prove he is willing to work to be great, adjust his hard-partying, Hollywood lifestyle and be able to inspire his teammates by more than his playmaking ability. Overall character, leadership ability and work habits will define his NFL career. Rare competitiveness and third-down efficiency could carry him a long way, yet he could be challenged to avoid a crash-and-burn scenario if he does not settle down and mature. A high-risk, high-reward pick, Manziel stands to benefit from entering the NFL at a time when moving pockets are trending. No other quarterback can change the tempo of a game better if a demanding head coach feels confident he can manage the risk.