Johnny Manziel announced Wednesday that he'll enter the 2014 NFL Draft, bringing an official end to one of the most prolific two-year college football careers ever for a quarterback. The Texas A&M star leaves the Aggies with two years of college eligibility remaining, but projects as a first-round pick in the May 8-10 draft.
Manziel made the announcement in a letter titled "Thank you, Aggieland!" posted at texags.com:
"After long discussions with my family, friends, teammates, and coaches, I have decided to make myself available for the 2014 NFL Draft. The decision was not an easy one. 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. 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 years. The Heisman Trophy belongs as much to you as it does to me. My teammates and I never doubted the value or the deep and real spirit of The 12th Man. It is not a myth. Anyone one has ever played football for Texas A&M knows that passion is real.
"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. While there are many wonderful memories I will take with me -- big wins, surprising upsets, and Bowl victories -- I most cherish standing arm in arm with my teammates during the postgame, singing the alma mater, or jumping into the stands to feel real Aggie spirit. 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. And when it does, you can bet I will be with you to cheer and celebrate. I'll probably be the loudest one there.
"Thank you for making my college years very special. The faces, the friends, the fans, and the experience will forever be an important part of my life. Gig 'em Aggies! I'll always love you guys."
Manziel's decision was first reported by NFL Media analyst Gil Brandt on Dec. 30, and Brandt confirmed Wednesday that Manziel's paperwork for early entry declaration had been received. The Aggies also have lost Manziel's favorite receiver, 6-foot-5 Mike Evans, to early draft entry.
Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin gave Manziel the highest of praise in a release by the school.
"In all of my years of coaching, Johnny Manziel is the most exciting football player I have ever seen," Sumlin said. "We appreciate everything he has done for Texas A&M and Aggie football and wish him nothing but the best."
The school also released a tribute video to Manziel's career, replete with highlights:
Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.