Nobody in College Station will be surprised if future Texas A&M quarterbacks hailed as "the next Johnny Manziel" amount to a string of mildly electrifying players that never quite measure up to Johnny Football. But Aggies offensive coordinator Jake Spavital has already invoked the former Heisman Trophy winner's name in describing Kyler Murray, a TAMU freshman quarterback competing with sophomore Kyle Allen for a starting role this fall.
"He's a special player," Spavital said, per the Houston Chronicle. "The thing that is pretty impressive with him is sometimes when he doesn't know what's going on exactly when you're throwing a lot of new plays out there -- he has a football savvy to him -- he'll drop back if the pocket collapses and he just turns and goes and makes something happen, very similar to how Johnny used to play."
OK, so Spavital didn't quite put Manziel-like expectations on a freshman who has only been through a couple of practices at the college level. But with Manziel's exploits in College Station still relatively fresh in the minds of Aggies fans, a style comparison alone is enough to get people excited.
Allen is more of a pocket passer and gained valuable experience last year when Kenny Hill lost the starting quarterback job around midseason. Spavital said he's told pro scouts that Allen compares more to the Atlanta Falcons' Matt Ryan. Allen showed promise last season in starting Texas A&M's last five games. He threw 16 touchdown passes last season, four of them in a wild 41-38 win over Auburn that was Allen's signature game as a starter.
But if Spavital and head coach Kevin Sumlin determine they need more mobility and improvisation at the quarterback position than Allen can provide, Murray gives them their most Manziel-like option.