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Johnny Manziel: If NIL was around in 2014, the story potentially ends differently

IMG_0985by:Griffin McVeigh08/11/23


Billy Liucci Interview Final

Before NIL was a thing, Johnny Manziel was NIL. The most polarizing figure in college football during his time at Texas A&M, it’s easy to believe what type of money Manziel would have brought in during today’s climate. He certainly would have been near the top of On3’s NIL 100 if not easily in the top spot.

Manziel left College Station after the 2013 season to go cash out in the NFL. However, Billy Liucci of TexAgs admitted to On3’s Andy Staples that Manziel was not ready to play at the next level. Had NIL been around nearly a decade ago, Texas A&M would have gotten one more year out of Manziel.

And the payday likely would have been insane.

“I think the biggest thing with NIL and Johnny Manziel is he would have stayed one more year,” Liucci said. “A&M would have paid him God knows what to stay one more year.”

In today’s world, Texas quarterback Arch Manning has the highest NIL Valuation in college football, sitting at $2.9 million. But he has not even taken a snap in Austin. Manziel would have been on a completely different level after the performance he put together.

Texas A&M finished with 11 wins in 2012, tied for the second most in program history. Taking down Alabama in Tuscaloosa is an iconic moment in college football during the Aggies’ first-ever season in the SEC.

Had it not been for two losses by a combined eight points against Florida and LSU, Manziel would have led Texas A&M to Atlanta with a BCS National Championship spot on the line.

While it’s a huge ‘what if’ scenario, there still would have been plenty of NIL opportunities for Manziel — even with the 11-2 season.

NIL could have helped Johnny Manziel get an extra year of development

Football would have played a factor in Manziel coming back to college too. Liucci admitted Manziel was not ready to make a jump to the NFL. There would have been another year for development under head coach Kevin Sumlin and offensive coordinator Jake Spavital. The ceiling could have been a lot higher than going No. 22 overall to the Cleveland Browns.

The sour taste of a 9-4 season could have also motivated Manziel to return. Even with how stacked the SEC West wound up being during the 2014 season, Manziel was fresh off a season where he was a Heisman finalist.

Texas A&M would have felt pretty good about their chances of making noise — especially with the newly introduced four-team College Football Playoff.

“He might have said ‘Four losses this year. We went out losing to LSU.’ To have one more year and go ‘This is my last year shot. I want to be the No. 1 pick or first quarterback picked.’

“I think (NIL) would have given him a chance and I think he would have gone down, quite possibly, as the best college football player ever,” Liucci said.

Manziel threw for 7,820 yards, 63 touchdowns, and just 22 interceptions while completing 68.9% of his throws. Another season in college and everything could have been different both on and off the field.