LAS COLINAS, Texas -- 17 Texas A&M seniors will be playing their final game Friday at the Cotton Bowl, but, all their feats aside, the main attraction continues to be an Aggie freshman.
Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel is taking his fame in stride, thanks in part to some senior leaders on his team.
With Johnny Manziel's coast-to-coast post-Heisman Trophy media tour coming to and end, the freshman quarterback has tried his best to get back to football. His teammates were more than happy to help.
"We don't let him get big-time," said defensive lineman Spencer Nealy. "We still all talk crap to him. We still go out and whip his butt sometimes in practice. He'll get us a few times and he'll talk some smack, but it's all fun and games. I love it. He'll just look at me after he throws a long pass and I'm like, 'Let me tackle you! C'mon!' That's what made practice this December so enjoyable."
Linebacker Sean Porter added, "That guy's on top of the world right now. We're seniors on his team, it's kind of our job to bring him down a little bit. It's been fun, but Johnny's a great player and he deserves everything he got."
"I always tell him, since you won the Heisman people expect more of you and I expect you to play up to those capabilities," said linebacker Jonathan Stewart. After the season when you have a little free time then you can have some fun and go meet some people but let's just focus in for this game. Let's make sure we get this win. Let's make sure the seniors go out the right way and springboard you all into next season so you can have a lot of success."
Despite all the post-season accolades, Manziel's teammates still think of him simply as their quarterback, and they're glad to have him under center to lead them into the Cotton Bowl.
"He's the same guy. He's still a humble guy and he still comes to work every day," said safety Steven Terrell. "He's been at practice doing great, so I don't think he's changed at all and that's good for him. I'm proud that he's got to get all the accolades and stuff like that but at the end of the day he's still our teammate and he's still working hard for us also."
Stewart added, "He's handled it great. He's ready for the football game. I believe in him and I know he's going to go out and have a spectacular performance and he's going to go out there and just be Johnny."
With John Wilson in Las Colinas, Cody Coil, News 3 Sports.