If Texas A&M ever decides to formally include "The House That Johnny Built" in the name of its football stadium, Johnny Manziel appears to be in line to cash in.

Both Manziel and the family of his longtime friend, Nate Fitch, had filed to trademark "The House That Johnny Built," but the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office notified the Fitch family on Monday that its registration was refused.

"Registration is refused because the applied-for mark consists of or includes matter which may falsely suggest a connection to Johnny Manziel," the note said. "Although Johnny Manziel is not connected with goods and/or services provided by applicant under the applied-for mark, Johnny Manziel is so famous that consumers would presume a connection."

In January, Manziel applied for the trademark with the intention to use it on everything from shirts and hats to "women's athletic tops with built-in bras."

The Fitch family has six months to respond, but the preliminary ruling puts Manziel in the driver's seat to one day own the trademark.

At a news conference held by Texas A&M's board of regents Monday to provide an update on the $450 million renovation of Kyle Field, a board member said he'd want the new name to include a reference to the 2012 Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, who was selected in the first round of the NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns.

"My vision is that someday I hope the Aggie nation will come together and decide that we can revise the name of Kyle Field to 'Kyle Field -- The House That Johnny Built,' " board member Jim Schwertner said.

(Read full post)

Texas A&M's on-field success in the SEC, including the captivating play of Johnny Manziel, has been a major factor in the Aggies' rise to national relevance in the college football landscape.

Now, one A&M regent wants to thank the program's second Heisman Trophy winner by having his name attached to the redeveloped Kyle Field.

In the midst of thanking several people for their contributions to the project, Texas A&M system regent Jim Schwertner told reporters on Monday during an update of the ongoing renovation of Kyle Field that he hopes the stadium is eventually renamed "Kyle Field: The House That Johnny Built."

"The last person that we all need to thank, and I'm very serious about this, is Johnny Manziel," Schwertner said. "The stars came together. We talked about this project for a long, long time. But none of us were sure how quick we could pay for this project. And because of a young man by the name of Johnny Manziel, we were able to raise all the money in two months. My vision is someday, I hope, the Aggie Nation will come together and decide that we can revise the name of Kyle Field to Kyle Field, the House That Johnny Built."

Notably, Manziel applied in January for the trademark to the term "The House That Johnny Built" but was second to apply for it, being beaten to the punch by "Fitch Estate Sales," a company owned by the family of Nate Fitch, a longtime friend of the Manziel's. Fitch Estate Sales applied for the trademark in December.

When asked if he was serious about having Manziel's name tied to the stadium, which is undergoing a $450 million renovation due for completion in time for the 2015 football season, Schwertner assured that he was.

"I'm very serious," Schwertner said. "I hope the Aggie Nation will come together and decide that that's something they want to do. Think about this: The last time we had a Heisman Trophy winner was John [David Crow]. And we have a freshman that was the first freshman ever on the planet to be a Heisman Trophy winner, and all of this came together very fast. It's going to be up to the students and the former students to decide that. But that would sure be a real testament to how great that young man was for this university. So my vote would be 'yes,' but there are a lot of other folks that are going to vote on what I just said."

Schwertner's comments were first reported by the San Antonio Express-News.

After Schwertner made his initial statement about Manziel, Texas A&M chancellor John Sharp stepped to the microphone and joked, "I bet you'll make some press on that one."

Manziel wrapped up two memorable seasons as the Aggies' quarterback in January, helping lead the Aggies to a 20-6 record in their first two seasons as members of the SEC. Manziel, who set at least 35 school, SEC and NCAA records, was drafted 22nd overall by the Cleveland Browns in the first round of the NFL draft last week.
It was quite the week for Texas A&M football in relation to the NFL draft.

The Aggies had three players taken in the draft's first round on Thursday, marking just the second time in school history the program had that many first-round selections in one draft. It was also the fourth time in school history the team produced two top-10 picks in the same draft. The Aggies were the only team in the 2014 draft with two top-10 picks and one of only two (Louisville being the other) with three first-round picks. This was also the fourth consecutive year the Aggies have produced at least one top-10 pick.

After the draft's completion, eight more Aggies reached agreements with NFL teams as undrafted free agents and will pursue pro careers. Here's a recap of where all the NFL-bound Aggies landed:

[+] EnlargeJake Matthews
Elsa/Getty ImagesOffensive lineman Jake Matthews was the first Aggie off the board in the NFL draft, going No. 6 overall to the Falcons.
Draft picks

OT Jake Matthews: Atlanta Falcons (first round, sixth overall)
There's a long line of pro-football-playing Matthews men and Jake is the latest. The 6-foot-5, 308-pound offensive tackle can stake his claim to being the highest-drafted Matthews in the family's well-documented NFL history. His father, NFL Hall of Fame offensive lineman Bruce Matthews, was the previous high pick, chosen ninth overall in the 1983 draft. The Falcons hope Jake will help provide more protection for franchise quarterback Matt Ryan, and Matthews has all the makings of a 10-year pro. Matthews could be the team's left tackle of the future.

WR Mike Evans: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (first round, seventh overall)
It seems fitting that analysts' go-to NFL comparison for Evans was Vincent Jackson, because now those two will be in the same huddle for the Buccaneers. Evans completed his compelling story, going from humble beginnings and obstacles to overcome while growing up in Galveston, Texas, to star basketball player to unlikely, under-the-radar football recruit to All-American receiver to now, top-10 draft pick. It looks like Evans will be a good fit in Tampa and could start rather quickly.

QB Johnny Manziel: Cleveland Browns (first round, 22nd overall)
Manziel was the most-talked-about prospect on the draft's first night, and though he waited longer than he would have liked, he finally found a landing spot in Cleveland. Thursday officially closed the book on what was one of the most memorable collegiate careers of any player in recent memory. Manziel helped lead A&M to great heights and brought the program unprecedented exposure in its first two SEC seasons, including a Heisman Trophy. Now Johnny Football takes his game to the highest level, and it seems everyone will be watching to see how he fares in his new home.

Undrafted free agents

LB Nate Askew: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Askew, who had one of the better pro day performances at the Aggies' showcase on March 5, completes an interesting journey at Texas A&M that saw him go from seldom-used receiver to starting outside linebacker who made the play that sealed the Aggies' thrilling Chick-Fil-A Bowl victory.

TE Nehemiah Hicks: Miami Dolphins
Hicks will join his former Texas A&M teammate, quarterback Ryan Tannehill, in South Beach.

DB Toney Hurd Jr.: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
After undergoing offseason surgery and missing the Aggies' first pro day, Hurd was able to work out for scouts on March 27 (the same day as Manziel and Evans). The versatile Hurd, who played cornerback, safety and special teams at A&M, did enough to warrant an opportunity from the Buccaneers.

CB Tramain Jacobs: Baltimore Ravens
A reserve cornerback who proved to be a valuable rotational player -- and even started two games -- for the Aggies, Jacobs landed with the Ravens.

LB Steven Jenkins: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers certainly took a liking to the Aggies. Including Jenkins, the former A&M starting outside linebacker and impact player, four Aggies are headed to Tampa. Jenkins returns to his home state, where he played his prep ball in Pensacola, Fla.

WR Travis Labhart: Houston Texans
Labhart was a great story, a seldom-used walk-on who emerged into a scholarship player as a senior and eventually a starter, then wound up finishing second on the team with eight touchdown receptions. Now he gets the chance to pursue his future in his home state with the Texans.

RB Ben Malena: Dallas Cowboys
A running back who did more than just carry the ball, Malena brings his versatile skill set back to his home region, the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex (Malena played his high school ball nearby in Cedar Hill, Texas).

WR Derel Walker: Tennessee Titans
Another player who came a long way (receivers coach David Beaty raved of Walker's progress from his arrival to the end of his senior season, when he was a starter), Walker will get a chance to pursue the NFL with the Titans.
It’s never too early to look ahead.

The 2014 NFL draft is over. It’s dead to us already. On to 2015.

The SEC had the first pick (Jadeveon Clowney), the most intriguing pick (Johnny Manziel), the most talked-about pick (AJ McCarron) and the most historically significant pick (Michael Sam) in the entire draft this year. The league even had the most overall picks with 49.

[+] EnlargeAmari Cooper
Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesAmari Cooper could be a coveted WR for the 2015 NFL draft.
What will it do for an encore in 2015? While it’s hard to imagine SEC players dominating headlines in quite the same way, the league will undoubtably have a strong contingent of players drafted.

With that in mind, the SEC Blog decided to project next year’s top 20 NFL draft prospects. Edward Aschoff picked his 10 from the East earlier. Now it’s time for 10 from the West to keep an eye on, in alphabetical order:

  • La’el Collins, OL, LSU: Collins very well could have skipped school, entered the draft and been taken anywhere from the second to fourth round. But he chose to return to school, which could pay huge dividends if he improves his pass blocking. Already a known road-grader in the running game, he’ll benefit from the versatility to play either guard or tackle.
  • Landon Collins, S, Alabama: He’ll make plays in the passing game. He’ll make plays at the line of scrimmage. And just in case you want an immediate return, he’ll make plays in special teams. The former five-star prospect showed his all-around game this past season with 70 tackles, eight passes defended, four tackles for loss and two interceptions. With a big junior season, his stock could soar.
  • Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama: He is silky smooth on the football field. But don’t let that fool you; he’s got all the moves. At 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, he can run in the 4.3-second range. He can go get the ball in traffic and has come up big in clutch situations. With his nifty footwork, he’ll remind some of Colts wideout Reggie Wayne.
  • Trey Flowers, DE, Arkansas: A third-round grade from the NFL draft board wasn’t enough to get Flowers to leave school early. After racking up 13.5 tackles for loss and five sacks last season, he returns to Fayetteville with the opportunity to improve upon those numbers. Strong, quick and well-built at 6-foot-4 and 244 pounds, he could turn heads in 2014.
  • C.J. Johnson, DE, Ole Miss: This one might come as a bit of a surprise after he missed more than half of last season to an injury. But the NFL clearly loves pass rushers (23 defensive ends were drafted this year), and Johnson is one of the best in the SEC. He has that quick first step scouts covet. If he can show he’s athletic enough to play both defensive end and outside linebacker, he could make himself attractive to several NFL teams.
  • Bernardrick McKinney, ILB, Mississippi State: The tape doesn't lie. McKinney has been a tackling machine for two years now. He could have entered this year’s draft, but stayed. If Mississippi State makes a run this year, he’ll get noticed. At 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, he can run in the 4.6 range, which will catch scouts’ eyes.
  • Jalen Mills, DB, LSU: You just know the Tigers are going to produce an NFL defensive back, and Mills has all the tools to develop into that guy. The former Freshman All-American has played both cornerback and safety, which will help him at the next level.
  • Cedric Ogbuehi, OL, Texas A&M: It will look familiar -- another Aggies offensive lineman going in the first round of the NFL draft, and Ogbuehi has all the tools to do it. He has played guard and right tackle already, but this year will star at the big-money position of left tackle.
  • Gabe Wright, DL, Auburn: It’s easy to forget that Wright was once a top-30 prospect in the country. Playing in the interior of the defensive line can get you lost. But with a big season, we could see Wright catch the attention of scouts and make a Dee Ford-like rise up draft boards.
  • T.J. Yeldon, RB, Alabama: It’s not a good time to be a running back coming out of college. And leaving early seems strange, but after all the carries Yeldon has racked up and the pressure behind him on the depth chart, it might be time to leave. He might not have great top-end speed, but scouts will love his vision, blocking and general all-around game.
For the eighth consecutive year, the SEC led all conferences with the most NFL draft picks. When all was said and done on Saturday, the SEC had 49 former athletes selected. In 2013, the SEC had a league-record 63 players drafted, and after last year's draft, the league averaged 48.9 players drafted since 2006.

So I guess that whole run of seven straight BCS national championships had some real weight to it, huh?

The last time the SEC didn't lead the nation in draft picks was 2006, when the league had 37 players taken and the Big Ten had 41. This year, the SEC's only real competition in the draft was the ACC, which had 42 players taken.

[+] EnlargeJadeveon Clowney
Bob Levey/Getty ImagesJadeveon Clowney is the fourth SEC player to be taken first in the draft since 2006.
On Thursday, the SEC led the rest of the conferences with 11 first-round draft picks, including having Jadeveon Clowney selected No. 1 overall by the Houston Texans. Clowney became the fourth player from the SEC to be taken first in the draft since 2006. The SEC also had four players taken within the first 10 picks of the draft.

LSU led the SEC and the rest of the country with nine draft selections. Alabama was second with eight draft picks.

Every SEC team was represented in the draft, and here's a breakdown of how each school fared:

  • Alabama -- 8
  • Arkansas -- 4
  • Auburn -- 4
  • Florida -- 4
  • Georgia -- 2
  • Kentucky -- 1
  • LSU -- 9
  • Mississippi State -- 1
  • Missouri -- 4
  • Ole Miss -- 1
  • South Carolina -- 2
  • Tennessee -- 3
  • Texas A&M -- 3
  • Vanderbilt -- 3

After all the Johnny Manziel drama from the first night of the draft, the SEC had no shortage of intrigue during the next two days of the draft. Everyone waited for AJ McCarron to get drafted in the second round, but he didn't hear his name until the fifth round (No. 164 by the Cincinnati Bengals), and after Aaron Murray was taken a spot ahead by the Kansas City Chiefs. Zach Mettenberger, the quarterback many thought would go first from the SEC, was selected in the sixth round (No. 178) by the Tennessee Titans.

And perhaps the biggest news from the last two days was Michael Sam becoming the first openly gay player to be selected in the draft. The former Missouri defensive end -- and SEC defensive player of the year -- was selected in the seventh round (N0. 249) by the St. Louis Rams, and shared a powerful, historic and emotional scene on live television when he received the news.

It should come as no surprise that the SEC had yet another successful showing at the NFL draft. The league is absolutely stuffed with SEC talent. According to the SEC's official website, the SEC had 340 former players on active 53-man rosters on opening day of the 2013 season. Also, since 2006 the SEC has averaged nearly 280 players per year on NFL opening weekend rosters.

There were some surprising names not called during the three-day draft. Florida cornerback Marcus Roberson and Loucheiz Purifoy, who were viewed as top cornerback prospects before the 2013 season, went undrafted, as did former top offensive line prospect Antonio Richardson from Tennessee. Alabama linebacker Adrian Hubbard and LSU defensive tackle Anthony Johnson also were left out.

Here's a look at the SEC players taken after Round 1:


42. Jordan Matthews, WR ,Vanderbilt -- Philadelphia Eagles
44. Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama -- Buffalo Bills
51. Ego Ferguson, DT, LSU -- Chicago Bears
55. Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU -- Cincinnati Bengals
60. Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri -- Carolina Panthers
63. Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU -- Miami Dolphins
64. Justin Britt, OT, Missouri -- Seattle Seahawks


75. Tre Mason, RB, Auburn -- St. Louis Rams
76. Travis Swanson, C, Arkansas -- Detroit Lions
81. Gabe Jackson, OG, Mississippi State -- Oakland Raiders
90. Donte Moncrief, WR, Ole Miss -- Indianapolis Colts
92. Trai Turner, OG, LSU -- Carolina Panthers


101. Jaylen Watkins, DB, Florida -- Philadelphia Eagles
106. Bruce Ellington, WR, South Carolina -- San Francisco 49ers
123. Kevin Norwood, WR, Alabama -- Seattle Seahawks


151. Avery Williamson, LB, Kentucky -- Tennessee Titans
155. Arthur Lynch, TE, Georgia -- Miami Dolphins
156. Lamin Barrow, LB, LSU -- Denver Broncos
159. Chris Smith, DE, Arkansas -- Jacksonville Jaguars
160. Ed Stinson, DE, Alabama -- Arizona Cardinals
163. Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia -- Kansas City Chiefs
164. AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama -- Cincinnati Bengals
167. Vinnie Sunseri, S, Alabama -- New Orleans Saints
169. Ronald Powell, LB, Florida -- New Orleans Saints
173. Wesley Johnson, OT, Vanderbilt -- Pittsburgh Steelers


177. Jeoffrey Pagan, DE, Alabama -- Houston Texans
178. Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU -- Tennessee Titans
179. Jon Halapio, OG, Florida -- New England Patriots
181. Alfred Blue, RB, LSU -- Houston Texans
188. E.J. Gaines, CB, Missouri -- St. Louis Rams
193. Zach Fulton, OG, Tennessee -- Kansas City Chiefs
211. Jay Prosch, FB, Auburn -- Houston Texans
215. Daniel McCullers, DT, Tennessee -- Pittsburgh Steelers


216. Andre Hal, S, Vanderbilt -- Houston Texans
227. Kiero Small, FB, Arkansas -- Seattle Seahawks
228. Zach Hocker, K, Arkansas -- Washington Redskins
239. James Wright, WR, LSU -- Cincinnati Bengals
249. Michael Sam, DE, Missouri -- St. Louis Rams

Johnny Manziel: Next round's on me

May, 10, 2014
May 10
[+] EnlargeJohnny Manziel
Adam Hunger/USA TODAY SportsJohnny Manziel left his credit-card number at his favorite bar, according to its general manger, with a goal of spending about $2,000 -- a nod to his No. 2.

The legend of Johnny Football was born on the field, coming to life around replays of the diminutive quarterback time after time scrambling left, juking right, then launching a prayer of a pass that would eventually find its receiver.

But the celebrity of Johnny Manziel was incubated in his off-hours, a result of beer-swilling sessions at frat houses, trouble with the law and mysterious or otherwise illicit autograph sessions, behavior befitting the favorite son of a family well-heeled from the proceeds of oil that only deepened the lore.

The stories are old hat for the patrons at Manziel's favorite bar in College Station, Texas, Chimy's Cerveceria, many of them no doubt living as firsthand accounts.

On Thursday at Chimy's, Manziel made sure the memories weren't an afterthought, treating more than 100 revelers to a beer and a shot, as he was chosen No. 22 by the Cleveland Browns in the NFL draft.

According to a Dallas Morning News report, Manziel bought about 122 of 250 people in attendance in Chimy's, according to a bar employee, a Miller Lite and a Fireball shot.

(Read full post)

BEREA, Ohio -- Johnny Manziel has no doubt where he stands as he joins the Cleveland Browns as the 22nd pick of the NFL draft.

"I'm a rookie coming in, low guy on the totem pole," Manziel said Friday at his introductory news conference at the Browns' facility. "I need to show these guys with actions to earn their respect."

As Manziel spoke, cornerback Justin Gilbert sat next to him. Gilbert was taken 14 picks ahead of Manziel but drew about one-fourteenth of the attention. He didn't mind, though, saying it took the pressure off him, and that when he heard the Browns had picked Manziel, he rolled down his car window and screamed.

"Who didn't follow him?" Gilbert said when asked whether he followed Manziel's career at Texas A&M.

Manziel shrugged it all off, saying he's now all about football and less about "Johnny Football." It's an image he's tried to refine as the draft approached, an image he said is not really him.

"I think I'm Johnny Manziel," he said. "Johnny Football is what I am in the media and I'm accepting of it, but at the same time I know who I am. It doesn't make me lose sleep at night."

Manziel said he's coming to Cleveland "with high goals but no expectations," and he knows what may await him in terms of attention and scrutiny.

"I don't think it could be more than what I have imagined in my head," Manziel said. "Going into it expecting madness. If it is, it is. If it's not, we'll deal with it."

Manziel is aware of the viral photo of the jersey with all 20 names of Browns starting quarterbacks since 1999. He also adeptly addressed a question about being the first quarterback shorter than 6 feet -- he's 5-foot-11¾ -- to be taken in the first round since 1953.

"I guess," he said, "you can measure height. You can't really measure heart."

Manziel's free fall Thursday night was one of the stories of the draft. The Browns chose to trade out of the fourth spot instead of taking him, then moved up for Gilbert and not Manziel.

When Dallas passed on Manziel at No. 16, teams moved to trade up and get him. The Browns trumped the other offers, including from Minnesota and Houston, to acquire Manziel at No. 22 for the 26th pick and a third-round selection.

Manziel is represented by LRMR, the marketing arm of the management firm run by LeBron James

(Read full post)

DixonStephen M. Dowell/Getty ImagesWill South Carolina defensive end Gerald Dixon be able to fill the void left by Jadeveon Clowney?
With a dizzying first round in the books, the NFL’s 32 teams will move Friday and Saturday to the value picks in the middle and later rounds.

But the college teams replacing first-round selections? They have long since turned the page.

Starting with the No. 1 pick, Jadeveon Clowney, here are some updates on the positions left vacant by some of the NFL’s future stars.

Defensive end, South Carolina Gamecocks
The draft pick: Jadeveon Clowney (No. 1, Houston)
The replacement: Gerald Dixon

There’s no doubt the position is going to take a step back after losing Clowney -- the school’s second No. 1 pick -- as well as underrated vet Chaz Sutton and Devin Taylor the previous year. The turnover is to the point that defensive coordinator Whammy Ward has hinted that the Gamecocks might tinker with more 3-4 looks and shake up their 4-2-5 base.

Dixon is developing into a very serviceable SEC defensive end, similar to what Sutton became toward the end of his career. But the key to the position is how far redshirt sophomore Darius English progresses.

Ward told me last summer that he had a raw, pure pass-rusher in English. But English struggled to put on enough weight to be anything more than a specialist. When I texted Ward on Thursday, he said English had added 15 pounds to get to 250.

“It will help,” Ward said.

If he can hold his ground and be something closer to a three-down end, it would certainly aid the transition.

SEC lunchtime links

May, 9, 2014
May 9
Thursday night's draft was pretty entertaining, but let's not forget that the real entertainment starts next week when the greatest superhero ever returns!
Day 1 of the NFL draft was a good one for the SEC, which had 11 players selected in the first round, including 10 of the first 23 picks.

It's on to the second and third rounds later Friday night, and several more SEC players are sure to hear their names called. A year ago, the SEC had 32 players selected in the top three rounds.

The SEC guys projected to go the earliest when the draft resumes Friday night, in alphabetical order, are Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy, South Carolina receiver Bruce Ellington, Alabama offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio and Vanderbilt receiver Jordan Matthews.

Ellington has seen his stock soar in the months leading up to the draft, and Matthews has everything it takes (size, speed, hands, smarts and character) to be one of those receivers who plays 10-plus seasons in the league.

Here's a checklist of some other SEC players to keep an eye on in the second and third rounds:

Getting to know Malik Jefferson 

May, 9, 2014
May 9
video Throughout this recruiting cycle, RecruitingNation will profile a number of ESPN 300 prospects in the 2015 class, including an inside look at the prospect, his recruitment, a scouting report and what college program could benefit when he ultimately makes his decision.

MESQUITE, Texas -- ESPN 300 linebacker Malik Jefferson doesn’t intend to, but with every play he makes on the football field -- every hit, every sack, every forced fumble -- he further divides old rivals.

Texas A&M fans are confident that he’ll play for them in 2015. Texas fans are equally confident he’ll wear burnt orange as a college freshman.

And then there are the schools considered to be on the outskirts -- if that's a place in Jefferson's wide-open process. There are several in-state and out-of-state powers that also would be considered great fits for the nation’s No. 4 outside linebacker.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

It was another successful first round of the NFL draft for the SEC, even if one star had to wait a lot longer than he expected.

By the time the night was over, Jadeveon Clowney was the first overall pick, Johnny Manziel was in Cleveland, and the SEC led all conferences with 11 picks in the first round.

[+] EnlargeJadeveon Clowney
Allen Kee/ESPN ImagesAs expected, Jadeveon Clowney was the top pick among the SEC's NFL draft prospects.
The first 10 picks were littered with SEC talent, as Clowney went first to the Houston Texans, Greg Robinson went second to the St. Louis Rams, Jake Matthews went sixth to the Atlanta Falcons, and Mike Evans went seventh to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The real drama of the night came with Manziel Watch. The former Texas A&M Heisman Trophy winner was at one point expected to go No. 1 overall. Then, there was no way he was getting out of the first five picks. Then, the Dallas Cowboys were thought to be the favorites to land him in the middle of the first round.

But Manziel tumbled all the way down to No. 22 when the Cleveland Browns traded with the Philadelphia Eagles to get college football's most exciting player. Many thought Cleveland would end up being the destination for Manziel, but dropping that far was a surprise. Something tells me Manziel will be pretty fired up to prove a lot of people wrong about passing on him.

There were a couple of other first-round surprises concerning the SEC, too. For starters, former Tennessee offensive tackle Ja'Wuan James went 19th to the Miami Dolphins after being projected as a second-rounder. Former Florida defensive tackle Dominique Easley, who missed most of the 2013 season after suffering an ACL injury, was drafted by the New England Patriots with the 29th pick. And former Auburn defensive end Dee Ford was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs at No. 23 after being projected as a second-rounder.

Here's a complete look at how the SEC fared in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft:

1. Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina -- Houston Texans

2. Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn -- St. Louis Rams

6. Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M -- Atlanta Falcons

7. Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers

12. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU -- New York Giants

17. C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama -- Baltimore Ravens

19. Ja'Wuan James, OT, Tennessee -- Miami Dolphins

21. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama -- Green Bay Packers

22. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M -- Cleveland Browns

23. Dee Ford, DE, Auburn -- Kansas City Chiefs

29. Dominique Easley, DT, Florida -- New England Patriots
The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today’s offerings: Many observers of football in Texas agree the SEC’s impact on the recruiting trail in the Lone Star State is going to only grow in the future. However, not every SEC team is making a beeline to Dallas, Houston and East Texas to recruit. Plus, both USC and UCLA did their best to impress one of the nation’s top corners recently.

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BEREA, Ohio -- Johnny Football became Johnny Free Fall, and now he's headed to Cleveland, where the Browns are well aware of what awaits them in terms of attention and buzz.

After patiently waiting for nearly three hours, Johnny Manziel finally was selected by the Browns, who moved up four spots to take him with the 22nd pick in the NFL draft's first round.

The Browns believe the hype surrounding Manziel and his reputation off the field will not be problems.

"The shot in the arm that I would rather give this organization is in the fall," first-year coach Mike Pettine said Thursday night. "We talked about that before. Talk is cheap. Hype is exactly that."

The Browns made the deal with the Philadelphia Eagles, who received the 26th overall pick and a third-round selection from Cleveland.

It was the third trade in Thursday's first round that involved the Browns, who began the night with picks at Nos. 4 and 26. Cleveland traded the fourth pick to the Buffalo Bills, who moved up five slots to nab receiver Sammy Watkins.

The Browns also traded up one spot, from ninth to eighth in a deal with the Minnesota Vikings, to pick cornerback Justin Gilbert with their first selection of the night.

"We took the opportunity to take the players that we had in the order we had them ranked," general manager Ray Farmer said. "When the opportunity presented itself, we took those liberties."

Those deals were overshadowed by Cleveland's move to take Manziel, the polarizing 2012 Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback whose agonizing wait to be drafted created a stir on Twitter.

Even the NFL's official Twitter account commented on Manziel's nationally televised wait. After the Dallas Cowboys

(Read full post)

Lunchtime links

May, 8, 2014
May 8
It's draft day! Here's to your team making the right pick tonight.


Perception vs. Reality: TAMU and SC
Tim Tebow and Marcus Spears analyze the state of the Aggies and Gamecocks at the start of the season.


Thursday, 8/28
Saturday, 8/30
Sunday, 8/31