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Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Decisions that defined A&M in 2012: No. 3

By Sam Khan Jr.

This week, GigEmNation looks back at five decisions that helped define Texas A&M's 2012 season. These moments could be on or off the field or could have even come before the season, so long that they had a lasting impact on the Aggies' 2012 campaign. Today, we look at our pick for No. 3, choosing Johnny Manziel as the Aggies' starting quarterback.

Johnny Manziel
A relative unknown before the season started, QB Johnny Manziel went on to win the Heisman Trophy.
It's easy to forget now, but Texas A&M didn't have a starting quarterback at the start of fall football practice.

The Aggies went into camp with an open competition and based on the first day of workouts, one might assume that the starter would be Jameill Showers [Showers took snaps with the first team on the first day of camp].

At the time, Manziel was only known as "Johnny Football" on Texas A&M fan message boards. The rest of the world outside of Kerrville, Texas, and Tyler, Texas, knew little about Manziel aside from the fact that he was a high school All-American and that he was arrested in the offseason for his involvement in a bar fight and carrying false identification.

But after two weeks of camp, coach Kevin Sumlin and then-offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury declared Manziel the winner of the quarterback battle (which also included Matt Joeckel and Matt Davis) and the rest is history.

The redshirt freshman made his debut in a 20-17 loss to Florida and though he didn't cram the boxscore with eye-popping statistics that would later become the norm for him, he didn't turn the ball over and played well enough to raise eyebrows around the country.

Eventually, he took the country by storm, as college football fans came to know him as "Johnny Football." His legend for the 2012 season was made when he led the Aggies to a 29-24 upset of No. 1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

In December, he won the Heisman Trophy, becoming the first freshman to win the award. He set the SEC record for total yards in a season, breaking Cam Newton's mark, finishing with 5,116 yards and 47 total touchdowns responsible for.

He was perhaps the biggest reason the Aggies went 11-2 in its first SEC season and still has time left in his college career, perhaps as many as three more seasons.