Texas A&M QB Manziel declares himself ready for NFL

Posted Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel declared himself ready for the NFL, in his estimation, but said Wednesday he will seek advice from others before making himself available as an underclassman in the 2014 NFL Draft.

But the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner left no doubt that he considers his skill set sufficient to begin a professional career next season.

“In my mind, I think I am,” Manziel said in his strongest hint to date about his post-bowl intentions.

“I feel like I’m playing, for the most part, at a really high level of football. I’m putting the ball where I want it to be and I’m throwing it with a lot of velocity.”

Manziel, a third-year sophomore, improved his completion percentage (69.1) and his number of touchdown passes (33) from his Heisman-winning season while leading No. 21 A&M (8-4) to a berth in the Chick-fil-A Bowl against No. 24 Duke (10-3).

A finalist for the 2013 Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award, which will be presented Thursday night at the Home Depot College Football Awards show (6 p.m., ESPN), Manziel ranked among the nation’s top nine players in passing yards (3,732), total offense (4,418 yards) and passing efficiency (170.4 rating).

But he will use “the next couple of weeks,” Manziel said, to huddle with A&M coach Kevin Sumlin, private passing instructor George Whitfield Jr. and others before making his call about calling it a career at A&M. He did acknowledge he already has begun thinking about his A&M legacy.

“If this was to be the end of it, I want to be one of the best to ever play at A&M,” Manziel said. “Hopefully, I did my part to try and help build the program and take it to another level.”

Asked what would be his overriding consideration about entering he NFL Draft, Manziel said: “More than anything, ‘Are you ready for the next level?’ That’s the big thing.

“You don’t want to go and be unprepared for the National Football League and leave two years on the table. It all comes down to making the best decision for you. Whether you’re ready. Whether teams are quarterback-needy. You look at all your factors.”

As a Heisman winner, Manziel has a vote in the 2013 Heisman race. He said he did not place himself atop his own ballot but declined to identify who he chose as this year’s winner.

NFL route for Evans

Although he has yet to make a decision about his NFL future, A&M receiver Mike Evans said he has been monitoring mock drafts and was intrigued by one that projected him to be taken with the No. 15 overall pick, which would place him in the top half of the first round.

“There’s a lot of people that play football and to be in the top 15 picks of the draft, that’d be pretty good,” said Evans, a third-year sophomore who is a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, given to the nation’s top receiver.

McCarron on Saban

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron said he has no special insight to the situation but does not believe Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban will take the Texas job if Longhorns coach Mack Brown creates a vacancy, as expected, later this week.

“To me, he’s not leaving,” McCarron said of Saban.

Jimmy Burch, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @Jimmy_Burch

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