It wasn’t surprising when Allen, Texas, quarterback Kyler Murray committed to Texas A&M over Oregon in May. Murray’s father, Kevin, was a record-setting quarterback for the Aggies in the 80’s, but the younger Murray admitted he wasn’t interested in attending A&M until a guy named Johnny Manziel came along.
“I remember the first game (Manziel) played, against Florida. I didn’t even like Texas A&M at the time, I just went down there because my dad was getting honored,” Kyler Murray told NFL.com at the Elite 11 competition in Beaverton, Ore. “We were asking who the quarterback was. A&M hadn’t really had a quarterback in a while and then he did his thing. I first met him at the Elite 11 in Dallas before my sophomore year and got to talk with him. We kind of clicked and we’ve been cool ever since.”
Nearly two years after watching Manziel’s first-ever start for A&M against Florida, Murray, a four-star recruit who is rated as the country’s second-best dual-threat quarterback by Rivals.com, can’t escape the comparisons to Manziel, who went on to win the Heisman as a redshirt freshman and was recently drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns.
“Johnny is Johnny and he does his thing. We do play similar and I can’t deny that,” said the 5-foot-11, 170-pound Murray. “But pressure? No, there’s none of that going to A&M.”
Murray said that Manziel aided him in the recruiting process as well. Manziel originally verbally committed to Oregon before making the switch to stay in his home state and attend Texas A&M.
“Johnny really helped me out a lot and gave me both sides because he wanted what’s best for me as a quarterback,” Murray said. “He knows Oregon and went to Oregon but chose Texas A&M. He wasn’t bragging on Texas A&M, he just gave me the best of both and I respect that. He gave me the truth.”
The interest and buzz around the A&M program has skyrocketed since Manziel and head coach Kevin Sumlin came on the scene in 2012. Manziel’s impact on the program has been so positive that a university regent proposed adding “The House That Johnny Built” to the name of the newly-renovated Kyle Field.
A move to the SEC helped, too, but Manziel’s acrobatic style of play in Sumlin’s air raid offense has made A&M the hottest program in the state of Texas. The team’s recruiting rankings are evidence of this. After bringing in the nation’s sixth-best class for 2014, the Aggies’ 2015 class, which includes Murray, is currently ranked second in the nation by Rivals.
Murray won’t arrive on campus for another year, so five-star true freshman Kyle Allen and sophomore Kenny Hill, a four-star recruit in 2013, will duke it out in training camp to succeed Manziel in 2014.
For more Texas A&M news, visit AggieYell.com.
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