In the hours after Texas A&M upset then top-ranked and perceived invincible Alabama, everyone and their grandparents took to the Internet to try and find as much as they could about Aggies freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel. This led to a series of pieces on news sites and blogs, (nearly) all expressing various degrees of shock over just how amazing "Johnny Football" was in Tuscaloosa.
If you'd seen Texas A&M play earlier this year, Manziel's performance wouldn't have been such a surprise. Yet, if you've been following Prep Rally since the blog's inception, you probably would have had a sense of Manziel's penchant for highlights ripped straight out of a video game.
Prep Rally first helped preach the gospel of Johnny Football early in Manziel's senior season at Kerrville (Texas) Tivy High in September of 2010. At the time, Manziel was an under-the-radar two-way QB talent, a rare Class 4A Texas talent who decided to commit to an out-of-state program (Oregon) rather than stay in-state at Texas or Texas A&M (not to mention TCU, Texas Tech, Baylor, Houston, SMU or any others). He later decommitted from Oregon after A&M offered him a scholarship because he wanted to play closer to home and the rest, as they say, is history.
Manziel had racked up impressive numbers as a junior, but not impressive enough to slip in front of the likes of Braxton Miller, Teddy Bridgewater or Marcus Mariota higher up the Rivals.com ranking of dual-threat quarterbacks. In essence, Manziel was considered one of the best of the second tier of dual-threat quarterbacks (along with Everett Golson, interestingly), with his status held back by his diminutive stature (he stood just 6-foot-1 and 193 pounds during his senior season) and concerns about his durability and his ability to rise to the level of competition in major Division I football.
Then he put up one of the more legendary performances in the recent history of Texas high school football, and all those doubts disappeared.
In a remarkably back-and-forth, 54-45 Tivy victory against highly ranked Cibolo (Texas) Steele High, Manziel accounted for eight touchdowns, passing for six and running for two more. In the process he managed to outduel Steele running back Malcolm Brown, widely considered one of the top-two running back recruits in the country.