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Texas A&M QB Manziel accepts O'Brien

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - Johnny Manziel went to the Super Bowl where he hung out with the guys from Duck Dynasty. He was photographed with several other SEC players at Mardi Gras in New Orleans and spent part of NBA's All-Star weekend in Houston with rapper and friend Wale.

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Johnny Football still finds time to be a college student too, even though the Texas A&M star doesn't have to be on campus very often for classes. His schedule this semester consists of four online classes in sports management, and he just got done with a series of tests and other work.

``Had my first round of tests last week, so I've been kind of pushing that off as much as possible doing my online stuff, and all three tests and three papers hit me in a week,'' Manziel said Monday night before accepting the Davey O'Brien Award that goes to the nation's top quarterback. ``It was good to feel like a normal student again, just a busy one.''

Manziel was initially enrolled in an English class on campus this spring with only 20 to 25 students before switching his schedule.

``I didn't think anything of it, and it kind of turned into a little more of a big deal than I thought,'' said Manziel, the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy.

While Manziel is having a good time, doing things other 20-year-old college students do - or would envy doing - the scrutiny he faces can be frustrating.

``I know plenty of friends who went down to Mardi Gras to New Orleans and other guys who went to the Super Bowl too,'' he said. ``I was down there with other college football guys too, so I don't know, people like to give me a hard time more than others. There's college kids doing what I'm doing all around the country. People just think I'm going wild with it, when it's not like that.''

Manziel is definitely under the microscope after leading Texas A&M to a Cotton Bowl victory and becoming the first Southeastern Conference player with more than 5,000 total yards in a season.

For those who wonder if Manziel's adventures fall within NCAA rules, he stays in touch with compliance people at Texas A&M to clear things in advance. Two weeks before the Super Bowl, for example, he let them know who he was going to the game with, where he was staying and how he was paying for everything.

The quarterback and his parents also met recently with A&M athletic director Eric Hyman, football coach Kevin Sumlin and other school officials.

``It wasn't more of like what to do and what not to do, it was just making sure we were on the same terms,'' he said. ``I feel like by now if I was doing something wrong, compliance would have definitely figured something out.''

Manziel said he's thick-skinned and not bothered by the negative opinions other people may have of him.

``People are going to say what they want regardless,'' he said. ``Just like I have my opinion on people, certain people in sports that may rub me wrong, or some people, you're just going to be scrutinized by some people regardless of what you do and you can't please everybody.''

Spring practice for the Aggies begins March 2, less than two months after Manziel accounted for four touchdowns and had a Cotton Bowl-record 516 total yards in a 41-13 win over Oklahoma, including an FBS bowl record for quarterbacks with his 229 yards rushing on 17 carries. That capped Texas A&M's first 11-win season since 1998.

So how does it get better for Manziel, who said he's never had more fun playing football in his life?

``A national championship. For sure it's not necessarily a Heisman. It's a national championship that everybody on our team was let down that we didn't win this year,'' he said. ``Regardless of what our expectations were, we felt like we had a very good year and did some stuff that is really going to help our program, but it wasn't a 13-0 season like we had wanted at the beginning of the year. So our goal this year is go 13-0 and win every game.''

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
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