Manziel talks football, friendships and fame

In introducing Manziel to a luncheon crowd gathered for the Manning Award trophy presentation at the Manning family’s downtown restaurant, Archie Manning talked of how extraordinary he thought it was for Manziel to do what he did in his first season in the SEC, a conference renowned not only for its string of national champions, but also for defenses loaded with NFL prospects.

Manning highlighted Manziel’s performance against Arkansas, in which the Aggie QB compiled 557 total yards.

“That day he broke a 43-year-old Southeastern Conference record set by an Ole Miss quarterback in 1969 vs. Alabama,” Manning said, referring to his own 540-yard performance against the Crimson Tide. “Thanks a hell of a lot, Johnny.”

Manning and Manziel both said they were aware of comparisons made of their free-wheeling, scrambling style of play.

Manning said Manziel’s 2012 season was among the best he’d ever seen for a college quarterback and was flattered to hear people say Manziel reminded them of his days at Ole Miss. Manziel, meanwhile, said being compared to Archie Manning is “awesome,” and an honor.

Manziel will be eligible to enter the NFL draft after his next season. He said he’ll make that decision with family and his Texas A&M coaches when the time is right.

Manning, who is routinely asked for advice by top college players’ fathers, given his own experience with Peyton and Eli, said his only advice would be that if a quarterback in the SEC is not a lock as a top-10 pick, he should consider how an extra year in the conference might help.

“Another year in the Southeastern Conference is very beneficial to a quarterback. The defensive people you’re playing against the defensive things you’re seeing, if you stay healthy it’s pretty beneficial as far as making that transition into pro football.”

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