This Saturday one of the biggest games of the college football season kicks-off as Johnny Manziel and the No. 6 Texas A&M Aggies host the defending national champion No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide at Kyle Field.
The matchup boils down to the 6-foot-1, 210-pound Manziel trying to take a second game from four-time national champion head coach Nick Saban and one of the most historic college football programs in the country.
Here's a quick video timeline of how Manziel went from unknown redshirt freshman in College Station to national sensation, and perhaps the most polarizing figure in all of college sports called “Johnny Football” in one year.
Manziel’s first collegiate game resulted in a 20-17 loss to Florida, in which he went 23-for-30 for 173 yards, and rushed for another 60 yards and a touchdown on 17 attempts.
From there the Aggies ripped off five straight wins and as Manziel gained confidence his legend began to grow.
In that stretch Manziel completed 66 percent of his passes for 1,507 yards and 14 touchdowns, while rushing for 616 yards and nine scores, for an average of 8.3 yards per carry.
The run stopped when A&M hosted LSU, and Manziel threw three interceptions in a 24-19 loss. At that point the Aggies were 5-2 with five mores games, including three consecutive on road at Auburn, Mississippi State, and Alabama.
The 20-year-old Manziel continued his dominant run in the home stretch of the season. He had 47 total touchdowns, and 5,116 yards from scrimmage, including the 253 passing yards and two touchdowns he tossed at Alabama’s Bryant Stadium for a 29-24 upset.
The win over Alabama coupled with his incredible numbers assured Manziel the Heisman Trophy, making him the first freshman to ever win the award.
The instant celebrity took a toll on the young star from Kerrville, Texas, and at times Manziel faced harsh criticism from the media for his behavior on Twitter and Instagram. There were pictures of Manziel at an Indian casino in Oklahoma, and questions surrounding how he got courtside seats to an NBA game.
Manziel was clearly enjoying his time on top of the world and numerous pictures flooded the Internet. But one video surfaced in July of Manziel being kicked out of a fraternity party at the University of Texas.
Manziel was also featured in two major articles by ESPN, and Sports Illustrated. Both detailed how Manziel struggled with his newfound celebrity, the stress on his family, and just how difficult its become to tell the difference between the player on the field, and the young man off it.
Then in August, Manziel was at the center of a scandal, with two memorabilia collectors alleging that he autographed helmets and other merchandise in exchange for cash around the time of the national championship game held in South Florida in January. The collectors had video of Manziel autographing the memorabilia, but said they would not speak to the NCAA.
After debate raged around the country about whether he would or should be suspended, NCAA officials sat down with Manziel, and came to the decision that he would sit out one half in the Aggies season opener against Rice. He entered the game in the second half and threw three touchdowns.
In the fourth quarter Manziel was taken out by head coach Kevin Sumlin. He had just been called for an unsportsmanlike penalty for taunting the Rice players by pointing at the scoreboard with the Aggies up 51-28.
A week later Manziel threw for 403 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for another 36 yards and a score in the Aggies 65-28 trouncing of Sam Houston State.
Now we’ve come full circle, and Manziel will once again meet the Crimson Tide. National title hopes are on the line for both teams, and Alabama is favored by eight points on the road.
If the last year is any indication, neither Saturday's game, nor Manziel, should disappoint.