Today, I am going to do what every Texas A&M Football fan wants to do but doesn’t want to be clowned for doing. I’m going to compare Haynes King, the Aggies’ recently named starter, to Johnny Manziel.
For a lot of fans, this is forbidden territory. In the history of college football, whenever somebody compares their quarterback to one of the greatest of all time, it doesn’t end well. This may not either, but I urge you to hear me out.
I’m not here to tell you that Haynes King will be a Heisman-winning first-round draft pick-caliber player. Rather, I’m simply going to point out similarities in the way these players play the game of football.
Johnny Manziel and Haynes King both bring a unique dual-threat style of play to the Texas A&M Football team
Think about Johnny Manziel as a quarterback for Texas A&M. What do you think of?
For most, it’ll be the large handful of occasions that he should have been tackled and still managed to escape, resulting in a huge gain or a touchdown. For some, it’ll be the impressive stat lines that he dropped on a weekly basis. Some fans may even think of his upset over No. 1 Alabama in his freshman season.
It all boils down to one very specific trait — improvisational ability. Manziel could get into trouble and still know where each of his receivers is. If he had to run with the ball, he’d know the soft spots in opposing defenses and run for a huge gain. Guess what? King did the exact same thing at the high school level.
If you haven’t already — watch King’s high school football highlights. As early as the first play in his junior season highlights, you can see a play that looks nearly identical to one of Manziel’s well-known escapes. King is left for dead by his offensive line, hit by three different defenders, and still manages to get a pass off for a touchdown. The play can be seen below.
Say what you want about people who make comparisons like this — that play looks like it could have been a video of Johnny Manziel. The similarities are undeniable.
The best part? At 6’3″, King is 3 inches taller than Manziel was. As a late bloomer, King plays like a much smaller, more agile player, while still having the height and ability to see over his offensive linemen. It’s the perfect combination.
This bodes well for a Texas A&M Football team that has very few players returning on the offensive line. There’s no way around it — there will be a huge adjustment period for this football team on the blocking front. Because Zach Calzada is not as agile as King, he likely would have found himself in more trouble with offensive line breakdowns.
King, on the other hand, thrives in those types of situations. Nobody wants to see their quarterback under heavy pressure, but Aggie fans can rest easy knowing that King could have no offensive lineman and still find ways to slip around opposing defensive lines.