Outside of Texas A&M Football fans, there are three types of fans that will encounter this article. The first are those who see the title, get mad about a Johnny Manziel comparison, and never read a Gig’Em Gazette piece again. The second is the type who do read it but have a blinding rage building up the entire time and end up hating me.
If you’re not part of either of those groups, you must be in the third group — those who are willing to accept that Haynes King physically looks like Johnny Manziel when he’s scrambling with the football.
I will admit that it would be extremely premature to compare King and Manziel in any way other than their playstyle. In fact, after a two-touchdown, three-interception performance against Kent State, King is a very long way from reaching Johnny Football status.
Still, we saw plenty of “Haynes Football” tweets throughout the night. On one occasion, these were warranted. Here’s why.
The Texas A&M Football team’s new starting quarterback had a play that looked like vintage Johnny Manziel
As mentioned, Haynes King didn’t have a great night in his first game as the team’s starter. Even though his stat line against a MAC team may have looked bad, it may not be as poor of a performance as many fans are thinking it is. The first-year starter still passed for nearly 300 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a 41-10 win.
Unfortunately, his game was highlighted by some rough mistakes throughout. But throughout the same game, we continuously saw glimpses of something special. Something… familiar. Take a look for yourself.
There are many rules of journalism that would advise against the next paragraph that I’m about to write, but I’m writing this at 2:00 AM, and quite frankly, I don’t care anymore. Here it goes.
If you claim that you do not think Haynes King looked like Johnny Manziel when he was scrambling on that play, you are a liar. You are in denial over a comparison that has no implications on a broader scale and you’re probably a generally unpleasant person to be around.
There, I said it.
This comparison isn’t solely drawn from the fact that both are Texas A&M quarterbacks, either. It comes due to the style that each of them scrambles. Rather than controlled scrambling, they both have a sort of sixth sense about where they need to go. They’re improvising on the spot and flourishing as they do it.
They both thrive in madness.
In this play, King made his reads, didn’t see a target open, and decided to tuck and run up the middle before the pocket closed up. With nowhere to go, he ran out of the pocket to the right when he would run into a trio of defenders. The ensuing cut back to the left would put him right in the face of a defender who he would simply outrun using his sub-4.5 speed toward the edge en route to a first down run.
Oh yeah, and this all happened on a crucial third and long to keep the drive alive.
At this point, I can’t make much more of an argument to you — the proof is in the pudding. King clearly has a long way to go as a passer, but as a natural scrambler, he is elite. At the very least, he’ll follow in Manziel’s footsteps on that front.