Johnny Manziel smiles while at TAMU.
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Johnny Manziel Wanted to Play for Texas, and It Would've Changed CFB History

Before he was a Heisman winner, Johnny Manziel was a massive Texas Longhorns fan. His dream school never became reality.

The University of Texas football team is set to join the Southeastern Conference in 2024 which will re-ignite one of the greatest rivalries in college football, between the Longhorns and the Texas A&M Aggies.

Since the Aggies joined the SEC in 2012, the two have yet to have played each other on the gridiron, but the rivalry has existed off the field. The two fan bases debate over their subpar seasons and their in-state recruiting; but while much of it is 50-50, the Aggies boast that they had one of the greatest college quarterbacks in Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel.

However, the Longhorns could have prevented that and changed the landscape of not only their program but also the entire college football world had they just put some effort into recruiting Manziel. 

What If: Johnny Football the Texas Longhorn

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel scrambles to his left against Alabama.

Bill Frakes /Sports Illustrated via Getty Images

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In the recent Netflix documentary, "Untold: Johnny Football," Manziel said he grew up watching and loving Longhorn football but, except from a standard recruitment letter, the Longhorns never pursued the Kerrville native to come to Austin. 

"My senior year, I started to get recruited a little bit. Not anything crazy, but I wanted to play football at the University of Texas. But I'd really never gotten anything other than your basic, normal recruiting letters," Manziel said in the documentary.

Manziel's dad, Paul Manziel, said his son grew up wearing Longhorn gear.

"I really think that he always thought he would go there, and it just didn't work out," Paul said.

When Texas A&M offered Manziel a full ride, it was a deal he couldn't resist.

During the 2012 and 2013 seasons, when Manziel played QB1 for the Aggies, the Longhorns went 17-9, going 3-7 against AP Top 25 teams, and were out of national title contention by mid-October. And in 2014, in their first year without Mack Brown as head coach, the Longhorns went 6-7. Hypothetically speaking, Manziel could have played two to three seasons and provided the same play-making ability the Longhorns had in Vince Young, giving the Longhorns that one player they needed to get over the hump in the early 2010s. 

Conversely, the Aggies' superb inaugural season in the SEC would not have gone the way it did without Manziel. They would not have gone 11-2, beat Alabama and win the Cotton Bowl without Manziel under center. In return, this would have caused a slow start to the Aggies' venture into SEC football, hurting recruitment and providing the same performance we have been seeing in recent years but just a lot sooner. 

But it is not just those two teams that would have been affected. The argument could be made that Manziel never would have won a Heisman Trophy and, instead, we would have seen Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o take home the award in 2012. Despite the Crimson Tide still winning the national title that year, the Aggies gave Alabama their only loss in 2012 in what would have been another undefeated season for the Tide and would have been part of a 29-game win streak from 2011 to 2013. 

There are plenty of what-ifs in every sport. But it is safe to say that had Texas given one of its biggest fans a chance to play in the burnt-orange and white, things would have gone a lot differently in college football with Johnny Football as a Longhorn. 

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