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NCAA Football: Manziel Wins Manning Award, Brian Kelly Interviews with the Eagles

With NCAA football ending on Monday evening, there were still awards to be announced on Thursday. And no surprise,  Texas A&M freshman redshirt quarterback Johnny Manziel won another one: The Manning Award. Again, he set a new record as the first freshman to win it and the first to do so unanimously.

What’s left for this player to accomplish? He’ll say the National Championship and the odds are 12 to 1 to do so this year.

While his team imploded at the end, West Virginia wide receiver (as well as running back and return specialist) Tavon Austin continued playing well and on Thursday, he received the Paul Hornung Award for college’s most versatile player.

In his last NCAA season, Austin had 2,910 all-purpose yards, averaging 223.8 yards per game. He led the Big 12 and landed as No. 2 nationally with these numbers.

Austin said in a statement,”I am honored and humbled to be selected as the winner of the prestigious Paul Hornung Award. Whether I am on the field as a receiver, in the backfield or as a returner, I have high expectations for myself, and I have always tried to use my versatility to help my team be successful. I want to thank my coaches and teammates for helping me achieve this honor.”

The player is headed to the NFL and has been projected by CBSSports.com as a late first-round pick; he is seen as the No. 3 wide receiver for this year’s class.

Manziel and the Manning Award

Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel

Manziel’s latest award hardware, named after the Manning quarterback trio of Archie, Peyton and Eli, goes to the country’s best quarterback and factors in a player’s bowl performance.

Based on Manziel’s Cotton Bowl, it was likely a no-brainer to give the award to him. In the 41-13 rout of Oklahoma, Manziel had 516 yards of total offense including 287 passing and 229 rushing, along with four touchdowns.

Thursday’s award is just one of many for Manziel but he did beat out an impressive list for it that included Matt Barkley (USC), Tajh Boyd (Clemson), Collin Klein (Kansas State), Jordan Lynch (Northern Illinois), Marcus Mariota (Oregon), AJ McCarron (Alabama), Braxton Miller (Ohio State), Aaron Murray (Georgia) and Geno Smith (West Virginia).

Also on Thursday, Manziel’s offensive tackle Jake Matthews surprised many and announced he’ll return for his final NCAA year. This comes after fellow offensive tackle Luke Joeckel said, as expected, he’s ready to give the NFL a try, foregoing his last year of school.

Brian Kelly Interviews with Philadelphia Eagles

ND Coach Brian Kelly

On Saturday, prior to to Monday’s National Championship game, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly responded to a question about leaving for the NFL by saying to ESPN, “Leaving is not an option. I don’t even think about it.”

Fast forward to Thursday and somewhere along the line, Kelly had a change of heart (see Monday’s 42-14 rout by Alabama) as news came out that the coach had interviewed with the Eagles on Tuesday. It went well enough that Kelly will continue the conversation this weekend.

Does this come as a surprise? Maybe after Kelly also said, “I think from my perspective I’ve got the best job in the country, NFL, college, high school, whatever. I just look at the place that I’m at and thankful for the opportunity that I have.”

Many wonder why Kelly would leave after leading his team to an undefeated season and the National Championship but CBSSports may have the best take, noting the incredibly high expectations placed on Notre Dame’s football coaches and their teams.

Will Notre Dame be at the National Championship next year? Probably not. Can Kelly met expectations? Maybe not.

Vegas agrees and gives the Irish 22 to 1 to win it all next January.


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