NEW YORK -- One year ago, Johnny Manziel had spent a year at Texas A&M, still hadn't played a down and found himself without a coach. Texas A&M had fired Mike Sherman, the head coach for whom Manziel had turned down Oregon and Stanford, as well as his staff.
"It was heartbreaking to see them go," Manziel said. "For me, that was a tough time."
Nearly six months ago, Manziel spent a night in jail, arrested in the wee hours of a Friday morning and charged with three misdemeanors arising out of a fight outside a College Station bar.
"There was a time when I didn't really know where I was going to go from there," Manziel said. "My fate was kind of up in the air."
It would be fair and woefully inadequate to say that Manziel began this season as an unproven commodity. The uncertain player of last winter, the immature teenager of last summer, stood on the stage of the Best Buy Theater on Saturday night, holding the most recognizable individual award in American sports.
"Never," Manziel said Saturday night, two days after his 20th birthday, when asked if ever thought he would win the Heisman Trophy. "I mean, it's always a dream. You dream about being in New York and hoisting the Heisman Trophy. But for it to become a reality and me to even be here, it's crazy."