Hartman: Sumlin sees Manziel as a winner, leader

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 10, 2014 - 5:49 AM

The former Gophers assistant believes the Texas A&M star became more than just an athlete last year.

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Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel passes the ball during a drill at pro day for NFL football representatives in College Station, Texas, Thursday, March 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Patric Schneider)

Photo: Patric Schneider, ASSOCIATED PRESS - AP

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Kevin Sumlin was a Gophers football assistant from 1993 to ’97 under Jim Wacker and Glen Mason and is now the coach at Texas A&M.

For two years, Sumlin has coached All-America quarterback Johnny Manziel. He was asked to predict how well the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner will perform in the NFL.

“I think so many times, guys have to get in the right place,” Sumlin said. “You know that. It’s hard on young quarterbacks in the NFL, but does he have the potential? Does he have the talent? Yes. His best days are ahead of him.

“He played two years really, started two years in college, so he redshirted as a freshman before I got here and he started the last two seasons. He really improved last year as a quarterback, and the challenge for him was to go from an athlete playing quarterback to a quarterback that’s an athlete. He’s still improving and he knows that. I think he has got the tools and he has the smarts and the work ethic to get it done.”

Sumlin, who married a local woman in the former Charlene Sirois, said every team in the NFL has shown interest in Manziel. He was asked to compare Manziel to another young quarterback such as former Stanford star Andrew Luck, who has had a lot of early success with Indianapolis.

“I don’t know. Andrew is a different kid,” Sumlin said. “A lot bigger guy. It took him a little while, too, and he’s still developing. That league is hard on young quarterbacks right off the bat, but I think [Manziel] has the potential, given the right situation. I think he has the potential to grow. He is an exceptional athlete and an exceptional talent.”

Sumlin also was asked if he had heard anything about the meeting Manziel had with new Vikings coach Mike Zimmer and the supposed red flags that popped up.

“I talked to Mike during the workout, and I haven’t really talked to him after he interviewed [Manziel],” Sumlin said. “I mean, I talked to them during the pro day, before the pro day and during it. But I know Johnny has been on some visits and they did some interviews with him after that, but I haven’t really spoken to him since.”

Manziel hasn’t talked about Minnesota?

“No, we just talk in general,” Sumlin said. “He’s on the tour right now, visiting all kinds of teams. He hasn’t been back here. He’s traveling all over the place doing interviews and teams are flying him in. He’s working out in between and working out at different places just about every day, too.”

Is Manziel a good kid?

“He’s a competitor. The thing that makes him good is he’s hard on himself,” Sumlin said. “He wants to be great. He’s driven by trying to be really, really good. Guys that have that sometimes, you know, as a coach, it’s a little bit easier on you when it comes to football because of their own drive inside of them to try to be the best guy on the field. He has that. He has that to him.”

Is he a leader?

“I think he is,” Sumlin said. “I know when it comes to playing football, he is. I know our team, I think he added a dimension to the team that the game was never over.”

Yes, the Vikings have spent time with Manziel and there are rumors from good sources that they have interest in drafting him, among other quarterbacks, in the first round.

Drafting Manziel or another quarterback might also involve the Vikings making some deals to move their first-round pick, No. 8 overall, like they did in the 2012 draft, when they were able to land USC tackle Matt Kalil fourth overall and then drafted Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith with the 29th pick.

But my guess is their top pick will be the best defensive player left on the board.

Honoring Burns

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New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Detroit 4 1st Qtr 5:26
Philadelphia 24
Portland 13 1st Qtr 4:29
Cleveland 16
Sacramento 6:30 PM
Toronto
Boston 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Dallas 7:00 PM
Houston
Denver 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Brooklyn 7:00 PM
Atlanta
Oklahoma City 7:00 PM
New York
Charlotte 7:30 PM
San Antonio
LA Clippers 8:00 PM
Utah
Washington 9:30 PM
Phoenix
Toronto 6:30 PM
New Jersey
Pittsburgh 7:00 PM
Washington
Chicago 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Temple 15 1st Half 10:17
UCF 10
Winthrop 15 1st Half 12:41
Coastal Carolina 16
Lafayette 12 1st Half 10:06
Colgate 18
Northeastern 10 1st Half 9:59
Drexel 7
Wake Forest 15 1st Half 11:54
Florida State 4
Rhode Island 14 1st Half 11:28
Fordham 14
Delaware 16 1st Half 11:36
James Madison 15
South Carolina 15 1st Half 10:58
LSU 17
New Hampshire 11 1st Half 13:22
Maine 2
Seton Hall 18 1st Half 10:07
Marquette 18
Binghamton 12 1st Half 11:47
UMBC 10
American Univ 15 1st Half 12:01
Navy 20
Elon 7 1st Half 11:09
UNC-Wilmington 19
Wright State 11 1st Half 10:35
Oakland 14
Minnesota 18 1st Half 9:50
Penn State 18
Duquesne 13 1st Half 11:23
Richmond 25
SMU 9 1st Half 10:33
South Florida 12
Hartford 13 1st Half 11:38
Stony Brook 6
Albany 9 1st Half 7:30
Vermont 17
Hofstra 11 1st Half 11:52
William & Mary 21
UNC-Asheville 16 1st Half 11:44
Longwood 7
Radford 6:30 PM
Char Southern
Holy Cross 0 Postponed
Loyola-Maryland 0
Duke 6:30 PM
Notre Dame
Texas Tech 6:30 PM
Oklahoma
Oregon State 7:00 PM
Arizona State
Morehead State 7:00 PM
Austin Peay
Drake 7:00 PM
Bradley
Lehigh 7:00 PM
Bucknell
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Houston
Missouri State 7:00 PM
Illinois State
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Indiana 8:00 PM
Purdue
Kansas 8:00 PM
TCU
Oregon 9:00 PM
Arizona
Air Force 9:00 PM
San Jose St
Stanford 10:00 PM
Washington
Rider 56 FINAL
Siena 49
Dayton 76 FINAL
Richmond 62
Eastern Kentucky 53 FINAL
Jacksonville St 73
Saint Josephs 0 Postponed
Saint Louis 0
UMBC 19 1st Half 11:08
Binghamton 8
Akron 9 1st Half 11:45
Ohio U 24
Ball State 16 1st Half 9:17
Miami-Ohio 9
Memphis 12 1st Half 11:19
Cincinnati 10
East Carolina 6 1st Half 12:31
(2) Connecticut 26
Murray State 14 1st Half 9:14
Eastern Illinois 16
Kent State 22 1st Half 7:52
Central Michigan 22
UT Martin 18 1st Half 9:33
Tennessee St 15
Eastern Michigan 10 1st Half 14:05
Western Mich 13
Bucknell 12 1st Half 11:56
Lehigh 15
Indiana 12 1st Half 10:56
Michigan State 14
Colgate 17 1st Half 10:41
Lafayette 12
Fordham 10 1st Half 11:28
Davidson 12
Duquesne 15 1st Half 9:53
St Bonaventure 13
George Mason 15 1st Half 12:05
VA Commonwealth 19
Detroit 10 1st Half 10:48
Youngstown St 14
Army 0 Postponed
Boston U 0
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Holy Cross 0
SMU 7:00 PM
Tulsa
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Kansas State
West Virginia 7:00 PM
Texas Tech
Denver 7:00 PM
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

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