After a year of searching for a quarterback to help lead his team to the Elite Eight, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer had his answer.
After watching Johnny Manziel take a pass from Sam Darnold and deliver a 33-yard touchdown pass to Jalin Marshall, Meyer was all too happy.
After all, Meyer had spent the past few seasons looking for a replacement for Urban Meyer, who had left to take the head coaching job at Stanford in 2019.
He was convinced that Darnolds best bet to succeed under the watchful eye of Meyer was Johnny Manziel, a 6-foot-4, 219-pound senior who had been a star quarterback at Texas A&M.
The three-star prospect was a natural fit for Meyer’s offense, a spread-the-wealth system that features a wide-open offense in which Manziel can throw the football with authority.
As the Buckeyes went 9-3 and won their first Big Ten title in program history, Meyer took to Twitter and Instagram to thank fans for their support.
“You all are special,” he wrote.
“And I am forever grateful for your love, support, and faith.
You are a blessing.”
The Buckeyes had been under the microscope for a year, and a lot of it had been fueled by the scrutiny over Meyer’s handling of the program.
While there were still lingering questions about Meyer’s leadership, the Buckeye faithful were ready to celebrate the school’s return to prominence.
It wasn’t just the Heisman voters who wanted to see Manziel in a Buckeyes uniform.
Ohio State’s players were also in high demand after seeing him lead the Bucoles to the NCAA championship game last season.
The first-year coach, who was hired last August, has been one of the most popular figures in college football over the past three years, garnering an average of 17 million followers on Twitter and gaining more than 1.2 million followers via Instagram.
In recent weeks, the two sides have exchanged barbs, with Ohio State president Mitch Daniels taking shots at the Longhorns during his weekly press conference.
“We have a good relationship, and we have a great relationship, but he’s going to have to deal with that,” Daniels said.
“But it’s not my job to make any statements.
In addition to Daniels, Ohio St. players were all in attendance at the media day on Wednesday, as the players were invited to participate in a video shoot with the media. “
Meyers job is not to make comments.”
In addition to Daniels, Ohio St. players were all in attendance at the media day on Wednesday, as the players were invited to participate in a video shoot with the media.
Ohio St.’s defense, which has been criticized for not being tough enough, was one of several programs that were in attendance.
When asked if he was worried about Manziel, Ohio guard Tyreek Burwell said, “I’m not worried about him.”
The former Heisman Trophy winner had some of the best seasons of his career last season, completing 61 percent of his passes for 1,066 yards and nine touchdowns while rushing for 1-10 touchdowns.
But with the departure of several key players to the NFL, Ohio state coach Urban Anderson said he was focused on keeping Ohio State a competitive team.
“This is the kind of program that we are going into the season to win,” Anderson said.
We have to do what we have to to do.
That’s what we’re going to do.”