Pictured: To say Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel is the center of attention on Heisman weekend in New York understates it. To quote his sister Meri: "Johnny can't go anywhere here without getting ambushed." Photo: Edward A. Ornelas, Staff / © 2012 San Antonio Express-News
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"I almost cried today just thinking ..." an emotional Manziel said, pausing to gather his thoughts. "When we were raising Johnny, we knew he had the talent. We knew if we could raise the man we could help get him here to New York."
Earlier Friday, Texas A&M freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel smiled at his father amid the shuffle and bustle of the nation's busiest city, but it will be a peaceful moment Paul Manziel always will remember.
"Dad, we're here," said Johnny, a Heisman Trophy finalist from Kerrville. "Be proud."
Amid the clamor of Times Square, Paul recounted the story and said softly but emphatically, "We are. We're so proud of Johnny."
A dream come true
The Manziel family, in town for Saturday's Heisman ceremony, was dressed to the nines Friday night, in preparation for a big night in the Big Apple - and, more importantly, in honor of possible Heisman Trophy history.
No freshman has won the Heisman Trophy, college football's most prestigious award, but Johnny Manziel, 20, is considered the favorite based on multiple polls.
He took possession of the Davey O'Brien Award, presented to the nation's top quarterback, Thursday night in Orlando, Fla.
Mixed with the rain and clouds that enveloped Times Square on Friday, Manziel said the whole scene seems like a dream.
"I woke up (this week) and said: 'Mom, dad, do we really have this on our schedule? Are we going to Orlando for an awards show and then to New York for the Heisman ceremony?' " Johnny said. " 'Is this real life?' "
Oh, it is, and it became a reality when Manziel, week in and week out, surprised his Southeastern Conference competition with dazzling performances.
He wound up as the SEC single-season record holder for total yards with 4,600, and a Heisman finalist along with two seniors, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o and Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein.
"It's weird watching all of this and knowing he's my brother," said Meri Manziel, a junior in high school at Allen Academy in Bryan. "It's all so strange to me. All of these people are in love with him and I say, 'He's just my brother.' "
SOURCE: Brent Zwerneman