JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
MARBLE FALLS — Tom Rossley is no longer a football coach at Texas A&M University, but the man credited with making Johnny Manziel an Aggie is confident the quarterback will become only the second player in history to twice win the Heisman trophy.
“I have no doubt,” Rossley said before he spoke to members of the Highland Lakes A&M Club on May 23. “As long as he stays healthy. The (Southeastern Conference) is a very physical conference. That’s football.”
Rossley, who retired to Horseshoe Bay, was the guest speaker of the club’s Coaches Night, an evening when area Aggies gather for a meal and celebrate the traditions of the university.
Rossley was the Aggies quarterbacks coach on former head coach Mike Sherman’s staff when Manziel switched his commitment to A&M during his senior year at Kerrville Tivy High School and took a redshirt in 2011. At the end of spring drills in 2012, new head coach Kevin Sumlin named Manziel the starter. He then led the Aggies to an 11-2 record with a road win at Alabama and a Cotton Bowl championship against Oklahoma in a season-long performance that won him the Heisman
It’s hard to believe, at one time, very few of the top college football programs in the state offered Manziel a scholarship as a quarterback. Rossley was at a loss to try to explain it. He could only speak for what he saw from Manziel.
“All he did was throw touchdowns and run for touchdowns and won games for Tivy,” he said. “People may have passed on him because he’s not 6-4. Johnny was a very, very special athlete. He did it every week. He did it at the high school level consistently. Eventually, he’ll do it at the pro level.”
Rossley said Manziel is a leader of men, the kind of athlete most players want on their team.
“He’s a fun guy, he’s a fun guy to be around,” he said. “All the players gravitate to him.”
The former coach said he was honored to be asked to speak to club members.
“It’s a tight-knit group,” he said, “and the Aggies are good people. I have fond memories I’d like to share with them. I fit in well at Horseshoe Bay. And I’m doing a good job in retirement.”