Former Texas A&M quarterback and 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel apparently cashed in on his stellar redshirt freshman season almost immediately after taking home college football's most prestigious individual honor. Manziel told Barstool Sports that he made $30,000 in a signing session, notably one he participated in during the week of the 2013 BCS Championship Game in Miami following the 2012 season.
"I got to make somewhat of a decent living in college," Manziel said.
Manziel indicated that he "may or may not" have signed up to 10,000 pieces of memorabilia at the condo of a man who approached him on the street. That man, according to Manziel, paid him $3,000 for the items. While he was signing the items, another man approached him in the condo and told him that he was getting ripped off, giving him the number of another man who would pay him $30,000 for a signing session.
"So this guy is pretty much like, 'all right, go to this room at the Fontainebleau. All the stuff will be in there laid out, and when you're done, just send me a picture of all of it, I'll give you the code to the safe and the money will be in there,'" Manziel said.
Manziel told Barstool that he didn't take any money prior to being awarded the 2012 Heisman Trophy in December of that year, but he was not worried about the NCAA choosing to take away any wins or statistics from the subsequent 9-4 season.
Following the season, allegations surfaced that Manziel was paid for up to 4,400 autographs in multiple sessions at multiple locations, including South Florida. The NCAA investigated the allegations and found that, while Manziel did violate the rule forbidding athletes from using their name, image and likeness, he did not receive money his efforts. He was suspended for the first half of Texas A&M's season opener vs. Rice as a result of the investigation.
Manziel threw for 3,706 yards, rushed for 1,410 and combined for 47 touchdowns (26 passing, 21 rushing) during the 2012 season. He followed it up with 4,114 passing yards, 759 rushing yards and 46 touchdowns (37 passing, nine rushing) in 2013.
Manziel declared for the NFL Draft following his redshirt sophomore season in 2013. He was selected 22nd overall by the Cleveland Browns in the 2014 NFL Draft. He spent two years with the Browns before his NFL career ended. He has since bounced around several professional leagues.