- Sam Khan Jr., ESPN Staff Writer
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Texas A&M's on-field success in the SEC, including the captivating play of Johnny Manziel, has been a major factor in the Aggies' rise to national relevance in the college football landscape.
Now, one A&M regent wants to thank the program's second Heisman Trophy winner by having his name attached to the redeveloped Kyle Field.
In the midst of thanking several people for their contributions to the project, Texas A&M system regent Jim Schwertner told reporters on Monday during an update of the ongoing renovation of Kyle Field that he hopes the stadium is eventually renamed "Kyle Field: The House That Johnny Built."
"The last person that we all need to thank, and I'm very serious about this, is Johnny Manziel," Schwertner said. "The stars came together. We talked about this project for a long, long time. But none of us were sure how quick we could pay for this project. And because of a young man by the name of Johnny Manziel, we were able to raise all the money in two months. My vision is someday, I hope, the Aggie Nation will come together and decide that we can revise the name of Kyle Field to Kyle Field, the House That Johnny Built."
Notably, Manziel applied in January for the trademark to the term "The House That Johnny Built" but was second to apply for it, being beaten to the punch by "Fitch Estate Sales," a company owned by the family of Nate Fitch, a longtime friend of the Manziel's. Fitch Estate Sales applied for the trademark in December.
When asked if he was serious about having Manziel's name tied to the stadium, which is undergoing a $450 million renovation due for completion in time for the 2015 football season, Schwertner assured that he was.
"I'm very serious," Schwertner said. "I hope the Aggie Nation will come together and decide that that's something they want to do. Think about this: The last time we had a Heisman Trophy winner was John [David Crow]. And we have a freshman that was the first freshman ever on the planet to be a Heisman Trophy winner, and all of this came together very fast. It's going to be up to the students and the former students to decide that. But that would sure be a real testament to how great that young man was for this university. So my vote would be 'yes,' but there are a lot of other folks that are going to vote on what I just said."
Schwertner's comments were first reported by the San Antonio Express-News.
After Schwertner made his initial statement about Manziel, Texas A&M chancellor John Sharp stepped to the microphone and joked, "I bet you'll make some press on that one."
Manziel wrapped up two memorable seasons as the Aggies' quarterback in January, helping lead the Aggies to a 20-6 record in their first two seasons as members of the SEC. Manziel, who set at least 35 school, SEC and NCAA records, was drafted 22nd overall by the Cleveland Browns in the first round of the NFL draft last week.
5hGreg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough