College football: Manziel declares for NFL draft

2014-01-09T00:50:00Z 2014-01-09T06:14:25Z College football: Manziel declares for NFL draft stltoday.com

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel declared for the NFL draft on Wednesday following two spectacular seasons in which he became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy and helped the Aggies make a splash in their first two years in the Southeastern Conference.

“After long discussions with my family, friends, teammates, and coaches, I have decided to make myself available for the 2014 NFL draft,” Manziel said in a letter posted online by the university. “The decision was not an easy one, but we all felt this was the right time to make the next step toward a professional career.”

Some NFL draft analysts have Manziel ranked as high as the third overall pick in mock drafts.

In a style befitting his record-setting career, Manziel led the Aggies to a 52-48 come-from-behind win over Duke in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl on New Year’s Eve in his final college game.

“In all of my years of coaching, Johnny Manziel is the most exciting football player I have ever seen,” A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said. “We appreciate everything he has done for Texas A&M and Aggie football and wish him nothing but the best.” (AP)

Winston accuser to file civil lawsuit • The attorney of the woman who accused Jameis Winston of sexual assault plans to file a civil lawsuit against the Florida State quarterback and the Tallahassee Police Department.

“I want heads to roll,” Patricia Carroll, the accuser’s attorney, told ABC News on Wednesday.

Winston was accused of raping a former female Florida State student in December 2012. State attorney Willie Meggs opted not to press charges against Winston in December, stating there was a lack of evidence to support the charge and there was not a reasonable chance of conviction.

Carroll said she will “absolutely” sue Tallahassee police, Winston and possibly the university.

The accuser went to school at FSU but left this past semester after Winston’s involvement in the case became public. According to Carroll, Assistant State Attorney Georgia Cappleman said that it would not be safe for the accuser to come back to FSU.

“I inquired … if she could return to FSU and they told me absolutely not,” Carroll told ABC News. “They too had the impression she would be in physical danger.”

Winston’s attorney, Tim Jansen, did not immediately return calls and text messages from the Orlando Sentinel. He said in December that Winston would “defend” himself if a civil suit was filed after the state attorney did not press charges against him. (Orlando Sentinel)

Petrino returns to Louisville • A person familiar with the situation says Western Kentucky’s Bobby Petrino has accepted an offer to return to Louisville as the Cardinals’ football coach.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday night on condition of anonymity because the university had not announced its decision.

The University of Louisville Athletic Association, which must approve the hire, meets this morning to review athletic director Tom Jurich’s recommendation to have Petrino replace Charlie Strong, who has accepted the Texas job.

Jonathan Blue, a Louisville board of trustees member, told AP that “if it’s a done deal” he fully supports the decision.

Petrino, 52, returns to the school he led to a 41-9 record from 2003-06. He has an 83-30 record as a college coach but was fired by Arkansas in 2012 amid scandal. (AP)

Other news • Running back George Atkinson III has become the third Notre Dame player this offseason to skip his final year of eligibility and enter the NFL draft. Atkinson started the season listed as Notre Dame’s starting back but finished second in yards and carries with 555 yards on 93 attempts. ... Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston was awarded the Manning Award, given to the nation’s top quarterback. ... Michigan has fired offensive coordinator Al Borges after the Wolverines went 7-6. (AP)

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