COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- As Browns fans ready for their first dose of Johnny Football, it's clear nearly every place he's played has benefited. From his high school to college, Johnny's success and the attention he brings has translated into cold hard cash. Channel 3's Chris Tye recently traveled to Texas A&M, where Johnny played, and the Manziel effect can't be missed.
Thumbs are up outside Aggieland Outfitters on the campus of Texas A&M. Sales are up inside it. And you won't be surprised to learn the freshly minted orange and brown jerseys from their most famous alum are up here too.But if you look at whose buying them, specifically whose cash is that, who are these customers, that tells a deeper story.
And Josh: "A&M starting to be the big school in Texas. Maybe not the biggest, but the most popular."
Texas A&M is bringing in high schoolers like them by the busload for visits. The school with the hot alum has a hot hand and they're trying to deal themselves into the next generation of students. Selling them a shirt and a hat is great. But locking them into the class of 2018; that's the long ball.
"If you didn't know of A&M you do now," says Patrick Kilgore who is here on a visit with this wife and son.
If you're A&M interest is piqued by Manziel it's up to tour guides like Becca James to seal the deal. "For a lot of them, that's the only question they know to ask me is: 'Do you know Johnny Manziel?' I always disappoint by saying 'no, we aren't best friends,'"
On orientation weekend parents and new students learn their new environment. But by the time they leave in four years this campus may look altogether different. That's because of the money that's already been pumped in with the help of Johnny Manziel.
New highways. New classrooms. New jobs. Kyle Field, where Manziel earned his Heisman, has two phases of renovation underway -- inside and out. It was here that Manziel last enjoyed a home field advantage and his ability to whip up a crowd is an asset Aggie-nation says Cleveland is about to capitalize on.
"It's almost like you've been taken over by spirits, and the hullabaloo....connect connect...you don't sit down, you stand the whole game and you scream as loud as you can," says the man Johnny calls "Uncle Jimmy". Jim Muncie is an alum whose kids went to A&M and whose house is a tribute to Manziel. But his view is the same as those who still call the place home.
"We just joined the SEC and he defied everyone's expectations," Muncie says.
The school determined the exposure that came from Manziel's freshman year win of the Heisman trophy was valued at 37-million dollars. The year after he won, donations here nearly doubled -- 300 million more than the year before.
What happens when you're responsible for that? A near shrine to Manziel is on display at the school's Bright Center where they tout the wins, the hardware and the million dollar arm that left a million people smiling in the cut-throat world of SEC football.
Thumbs up indeed.