Tyler teacher recalls time with Johnny Manziel

EAST TEXAS (TYLER MORNING TELEGRAPH) - In 25 years of teaching, Stephen Ellis taught hundreds of kids, influencing them for one year and then watching them move on the next.

However, in recent years, Ellis, now retired, has had the privilege of watching a few of his former students excel as adults.

One of those is Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. Manziel, 20, was one of Ellis' students during the 2003-04 school year at Rice Elementary School.

Although it was several years ago, Ellis remembers a bit about Johnny and what his fifth-grade year was like.

"He was popular among the kids," Ellis, 61, said. "He was well-liked. He was well-behaved. He was a good kid. I don't remember anything being out of the ordinary."

In the classroom, Manziel excelled in math, Ellis said. He always wanted to be right.

He was the typical student in that there were positive things to report during parent-teacher conferences as well as some areas for improvement, Ellis said.
"He was a good student …" he said. "I just remember he always wanted to win. He was a winner."

Ellis said he has enjoyed watching Manziel play quarterback for Texas A&M University. He said for him to do so well his first year playing is outstanding.

"To win the Heisman I'd say is really good," Ellis said. "He hasn't changed a whole lot, you know. He's a little taller, but he looked the same when he was 10."

Manziel is not the only former student Ellis gets to follow.

Ellis taught Matt Flynn, Seattle Seahawks backup quarterback and the quarterback who led Louisiana State University to a BCS national championship for the 2007 season, is a former Rice student and Robert E. Lee High School graduate.

"I like to see kids from around here do well," he said.

Ellis will get an opportunity to see Manziel again today, when the Aggies face the Oklahoma Sooners in the Cotton Bowl.


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