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Manziel leaving Texas A&M for NFL draft

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POSTED January 8, 2014 11:45 p.m.

Johnny Football is heading to the NFL.

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.”

“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.”

Notre Dame running back Atkinson enters NFL draft

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — 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 joins defensive linemen Louis Nix III and Stephon Tuitt in declaring for the NFL after the Irish finished the season 9-4 and ranked No. 21. While Nix and Tuitt have been projected as potential first-round picks by some, Atkinson is projected as a later-round pick.

Petrino interviews for Louisville job

Western Kentucky coach Bobby Petrino talked to Louisville on Tuesday about its top job.

Petrino interviewed with Cardinals athletic director Tom Jurich, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press. Jurich is looking for a replacement for Charlie Strong, who took the Texas job over the weekend.

The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the school has not announced a list of coaching candidates, also said Louisville offensive coordinator Shawn Watson and defensive coordinator Vance Bedford are among “several candidates” who have interviewed for the position.

An announcement on Strong’s successor could come as early as Thursday morning, when the University of Louisville Athletic Association is scheduled to meet to review Jurich’s recommendation for the position.

Atlanta Falcons in 2007.

Cal reshuffles defensive coaching staff

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — California has demoted defensive coordinator Andy Buh to a position coach after the Golden Bears were one of the nation’s worst defenses last season.

Coach Sonny Dykes also announced on Wednesday that defensive tackles coach Barry Sacks and defensive backs coach Randy Stewart will not return next season.

The Bears allowed the second most points in the FBS last season, giving up 45.9 per game on the way to a 1-11 record. They also allowed the most yards passing and second most total yards in major college football.

Dykes says he will look to hire a defensive coordinator with significant experience in that role.

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