Jameill Showers’ thoughts churned like the rumor mill.
Expected to be the starting quarterback at Texas A&M for its first football season in the Southeastern Conference, Showers was dealt with the crushing news that redshirt freshman Johnny Manziel would instead make the Aggies’ debut.
The decision wasn’t personal, A&M first-year head coach Kevin Sumlin explained to the former Shoemaker standout.
But to Showers, it was.
“I’ve worked too hard for it to just watch football,” Showers said. “I didn’t go to college just to watch football, sit on the sideline and just put on a jersey. I want to go out there and I want to contribute to my team and I want to be a leader.
“It’s a dream I’ve had since I was 5 years old,” he added. “No little kid is running around working out, playing football and going home at night just wishing that they could be on the sideline.”
After setting numerous SEC records, Manziel capped the Aggies’ first 11-win season since 1998 by becoming the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy and set quarterback records in Texas A&M’s 41-13 rout of Big 12 juggernaut Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl.
The reality broke Showers’ heart — he would likely never start for the Aggies.
But he would never give up on his boyhood dream, either. On Monday, Showers announced he would transfer to another school following his graduation from Texas A&M in June.
“I wanted to start,” Showers said. “That’s what I went to A&M to do and it just didn’t work out that way. I had to make the decision I made and I decided to leave.”
Making the decision
According to Billy Liucci of TexAgs.com, Showers, who has two years of eligibility remaining, could receive interest from Arizona State, Baylor, Cal and Texas Tech.
Because he plans to graduate from A&M before leaving the College Station campus, Showers, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound mobile quarterback, does not have to sit out and lose a year of eligibility after he transfers.
“It kind of crossed my mind at the beginning of the season,” Showers said. “Then, really, all through the season, it kept coming up, kept getting brought up and, when things didn’t change toward the end of the season, it just pretty much became a permanent thought in my head.”
In two years as the Aggies’ back-up quarterback, Showers completed 31 of 49 passes for 359 yards and two touchdowns.
He played in four games as a redshirt freshman backing up current Miami Dolphins starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill in 2011. He appeared to be the favorite to start for A&M in 2012, but two weeks before the Aggies’ season- and SEC-opener against Florida, Sumlin gave the start to Manziel instead.
“I was disappointed. I felt like I had worked for it and it didn’t go my way,” Showers said. “I felt like anybody else would feel if they really wanted the job. It was disappointing and I was upset for a while, but I just sat down with my family and talked about it and turned my attitude around.”
Showers never took the field in the Aggies’ 20-17 loss to Florida, but played well against SMU the following week and nearly the entire second half of Texas A&M’s 70-14 rout of South Carolina State. But he only played one series in the Aggies’ 58-10 win over Arkansas on Sept. 29.
“I hit a little low point at the beginning of the season where I was like, ‘I don’t know if this is for me.’ And then I talked to my parents and prayed about it,” Showers said. “I feel like I just turned my whole attitude around. I guess I learned to depend on me, control things that you can control and God will get the rest for you.”
Rumors that Showers was considering a transfer started to surface in early November, but he held steadfast to his decision to earn a diploma from Texas A&M. With that end clearly in sight, Showers felt more open to his thoughts of transferring.
“It doesn’t (surprise me),” former Shoemaker coach Ken Gray said. “The main thing I’m proud of is he’s going to end up getting his degree and that’s always No. 1. He’s getting his degree and then, hopefully, he’ll go to a place where he’s going to get a chance to compete for the starting job.”
After announcing his intent last week, Showers saw a boost of confidence online on message boards. Fans openly wished him the best and understood why he was choosing to leave.
“It was unreal to me because, honestly, you always hear about people transferring and it’s always a pretty bad deal — there’s a bunch of bad feelings toward that person. But, at A&M, I feel like — I didn’t really realize it — everything I was doing wasn’t being overlooked and people really saw and appreciated it,” Showers said.
The transfer process is still in its early phases and most schools won’t even start pursuing him until after National Signing Day on Wednesday and then, Showers is going to weigh every option carefully.
He said he is looking for a high-energy coaching staff like at Texas A&M that runs a pass-happy offense where not only can he step in and play right away, but also be free to make line-of-scrimmage changes as he sees fit.
“I think that one of the good things is he’s already been in a pro-style offense his first two years there with Coach (Mike) Sherman,” Gray said. “And then he’s been in a wide-open, more of a spread-type offense now with coach Sumlin and coach (Kliff) Kingsbury. I think he’d fit into any offense and he’s a smart kid and he picks up things well. I think wherever he goes, he can fit in right away and I think if he got there mid-summer, I think he could pick up anyone’s offense pretty fast.”
Baylor, which recruited Showers in high school and has to replace senior quarterback Nick Florence, is a possibility as is Texas Tech, where former A&M offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury is now the head coach.
“I’m taking everything one step at a time because I don’t want to rush anything — it’s pretty much a do-or-die decision for me. If I make the wrong decision, that’s pretty much it,” Showers said. “I’d like to stay in Texas, but, really, whatever school gives me the best opportunity to play and hopefully make it to the next level.”
Showers hasn’t started a game since his junior year in high school, when he led the Grey Wolves to their only playoff appearance in school history. He threw for more than 2,100 yards and rushed for more than 500 that season. But, he suffered a broken collarbone during a preseason scrimmage as a senior and missed the entire season.
“I definitely have something to prove,” Showers said. “Since middle school, I’ve always just played with a chip on my shoulder and I have even more to prove now just because I was neck and neck with Johnny, and it was leaning my way and everybody was waiting to see what I can do. I’m not going to transfer so I can sit on the sideline again. I’ve got to prove myself.”