Texas A&M Football: Who Will Be the Aggies Starting Quarterback in 2012?

Michael TaglientiFeatured ColumnistMarch 5, 2012

HOUSTON - DECEMBER 31:  Quarterback Ryan Tannehill #17 of Texas A&M Texas A&M Aggies holds his MVP trophy after Texas A&M defeated Northwesten University 33-22 at Reliant Stadium on December 31, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

The biggest question that most Aggies have about the football team as A&M enters the Southeastern Conference is who will take the snaps from under center.

Ryan Tannehill has graduated and will play on Sundays in the fall. That leaves Jameill Showers, Matt Joeckel, Johny Manziel and Matt Davis to compete for the starting spot.

The prevailing wisdom is that Showers is the favorite entering spring practice because he has the most experience of the group. Showers will be a redshirt sophomore in 2012 and saw a few snaps during the 2011 season. For the year, Showers completed four of five passes for 45 yards. He also rushed for 33 yards on nine carries and scored a touchdown.

Showers has a strong arm and reportedly throws the best deep ball of any quarterback on campus. He has nice speed and the Aggies would be able to use him in the running game. Almost every team in the SEC uses some form of the option game to outnumber the defense in the red zone. Showers would offer the Aggies this option.

Showers is a coaches kid like Aggie offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury. Showers' father coached him at Killeen (TX) Shoemaker High School. James Showers recently accepted the head coaching position at the newly formed Aldine (TX) Davis High School. Kingsbury played for his father at New Braunfels (TX) High School.

Matt Joeckel is also a redshirt sophomore. He has not taken a snap in his two years on campus. Joeckel has prototypical size at 6'4" and 234 pounds. He has a big arm and has excelled in the two spring practices that he has participated in.

Joeckel has not been as consistent as Showers during practices, so he sat behind him on the depth chart. Joeckel rushed for over 700 yards as a senior in high school, but is not as much of a running threat as Showers. He is your classic drop back passer.

Johny Manziel is a little smaller than you would like at just barely 6'1" and 200 pounds. He does not have the strongest arm on campus, but he may be the most explosive playmaker. Manziel redshirted in 2011 during his freshman year.

As a senior in high school, Manziel put up video game-like numbers. He passed for over 3,600 yards and 45 touchdowns while rushing for over 1,600 yards and 30 touchdowns. He also had a touchdown reception and returned a kickoff for a touchdown.

For his efforts Manziel was named the National High School Player of the Year and a Parade All-American. He carried his Kerrville (TX) Tivy High School team into the playoffs and is one of the more explosive offensive players to come out of the state in recent memory.

Manziel graduated high school early and participated in spring practices in 2011. He showed the Aggie fans that he was something special by passing for ever 100 yards in the spring game after only a couple of weeks on campus.

Manziel has legit 4.5 speed and is a threat running or passing the ball. He will likely remind Kevin Sumlin's staff of former Houston quarterback Case Keenum. Manziel is more of a dynamic runner than Keenum is.

Matt Davis graduated Klein (TX) Forest High School a semester early and will participate in spring practice. Davis is 6'2", 200 pounds of muscle. Physically, he looks like a linebacker and he is probably physically ready for the rigors of the SEC right now.

Davis will likely redshirt in 2012 to help him get accustomed to college life and create some separation between him and the other quarterbacks on campus. Davis is a dynamic player and leader who will be given every opportunity to fight for the starting job this spring. The other quarterbacks are just a little farther along in their development right now.

Expect Johny Manziel to win the starting spot in the fall. His combination of accuracy, speed and the "it" factor that he possesses will be too difficult for the coaches to pass on. Manziel is the type of player who can make good things happen when the play breaks down. He will make off schedule plays and the Aggies are going to need that in the SEC West. 

Look for Manziel and Showers to get most of the snaps with the first team during spring practices and scrimmages, and for Manziel to be named the starter in the fall.