From one supremely talented freshman dual-threat quarterback to the next, Kenny Hill will likely get an opportunity to provide a glimpse into the future in the stead of Johnny Manziel for 30 minutes on Saturday.
Mr. Football, who won the Heisman last year as a redshirt freshman, was given the two-quarter suspension on Wednesday, according to Texas A&M beat writer Billy Liucci:
Latest on Manziel? Per multiple sources, he'll be suspended for first half of season-opener versus Rice on Saturday.— Billy Liucci (@billyliucci) August 28, 2013
The NCAA confirmed the report:
Texas A&M University and the NCAA confirmed today that there is no evidence that quarterback Johnny Manziel received money in exchange for autographs, based on currently available information and statements by Manziel. Due to an inadvertent violation regarding the signing of certain autographs, Texas A&M declared Manziel ineligible.
Whether you like the final decision or not, the autograph scandal is now behind us, and we can concentrate on what it means for the gridiron.
For the 30 minutes Manziel is on the sidelines against Rice this Saturday, it will mean either Hill or Matt Joeckel under center for the Aggies, but most indications seem to point towards the true freshman getting the nod.
ESPN's Travis Haney and Rotoworld's Josh Norris both point out that Hill has been more involved with the second-team offense this summer:
If something does happen between now and Saturday, freshman Kenny Hill would likely be A&M's starter. He has gotten most reps with 2's.— Travis Haney (@TravHaneyESPN) August 27, 2013
Sure, an argument can be made that Hill should simply be redshirted if he is only going to be needed for 30 minutes against a less talented team, but it's important to always have your best players on the field.
If anything (else) should happen to Manziel, Kevin Sumlin will need his next best option—who, by all indications, is Hill—to be available and ready. Getting him some game experience in a real game will only help prepare him for that instance.
Hill is a tantalizing talent.
A 4-star dual-threat quarterback, he threw for 2,291 yards, ran for 905 and tallied an absurd 42 touchdowns as a senior at Southlake Carroll. He is big, has a strong, accurate arm and can extend plays with his athleticism.
Who should start in place of Manziel on Saturday?
While Joeckel has been fairly underwhelming during his time in College Station, Hill is establishing himself as the clear quarterback of the future once Manziel moves on to professional autograph signer.
Sumlin is 1-for-1 so far in his development of freshmen quarterbacks, and for 30 minutes on Saturday, we'll hopefully see how he's doing with No. 2.