Johnny Manziel has left the building, and with his absence, Kevin Sumlin and Texas A&M are without a starting quarterback for 2014.
As such, the search for the Aggies' next signal-caller is underway, and two candidates stand out as the favorites for the position—sophomore Kenny Hill and incoming freshman Kyle Allen.
Following in the footsteps of Manziel will be no easy task, as the NFL-bound Heisman winner leaves behind a legacy of success and record-breaking performances. Hill or Allen, whoever wins the job, will face not only deadly SEC defenses but Manziel's legacy as well, as they look to lead a resurgent A&M program.
Bleacher Report breaks down which quarterback has a better shot at winning the vacancy as the offseason begins and spring training inches closer.
Next fall, Hill will be entering his sophomore year of eligibility after backing up Manziel last season, snaring limited on-field time during A&M's blowout victories. However, Sumlin and then-co-offensive coordinator Jake Spavital's choice to burn Hill's redshirt freshman season allowed him to gain actual experience under the lights of a college football atmosphere, something that should be a valuable asset for Hill moving forward.
Sitting at 6'1" and approximately 215 pounds, Hill is slightly larger than Manziel but displays a style similar to the departed quarterback. A dual-threat product of Southlake Carroll, Texas, Hill has a familiarity with how the A&M offense has been run over the last two years and, like Manziel, his legs give him that extra dimension.
However, this is not to say Hill's arm is lackluster, as he proved in his limited time with the A&M offense. In late-season performances against Vanderbilt and UTEP, Hill showcased his arm strength and precision, throwing to receivers through tight windows.
Lastly, Hill's relationship with the players on A&M's offense, not to mention his knowledge of Sumlin's air-raid system, provides him a significant advantage entering spring training. In the battle with Allen, Hill has a big advantage in terms of experience, and it should play a significant factor in the QB competition.
As an incoming 5-star recruit, Allen has immediate notoriety and acclaim within the A&M program and fanbase, which means he should by default get a shot at the starting QB role. His early enrollment gives him the opportunity to compete with Hill from the get-go and the time to work within A&M's offensive system and learn the ins and outs of the Aggies' football culture.
Entering College Station, Allen is pegged as a pro-style quarterback, a departure from the creative, run-and-gun style Manziel made famous in his two years under center for the Aggies. Allen's best asset is certainly his arm, as he has demonstrated pinpoint accuracy along with superb arm strength.
Allen exhibits mobility, though not to the same extent of Hill or Manziel. His legs are used specifically for extending plays in order to find receivers coming open downfield, rather than tucking the ball and scrambling for yards.
At 6'2" and 205 pounds, Allen is a mobile pocket quarterback, similar to Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers. However, his frame should allow him to bulk up a bit once he starts working with strength and conditioning coach Larry Jackson.
Considering each quarterback's advantages, both would be definitive starters at a number of Division I programs, but with A&M's emphasis on mobile, dual-threat quarterbacks, Hill should be considered the favorite for the position. His experience within Sumlin's offensive system will be a key, as will be the fact that he has established relationships with both the coaches and players at College Station.
With Hill taking the starting job, Allen could very well be redshirted and positioned to take over at quarterback as early as his redshirt sophomore year. That time frame will be realized should Hill imitate Manziel and leave early for the NFL.
*All recruit rankings courtesy of 247sports.com