Everyone loves a quarterback competition, and the Texas A&M football team will have one during the 2014 spring practices. Sophomore quarterback Kenny Hill is going to win the Aggies' starting position and is a player that everyone needs to watch this spring.
Hill is a rising sophomore from Southlake, Texas. He led Carroll High School to the 2011 5A state title when he was a junior. He led Carroll deep into the playoffs as a senior as well and was named the AP Texas Player of the Year in 2012.
As a freshman at A&M in 2013, Hill completed 72.7 percent of his passing attempts for 183 yards and a touchdown. And he averaged 5.3 yards per carry on seven rushing attempts.
What To Expect
Hill ran a very similar offense in high school to what the Aggies run under Kevin Sumlin. He ran a spread offense, which incorporated zone-read concepts into the running game.
Hill is a different type of runner than Johnny Manziel. While Manziel would wow fans with his quickness and ability to avoid defenders, Hill is more likely to lower his shoulder and bulldoze a defender. He is not going to break out any 70-yard touchdown runs like Manziel did, but he can effectively grind out the tough yards when the Aggies need him to.
As a passer, Hill is more likely to take what the defense is giving than to improvise on the run. He played as a true freshman in 2013 and displayed the ability to drive the offense down the field.
The difference between Hill and Manziel was evident in the plays the coaches called on the respective quarterbacks' first snap. The coaches often called a quarterback run play to open games in order to calm Manziel down and get him into the flow of the game. When Hill entered games, they would often have him throw deep on the first play.
Hill will be battling true freshman Kyle Allen and rising senior Matt Joeckel for the starting spot at quarterback. Allen is a 5-star recruit who was ranked by 247Sports as the top quarterback in the 2014 class.
Joeckel, meanwhile, was the starter during the 2013 season-opening game against Rice. He completed 14 of his 19 passes for 190 yards and a touchdown in his only career start. The fifth-year senior has the experience advantage on both Hill and Allen.
Both Hill and Allen are more mobile than Joeckel, however. They provide offensive coordinator Jake Spavital a running option that Joeckel does not.
Hill has a year of experience under his belt in Sumlin's system and is the best runner of the three quarterbacks. He displayed a big arm in high school but often overthrew receivers. He cleaned up his delivery in 2013 and was very accurate with the football.
When Manziel, Jameill Showers and Joeckel battled for the starting spot in the spring of 2012, head coach Kevin Sumlin did not name the starter until August. Aggie fans should expect a similar timetable with this competition.
Sumlin will give his three quarterbacks all summer to continue working on their game and to out with their teammates. Expect him to name a starter two weeks before the Aggies' season opener against South Carolina.
Aggie fans should expect Hill to win the competition for the starting spot. He will pass for 3,000 yards and rush for around 500 in 2014. He is not Manziel, but he will be a very effective offensive weapon for the Aggies at quarterback.