The race to replace Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel took a detour over the weekend when Sam Kahn Jr. of ESPN.com reported that rising sophomore Kenny Hill was arrested for public intoxication and suspended indefinitely.
Hill passed for 183 yards, rushed for 37 yards and tossed one touchdown pass in mop-up duty behind Manziel last season. He is competing with senior Matt Joeckel and true freshman early enrollee Kyle Allen for the starting quarterback job in College Station this spring.
According to Gabe Bock of TexAgs.com, head coach Kevin Sumlin commented on what Hill's absence does to the quarterback race Monday afternoon:
Sumlin said that Kenny Hill being suspended and not practicing (obviously) has an affect on his ability to compete for the starting QB job.— Gabe Bock (@GabeBock) April 1, 2014
In Bleacher Report's updated position battle tracker, Michael Taglienti noted that it was essentially a two-man race between Hill and Allen. Hill's absence now means his reps will be divvied up between Joeckel and Allen, which is huge news if your money is on Allen winning the job.
All three contenders have desirable attributes for Sumlin.
Joeckel is the veteran with the most experience, Allen is the hot-shot gunslinger who can throw the ball around the field and Hill is the dual threat who could keep the scheme as similar as possible to the one Sumlin was successful with while Manziel was taking the snaps.
Now, for the last week of spring practice, that spread element is gone. That means the offense is going to veer a little bit more towards the strengths of both Allen and Joeckel as spring practice winds down, which means more opportunity for the offense to come to Allen as he adjusts to the offense.
Ultimately, it's what could win him the job.
Not only are those reps valuable to his acclimation to college life, the weapons in that offense—including running backs Trey Williams, Tra Carson and Brandon Williams as well as wide receiver Ricky Seals-Jones—will be forced to make a transition of their own.
With spring practice coming to a close this weekend, an offense that's suited for the strengths of Joeckel and Allen will be fresh in the minds of the entire offense as the Aggies hit the summer conditioning session.
There's a lot to like about what Allen—who was the top-ranked pocket passer in the 2014 recruiting class—brings to the table.
The 6'3", 205-pounder from Scottsdale, Ariz., has a big arm, is accurate on both short and deep routes, and has tremendous pocket presence.
Does he have the legs of Manziel? No, but he's mobile enough to extend plays behind the line of scrimmage and doesn't lose accuracy when he makes throws on the run.
Hill's arrest and suspension open the door for Allen to make a big-time statement in the race to replace Manziel during the final week of spring practice. Expect Allen to waltz on through that door and win the job early in fall camp.