The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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KENNY HILL: The Sophomore dual threat has the reigns.

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A new field, a new network and a new quarterback — Johnny Manziel’s shoes may be tough to fill, but head coach Kevin Sumlin has chosen sophomore Kenny Hill to take the job.
Hill narrowly beat out true freshman and top-rated quarterback recruit Kyle Allen for the Aggies starting quarterback position.
“The competition was close and that competition will continue to help us improve,” Sumlin said. “I have talked to both quarterbacks as well as the team and we will prepare with Kenny getting the first-team reps.”
A four-star recruit and the fourth-best quarterback overall according to Rivals.com, Hill chose Texas A&M over Kansas State, Baylor and Houston. He played in four games last season for the Aggies as Johnny Manziel’s backup and completed 16 of his 22 pass attempts for 138 yards and a touchdown.
Offensive Coordinator Jake Spavital cited Hill’s tutelage under the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner as one of the reasons for him earning the starting job.
“The experience of being here and understanding what we do offensively and watching Johnny [Manziel] operate has helped him out a lot,” Spavital said. “There are going to be some experiences he hasn’t seen, but he’s probably seen a little more than Kyle [Allen] has right now, and that was one of the deciding factors for us.”
Hill was a standout at Texas 5A perpetual powerhouse Southlake Carroll, where he threw for 7,066 yards and 60 touchdowns and ran for 2,374 yards and 53 touchdowns in his final three seasons. In 2011, his junior year, he led Carroll to a state championship and an undefeated season. He was named the Texas Gatorade Player of the Year and the Class 5A Offensive Player of the Year after his senior season.
Spavital, a former quarterbacks coach at West Virginia, hopes to showcase Hill’s dual-threat athleticism. Spavital spoke to former A&M Offensive Coordinator Kliff Kingsbury during the offseason about how he would use Manziel’s running ability in games, and how Spavital now has the opportunity to watch Hill’s playing style.
“Even talking with Kliff about it, what they did with Johnny was utilize a couple run plays with him in that Florida game, but you never know [how a QB can run] until you see him out there,” Spavital said. “Hopefully you can fall into a situation like that. I don’t know yet [about Kenny]. I don’t think he’s as athletic as Johnny, but he may be more athletic than Geno [Smith]. Some people just have that savviness like Case Keenum, who would scramble for 200, 300 yards in a season. Kenny may have that ability.”
Hill, 19, was suspended in the offseason following his arrest for public intoxication. He has since been reinstated with the team and was given a clean slate, according to Spavital.
Hill will make his first collegiate start Thursday when the No. 21 Aggies play the No. 9 South Carolina Gamecocks in Columbia.

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