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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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June 16, 2024

Musical chairs for QB position, again

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Photo by Photo by Cassie Stricker

Freshman quarterback Kellen Mond completed 12 of his 21 pass attempts for 105 yards and one touchdown. 

The last time Texas A&M had a returning starter at quarterback, it was returning Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Johnny Manziel.

Now, almost four years later, A&M has not had a quarterback who finished one year and completed the next season. A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin said at Tuesday’s press conference that the lack of stability at the position can be traced to many factors.

Sumlin said that the college landscape has changed and makes it hard to have a multi-year starter at quarterback.

“The idea of a long term that starts from his freshman year as quarterback or a two-year starter, I see that being ideal, but I don’t see very many three-year guys out there right now,” Sumlin said. “So, there’s number of reasons why [there hasn’t been a multi-year starter].”

When Manziel declared for the draft following his second season at the helm, the Aggies turned to quarterback Kenny Hill as their starter in 2014. However, after a hot start to the season, Hill’s productivity went down and he was eventually replaced by Kyle Allen, who at the time was a true freshman. In January of 2015, A&M granted Hill his release from his scholarship, and in May he announced he would be heading north to Fort Worth and play for TCU.

Then came Allen’s stint as the man under center for A&M. He was named the 2015 starter in late August during the team’s fall camp. Allen suffered an injury which opened the door for yet another true freshman, Kyler Murray. Following a season full of controversy, both Allen and Murray transferred within days of one another.

Which brings the A&M coaching staff to the current situation that they are dealing with — scarcity at quarterback. Sumlin said that the transfers of three quarterbacks really plays a role.

“You look back on it, and yeah we had a situation,” Sumlin said. “We had two guys leave in one year, which hurts the program particularly at the time they left with where recruiting was.”

Sumlin said the trend of players transferring to new schools is affecting the A&M program.

“I don’t know. We’ve has some turnover there,” Sumlin said. “Some guys have left on their own. We’ve had some guys who have come in like Trevor [Knight] who was pretty good, but he’s a one year guy. You see more and more of that with grad transfers or transfer quarterbacks that play. Which has gotten us to the position that we are right now.”

However, despite the trend, Sumlin said the program has benefitted from having players transfer into the program as well.

“Trevor gave us the opportunity to redshirt Nick [Starkel] last year and also gave the opportunity to keep Jake [Hubenak] in that position that he was able to play some,” Sumlin said.

Sumlin said the injury to redshirt freshman Nick Starkel in the season opener against UCLA really played a major part in the Aggies’ weakness at quarterback.

 “We got guys in place right now with the staggered classes, even with a redshirt freshman in Nick, you get a freak deal like that he was playing really good then the second guy rolls up on his ankle and now he’s out,” Sumlin said. “Otherwise, you got three capable guys who can play for you. An injury exposes that really quickly.”

Heading into this week’s match up against Louisiana-Lafayette, Sumlin said the plan is to continue to play both senior Hubenak and true freshman Kellen Mond to give them both in game experience.

“If you go back and really look at the video, I thought Kellen started as good as he could start,” Sumlin said. “We want to play them both. I thought Jake came in and did a nice job too. So, that plan is still in place. We’ve got to continue to develop both of them in my opinion not just one guy. Those are our guys … Both guys need to be developed and continued to develop and the only way to do that is practice them both and play them both.”

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