Mon 18/08/2014 - 20:49 EDT

Kenny Hill Gets First Shot As Texas A&M Starting Quarterback

Kenny Hill Gets First Shot As Texas A&M Starting Quarterback

The 2014 college football season is just over a week away and one of the biggest questions nationally has been answered: Who will replace the legendary Johnny Manziel as Texas A&M's starting quarterback. The answer: Sophomore Kenny Hill will start next Thursday in a big opener at No. 9 South Carolina, the favorite at sportsbooks to win the SEC East Division. The Gamecocks also are -10.5 at WagerWeb for this game, the first time the schools have played as SEC members.

Sumlin Hints Competition Not 100 Percent Over

Hill beat out true freshman Kyle Allen, though Sumlin said the battle will continue. After equal repetitions, two weeks of practice and three scrimmages, Coach Kevin Sumlin and offensive coordinator Jake Spavital made the decision Saturday morning, told the players that afternoon and then made the Hill pick public in the evening. Hill played in four games last season in relief of Manziel, in completing 16 of 22 passes, while rushing for another 37 yards on seven carries.

Obviously Hill has huge shoes to fill as thanks to Manziel the Aggies led the SEC in total offense the last two seasons and ranked fourth in the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2013. Hill comes from one of the best high school football programs in the nation, Southlake Carroll outside of Dallas. The program owns eight state championships and is a factory for Division I quarterbacks. Chase Wasson, Chase Daniel, Greg McElroy, Riley Dodge, Kyle Padron and David Piland, who all preceded Hill, went on to play college football.

In 2011, Hill guided the Dragons to a 16-0 record and a state championship as a junior. He threw for 3,014 yards and 25 scores and ran for 1,400 yards and 24 more touchdowns. As a senior, he accounted for 3,196 offensive yards and 42 touchdowns en route to Gatorade Texas Player of the Year honors.

Hill Familiar With System

Hill’s ability to assimilate the Aggies’ Air Raid-style offense can also be attributed to his prep days; Southlake Carroll ran similar concepts. Texas A&M quarterbacks coach Jake Spavital immediately noticed Hill’s comfort level with the offense.

“You can tell he was raised in a spread, no-huddle system,” Spavital said. “That comes pretty much second nature to him. ... I came in and he's signaling to receivers and changing plays and being very calm and collective with it and not being obvious."

Hill's father is Ken Hill Sr., a former pitcher who had a 14-year career in Major League Baseball and was an All-Star in 1994. The Aggies haven't been a good bet of late in SEC play, covering just one of their past seven. South Carolina has covered four of its past five at home.

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