Jameill Showers

Texas A&M names Johnny Manziel’s successor

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It’s always difficult to follow a legend.

Johnny Manziel‘s shadow looms large over College Station, but Texas A&M quarterback Kenny Hill is ready to accept the challenge and be the Aggies’ new leader.

There was a time when Manziel was competing with Jameill Showers to be the Aggies’ starting quarterback. Manziel overtook Showers during summer camp and the legend took off from there.

Hill had to compete with highly-touted freshman Kyle Allen to be Manziel’s replacement. Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin was expected to name a starter by the end of the week. Sumlin announced Hill as their starter Saturday via Instagram.

The announcement comes as bit of a surprise. Many — including CFT — expected Allen to be named the Aggies’ quarterback.

As Manziel’s backup, Hill played in four games last season. He completed 72.7 percent of his passes during very limited opportunities.

Now that Hill has been named the team’s starter, the questions fall on Allen and his status with the team. When will the talented freshman see playing time this season? Can he overcome Hill and become the starter? Or will he eventually transfer after losing the quarterback competition?

Time will tell. But the Aggies’ offense is now Hill’s to steer.

Chase to replace Johnny Football commences in earnest

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After two wildly-entertaining and ofttimes controversial years, the post-Johnny Manziel era at Texas A&M has officially kicked off.

The Aggies opened spring practice Friday evening, with most if not all eyes focused squarely on the beginning of what’s expected to be a months-long quarterback competition.  The three-headed battle that will sort out a replacement for the 2012 Heisman winner and likely 2014 Top-Five NFL draft pick will include of fifth-year senior Matt Joeckel — Manziel’s backup in 2013 — true sophomore Kenny Hill and early enrollee true freshman Kyle Allen.

Joeckel has the kind of experience that might give him an edge over the other two.  Hill showed flashes last season that lead some to believe he could, like Manziel two years ago, surprise observers.  Allen comes in with the high-profile pedigree, a five-star member of the Aggies’ 2014 recruiting class rated as the No. 1 pro-style quarterback in the country and the No. 7 player at any position.

For his part, and least publicly, Kevin Sumlin is keeping an open mind as he embarks on his third spring in College Station.  In fact, Sumlin took the play-it-way-down approach when asked about the early fight to replace Manziel.

“It’s just the first day. We’re running around in our underwear,” said Sumlin, presumably metaphorically. “We’ll figure it out. We’ve got another day of that. …

“I was pleased with the tempo, how they got their signals and how they operated the offense. As time goes on and we put more and more on their plate, we’ll see how they perform.”

It’s highly unlikely Sumlin will name a starter as the Aggies exit spring practice, instead allowing the competition to play out at least through the first portion of summer camp before pulling the trigger on a starter.  Even if there’s a presumptive frontrunner among observers next month, that player may not be the one under center when A&M opens the season Aug. 28 against South Carolina in Columbia.

In late April of 2012, Jameill Showers exited spring as the odds-on favorite to some to succeed Ryan Tannehill in Sumlin’s first season in College Station.  A little over four months later, it was Manziel taking the field as the starter for the opener against Louisiana Tech on his way to becoming the first freshman to stake claim to the Heisman.

UTEP QB Jameill Showers to miss return to College Station

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Former Texas A&M, current UTEP and future-answer-to-a-trivia-question quarterback Jameill Showers will miss his return to College Station due to an injured right shoulder suffered this past weekend against Rice.

In fact, Miners coach Sean Kugler said on Monday that Showers had dislocated his shoulder and would likely miss the rest of the season. The injury occurred when Showers was sacked in the second quarter of UTEP’s 45-7 loss to the Owls.

Showers transferred to UTEP before last season after he lost the competition for the A&M starting quarterback job to one Johnny Manziel, who of course went on to win the Heisman Trophy.

The junior had 1,263 yards with 11 touchdowns and four interceptions in seven games this season. He has also rushed for 192 yards and four scores. Sophomore Blaire Sullivan will get the start for UTEP (1-6) against the Aggies (6-2). Sullivan went six of nine for 112 yards and one touchdown, with one interception, in relief of Showers over the weekend.

Kevin Sumlin’s support helped overturn Manziel’s suspension

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In the wake of Johnny Manziel‘s tweet earlier this month in which he wrote that he “can’t wait to leave College Station,” a report surfaced that the Texas A&M quarterback had been suspended for the 2012 season following an offseason arrest.  That suspension, the report stated, had the quarterback seriously considering a transfer.

It never got to that point, obviously, as the punishment was overturned as part of the school’s appeals process and Manziel went on to win the Heisman Trophy in his first season as a starter.  Not so unexpectedly, his head coach played a role in getting the suspension overturned.

The Daily Oklahoman writes that “the overturn came, in part, because of the backing of Aggie coach and former OU assistant Kevin Sumlin, who wrote a letter in support of Manziel during the appeal process.”  According to the coach, the letter of support didn’t come out of fear of losing a starter — Manziel was behind Jameill Showers entering summer camp and wasn’t named the starter until two weeks before the season opener — but rather due to the fact that he was taking steps to comply with the other internal punishment meted out and taking those steps seriously.

“A lot has been said about discipline, but he went through all that, which is a little bit more than people think,” Sumlin told the paper at a golf outing in Edmond, Okla., Tuesday. “That’s not a public deal, it’s just what I ask him to do. He did all those things and his parents were involved in all of that. So for him to go through that, then go through camp and those types of things and earn the job, that’s what’s brought him to where he is now.”

Suffice to say, the overturn might have been the Aggies’ biggest win in a highly-successful debut season in the SEC, but the road hasn’t gotten any easier for the player or the program in the offseason.  Manziel has been connected to several mostly overblown “controversies” the past few months, but Sumlin said the fact that his rock-star player is back on campus and with his teammates preparing for summer camp is helping to calm what’s been an offseason full of rough water.

“It’s been really hard,” Sumlin said when asked about the past six months or so for Manziel. “You know, he’s a young guy. And because of that, he is who he is and he’s made some mistakes. Everybody knows that. But right now, I think for him to be back, we have summer school going, we have fall camp coming up. Him being back with his teammates, that’s a good deal, good for him.”

Thanks to the constant tumult, there might not be a person in the country more anxious to get the 2013 season started than Manziel.  Well, other than Sumlin and his coaching staff, of course.

Report: suspended for ’12 season after arrest, Manziel considered transfer

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Oh, what the hell.  Let’s add another layer to the college football soap opera that is Johnny Manziel a few days after he tweeted “Bull**** like tonight is a reason why I can’t wait to leave college station.”

Most people know that, in his first season as a starter, the quarterback not only led Texas A&M to an unprecedented first season in the SEC, but also became the first freshman — redshirt or otherwise — to take home the storied Heisman Trophy.

What some people tend to forget is that, exiting spring practice last year, Jameill Showers was the favorite to win the Aggies starting job and, a couple of months later, Manziel was arrested and charged with a handful of misdemeanors related to an incident at a College Station drinking establishment.  It was at that point that the fortunes of Aggie football in general and Manziel specifically reportedly reached a crossroads that the public never knew about.

Citing a source with knowledge of the situation, Kate Hairopolous of the Dallas Morning News reports that, in the aftermath of his arrest and subsequent shirtless mugshot, Manziel was suspended for the 2012 season by A&M.  As a result, the source told Hairopolous, Manziel gave serious consideration to transferring from the Aggies pending an appeal.

The appeal was successful, obviously, and the rest is downright college football lore.

In Manziel’s first season as a starter… and in Kevin Sumlin‘s first season as the Aggies’ head coach… and in A&M’s first season in the best football conference in the country, well…

An 11-win season that was the Aggies’ most since 1998.  A 28-point Cotton Bowl beatdown of then-No. 11 Oklahoma.  And, the icing on the cake, handing Alabama its lone loss in a season that ended with the Tide’s second straight BCS title and third in four years.

It was, by all accounts and every tangible measurement, an unmitigated success, with nothing but on-field positives heading into arguably the most anticipated season in the program’s history.  That said…

It’s been widely speculated — and not exactly shot down by the player — that Manziel will bolt A&M following the 2013 season for the NFL as he would be three years removed from high school and thus eligible for the draft.  Based on the Tim Tebow-like crush of attention the I’ll-live-my-life-however-I-damn-well-please-so-FU Manziel receives, that’s quickly evolving into what’s likely the best course of action for all involved.