At least one SEC QB battle has been settled, and the winner will have a chance to put up some big numbers in 2012. Texas A&M will start QB Johnny Manziel in its season opener against Louisiana Tech on Aug. 30.
He will become the first SEC quarterback at Texas A&M, and the first in the Kevin Sumlin era. Sumlin developed a reputation for developing quarterbacks as the head coach at Houston (2008-2011), and as the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma (2006-2007).
Though the Aggies won't be as pass-happy as Houston, Manziel has the potential to put up big numbers in a scheme that produced Case Keenum, the former Houston quarterback who is the most prolific passer in NCAA history. Keenum averaged 567 completions, 5,440 yards and 46 touchdowns per season in his three years as the full-time starter under Sumlin.
Manziel, a redshirt freshman, beat out sophomore Matt Joeckel, freshman Matt Davis and sophomore Jameill Showers, who was the presumed favorite for much of camp. Showers was the only quarterback who had thrown a pass at the FBS level entering camp.
"Johnny has performed the best at this stage and we will proceed until the season opener with him getting the first-team reps," Sumlin said via a release. "My policy is simple really; the best player plays.”
The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Manziel hails from Kerrville, Texas, and was a highly decorated prep player. He earned Parade All-America honors, and was the AP high school player of the year in Texas in 2010. He showed great accuracy, completing 65.7 percent of his passes for 3,609 yards, 45 touchdowns and just five interceptions.
He also showed versatility by rushing 170 times for 1,674 yards and 30 touchdowns, catching a touchdown pass and contributing in the return game.
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