Senior College Football Columnist

If Hill starts in place of Manziel, it won't be his first bizarre opener

True freshman Kenny Hill -- the son of ex MLB pitcher Ken Hill -- could start in place of Johnny Manziel for the first half Saturday. (USATSI)
True freshman Kenny Hill -- the son of ex MLB pitcher Ken Hill -- could start for Texas A&M on Saturday. (USATSI)

If in fact, it's true freshman Kenny Hill that Kevin Sumlin names as his starter for the season-opener against Rice in place of star Johnny Manziel, who is suspended for the first half, it'll actually be the second really bizarre season opener he's had in his young career.

As a sophomore at Texas powerhouse Southlake Carroll High, Hill -- the son of former major league pitcher Ken Hill -- was set to begin the 2010 season with the JV squad. In fact, Hill was on the bus to the Dragons first game before varsity coach Hal Wasson pulled him off that bus because the school's starting QB was about to lose his eligibility. Hill ended up taking over the varsity starting job a month later. Hill went on to run and pass for 22 TDs that season. The next season, Hill led Carroll to the state Class 5A Division I title.

In the month or so since the Aggies have been in camp, the 6-1, 215-pound Hill has impressed the coaches with his arm and his wheels, but most of all by his savvy and his ability to run the hurry-up offense, the same type of attack he piloted at Southlake Carroll.

"Kenny's remarkable," Wasson told CBS on Tuesday. "He has great composure, pocket awareness and the ability to extend plays. He's also a guy who has the ability where the bigger the game, the better he plays."

The other option for A&M to play the first half against Rice Saturday is 6-4, 235-pound Matt Joeckel, who has more experience (he played in five games last season) but lacks Hill's running ability. The Aggies staff has split the reps pretty evenly among the QB candidate.

Sumlin is expected to discuss with his staff their options for the first half more on Thursday.

 
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