Filling Johnny’s Shoes: Meet Kenny Hill

Kenny Hill, or “Kenny Trill” as they now call him, is the nation’s fastest growing attraction. The sophomore starting quarterback for Texas A&M has put up some magical numbers this year in his first year since replacing “Johnny Football,” the biggest star to ever come out of College Station.

Growing up in Southlake, Texas with a former professional baseball pitcher as your father couldn’t have been easy for Kenny but it definitely gave him a strong example on how to develop his own athletic identity and become the talent he is today. Ken Hill Sr. was a very good pitcher in the major leagues, his biggest highlight being a second place finish to Greg Maddux in 1994 Cy Young Award voting. Ken won 117 games as a starting pitcher and finished his career with over a thousand strikeouts, and an ERA that barely eclipsed 4.00.

Johnny Football’s once powerful presence at A&M has now been hijacked by Kenny Hill, who looks more than ready to fill the shoes that Johnny left. The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner, Manziel left a large shadow over College Station that no one thought would be replaced, not now and not ever. But that was before they saw Kenny Hill’s debut in Columbia against the Gamecocks.

Hill’s first game against South Carolina implanted himself as Johnny’s clear replacement and a favorite to win over the hearts of the Aggie faithful. He ended the game throwing for 511 yards and three touchdowns while setting the school record for passing yards in the process. His numbers match up very favorably to Manziel’s numbers in his first game of his Heisman campaign when Johnny threw for 173 yards and ran for another 60 with a touchdown against the Florida Gators.

Hill also dazzled everyone last week against Arkansas, when he led a fourth quarter comeback to take the game into overtime where the Aggies went on to bury the Razorbacks. It was the first opportunity the sophomore quarterback had to lead a comeback this year and he did so with the poise of a veteran. He secured the Aggies the tying touchdown with just over two minutes left in the game on a 59-yard pass to Josh Reynolds.

Hill’s most recent game, which pitted his No. 6 Aggies against the No. 12 Mississippi State Bulldogs, resulted in the Aggies first loss of the season. This game will be remembered for all of the offensive firepower, and this weekend as a whole will go down in college football history with all of the upsets taking place. Not only did Texas A&M lose but so did the No. 2 Oregon Ducks, No. 3 Alabama Crimson Tide, and No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners – four of the top eight teams were bested in the same weekend, a historic first.. This game might have been the Aggies first loss of the year but that didn’t stop Hill from throwing for 365 yards and four touchdowns. Turnovers were an issue for Hill in this game, as he threw three interceptions – more interceptions than he had thrown through the first five games combined.

Through the first six games Hill has looked sharp and there has been little to no drop in quarterback play between Manziel last year and Hill now. Hill has thrown for 2,110 yards so far with 21 touchdowns to only five interceptions. His now-No. 14 Aggies face the No. 3 team in the country this weekend, when the Ole Miss Rebels venture to College Station. This weekend, similarly to last, will be an open opportunity for Heisman pretenders and contenders to make their cases for glory. Hill has all the tools to keep the Aggies in play, and his Heisman watchlist status unquestioned.

*Section Photo credit to Scott Halleran, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Brett Coomer, Houston Chronicle