Coach Kevin Sumlin announced Saturday that sophomore Kenny Hill will be the starter when the Aggies take the field at South Carolina on Aug. 28 at Williams Brice Stadium.
Hill beat out true freshman Kyle Allen in an offseason competition to become the heir apparent to Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. Hill, a product of Southlake (Texas) Carroll High, played four games in a reserve role last season, completing 16-of-22 passes for 183 yards and a touchdown. His start on Aug. 28 will be his first as an Aggie.
"I thought both guys really competed in a great way," Sumlin said. "We put a lot more emphasis on situational football in this camp and put guys in some situations to see how they'd perform and see what their learning curve is and not just playing 7-on-7. There's not really one deciding factor; I think it's a body of work and a feel that you have through practice and with your team."
A three-star recruit who was ESPN RecruitingNation's 21st-ranked dual-threat quarterback in the 2013 class, Hill had a decorated high school career. He was named Gatorade Texas Player of the Year as a senior and led Southlake Carroll to a Texas Class 5A state championship as a junior. Pursued by numerous Power 5 conference programs, Hill chose the Aggies over Baylor and Kansas State, among others.
In his final two seasons at Southlake Carroll, he threw for 5,305 yards and 45 touchdowns and ran for 2,305 yards and 46 touchdowns.
His father, Ken Hill Sr., is a former pitcher who had a 14-year career in Major League Baseball and was an All-Star in 1994.
Moving forward Hill will receive the first-team repetitions in practice, and Allen will work with the second team. Sumlin said he wants the two to continue to compete as the season approaches.
"Kyle needs to keep competing, and Kenny needs to continue competing at the level he's competing to stay where he is," Sumlin said.
The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Hill provides the Aggies a true dual-threat quarterback who has extensive experience running an up-tempo spread offense. He ran a similar offense at Southlake Carroll, and Texas A&M offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Jake Spavital said he noticed last season that Hill had experience in the type of system the Aggies run.
"I came in and he's signaling to receivers and changing plays and being very calm and collective with it and not being obvious," Spavital said earlier this month.
Hill's experience was a plus, also.
"He's been here for a year, he's learned under Johnny Manziel so he understands how this offense operates," Spavital said. "He's more of an athletic guy. He has a pretty quick release, too."
Hill was able to overcome a misstep this spring when he was suspended following an arrest on a public intoxication charge. He missed the final week of spring football as a result but has bounced back, according to Spavital.
"He's family to us in there," Spavital said. "He has rebounded well."