If there is worst-case scenario for a college football coach, losing a Heisman Trophy winner and a go-to receiver in the same season likely isn’t far from it. That’s what Texas A&M Coach Kevin Sumlin faced this offseason after losing Johnny Manziel and go-to receiver Mike Evans, who were both drafted in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft.
Then came August and a matchup against South Carolina on the road. Sophomore quarterback Kenny Hill responded to doubters by obliterating Manziel’s single-game passing record with 511 yards en route to a 52-28 drubbing of the No. 9 team in country, ending the Gamecocks 18-game home winning streak.
He hasn’t slowed since. The Aggies have outscored their opponents 163-41 and Hill has certainly been the catalyst for their high-powered offense.
Since 2010 no quarterback has won the Davey O’Brien Award — given annually to the best quarterback in college football — placing lower than fourth in Total QB Rating, a metric gauging quarterback play on all play types on a 0-to-100 scale. The last two winners (Florida State’s Jameis Winston, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel) led the country in the metric, which indicates, however marginally, a trend.
Hill, front-runner for the Davey O’Brien Award, currently ranks third. In other words, he’s right on track.
Josh Planos has had his work featured at the Wall Street Journal’s The Daily Fix, Chicago Tribune’s RedEye Chicago, Rivals, Bleacher Report, Denver Post Sports, CBS Sports Radio, Fox Sports Radio and ESPN Radio, the ESPN TrueHoop Network, Swish Analytics and The Cauldron. He loves interacting with readers via Twitter (@JPlanos).