COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — Johnny Manziel has left Texas A&M for the NFL and coach Kevin Sumlin has yet to decide who will replace the Heisman Trophy winner at quarterback.
With less than three weeks before the opener, sophomore Kenny Hill and freshman Kyle Allen are vying for the job.
Whoever gets the job will be left with big shoes to fill, but Sumlin isn't expecting that player to be Johnny Football and has talked to his veterans about helping the starter adjust.
"It's incumbent on the other 10 guys who are on the field to make the offense quarterback friendly," Sumlin said. "Our guys understand that because whoever that is, is going to be a young guy going into a very hostile situation in Columbia the first game of the year."
The Aggies open their season Aug. 28 with a Southeastern Conference game against South Carolina before playing their playing their three game non-conference slate.
Hill had very limited action last season, appearing in four games and finishing with 183 yards passing. Allen was one of the top quarterback prospects in the nation after throwing for more than 8,000 yards and 86 touchdowns in his career at Desert Mountain high school in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Manziel threw for 4,114 yards and 37 touchdowns and had 759 yards rushing with nine scores in leading Texas A&M to a 9-4 record in its second season in the SEC before darting to the NFL with two years of eligibility remaining.
He was the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy in 2012 and brought a level of excitement to College Station that had been missing for many years with his daring improvisational style of play.
His replacement will be decided soon, but Sumlin wouldn't tip his hand as to which way he's leaning and said this weekend that the race is "dead even."
Five things to know about the 2014 Aggies:
The Aggies have some questions on defense after several players were dismissed or left the team following off-the-field issues this offseason. The biggest loss was linebacker Darian Claiborne, who was named to the SEC All-Freshman team after piling up 89 tackles, including a team-leading seven for losses last year. He and lineman Isaiah Golden were dismissed from the team after being arrested on drug charges. Golden had 32 tackles last season. Defensive lineman Gavin Stansbury left the team after being arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault. He started 10 games last season and had 47 tackles and three sacks.
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