The big question for Texas A&M's football program heading into the 2014 season was "What would life be like after Johnny Manziel?" We all knew that A&M's 20 wins the previous two seasons were largely a product of the individual greatness of the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner, so we wondered just how strong the non-JFF foundation was with this A&M program.
Redshirt freshman Kenny Hill would be taking the reins, and after a thorough beatdown of a top ten South Carolina team on the road in his debut, a debut that would include 511 passing yards and three touchdowns, the answer seemed to be that the A&M program was now on "juggernaut autopilot," and it was Kevin Sumlin's system that was driving the last two seasons more than Johnny Football.
However, showing that narratives are basically made of papier-mâché, four months later, humbled and benched, Kenny Hill is leaving Texas A&M, sources close to Hill and the program told ESPN.com on Thursday.
After Hill's record-setting debut, he and A&M both shot quickly up the charts, A&M jumping from a preseason #21 ranking (that, quite honestly, felt like a courtesy ranking more than anything) into the top ten, and Hill moving directly into the middle of the Heisman radar.
By September 23, the fourth week of the season, Hill's Heisman odds on Bovada were down to 10/1, putting him behind only eventual winner Marcus Mariota. He even had a catchy nickname, just like his predecessor, going with the smooth-sounding "Kenny Trill."
In what will become a landmark karmic reminder of the perils of putting the cart before the horse, Hill's parents filed for a trademark for the nickname "Trill," which now sounds even more ridiculous than it did at the time.
Nonetheless, Hill and the Aggies continued to roll through September, preying on a weak out-of-conference schedule to move to 5-0 and a No. 6 ranking after the season's first month. At that point, that's where the script flipped on Hill. Texas A&M, finally playing big=time competition, lost its next three games and five of its final seven.
By November, Hill was replaced by freshman Kyle Allen, himself the number one quarterback recruit in the country last year, who led the team to wins against Louisiana-Monroe, Auburn and West Virginia to salvage an 8-5 finish. On top of all that, when Allen took over, Hill was hit with a two game suspension for a violation of team rules and athletic department policy.
Add that to Hill's suspension for the final part of spring practice in 2014 after an alcohol-related arrest, and all of a sudden a discipline trend was developing with Hill. On top of that, Allen was rapidly getting more comfortable under center, and it was quite evident -- this would be Kyle Allen's team going forward.
And that brings us to the news from yesterday that Hill would be leaving College Station. Having played his high school ball in the Dallas area, speculation is heavy that Hill could wind up at TCU, and if that's the case, he will be forced to sit out 2015 in accordance with the NCAA's transfer rule. The timing could perfect for the Horned Frogs since star QB Trevone Boykin figures to return next season for his senior year. Hill would then be eligible to take the reins in 2016.
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In addition to Allen returning for the Aggies in 2015, the school is expected to sign highly touted quarterback recruit Kyler Murray. Murray went 42-0 as a starter for Allen High in the Dallas suburbs, and is the son of former A&M quarterback Kevin Murray.
So it would appear that the Kenny "Trill" Era is over in College Station, and there was no trophy raised or hardware won, just a press release saying it was over.
Not really all that trill.