Someone forgot to tell Kenny Hill he wasn’t going to be able to fill Johnny Manziel’s shoes.
Hill didn’t just turn in an impressive performance Thursday night against South Carolina in his first career start. The Texas A&M sophomore turned in a game for the ages, torching the ninth-ranked Gamecocks to the tune of a school-record 511 yards and 3 touchdowns and immediately inserting himself into conversations about the best quarterbacks in the country as A&M cruised to a 52-28 rout.
Here’s what you need to know about the guy they’re already calling Kenny Football:
1. He Was a Star at Southlake Carroll High School
In Hill’s junior and senior seasons of high school, he rushed for a combined 2,804 yards and 57 touchdowns while passing for 6,375 yards and 52 touchdowns with only 12 interceptions.
But the 2012 Texas Gatorade Player of the Year had seen little playing time in College Station, only throwing 22 passes in four games while backing up Manziel as a true freshman last season. Hill completed 16 of those passes.
2. His Dad, Ken Hill Sr. Is a Former Major League All-Star
Hill’s father, Ken Sr., pitched from 1988-2001 for seven teams in Major League Baseball. During that span, he pitched in the 1995 World Series as a member of the Cleveland Indians. He also appeared in the 1994 All-Star Game in Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Stadium.
Throughout his career, he was 117-109 with a 4.06 ERA.
3. He Was Arrested & Suspended for Public Intoxication in the Spring
The 6-foot-1-inch quarterback, 215-pound quarterback was arrested in March and charged with public intoxication after cops said he was found passed out alone in a planter full of rocks and plants in front of the restaurant-bar in College Station, according to the Bryan-College Station Eagle.
The Eagle said that, when asked who the current president of the United States was, Hill answered “Bush” and told officers his name was “Kennedy.” Hill was also unable to tell police where he was.
The paper reported:
“Due to his level of intoxication, he would have been in danger of someone robbing or harming him as he would not have been able to defend himself,” the arresting officer wrote in the report.
Public intoxication is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a $445 fine in Texas. Hill was suspended indefinitely, but never ended up not missing a game.
4. He Edged Out a 5-Star Recruit in Practice to Win the Starting Job
With the departure of Manziel, Hill, who was a 4-Star recruit in 2013, edged out 2014 5-Star Quarterback Kyle Allen for the starting role.
“Competition was close and that competition will continue to help us improve,” Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said, according to Texas A&M football’s Twitter account. “I have talked to both quarterbacks as well as the team and we will prepare with Kenny getting the first-team reps.”
5. His Deep Ball Will Likely Benefit From Texas A&M’s Offensive Scheme
Sumlin‘s offenses have finished in the top 11 nationally in total offense in each of the last six seasons. Among those are two seasons where his offense led the nation, during his time as the head coach of Houston (2008-2011) and Texas A&M (2012-present). Since Sumlin isn’t afraid to throw it deep, it should benefit Hill, who made a living throwing the deep ball at Southlake Carroll.
The offense has the weapons around Hill both up front and at the skill positions for Hill to succeed. He took advantage of those weapons — and then some — on Thursday night.