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Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Assessing the Aggies' quarterbacks

By Sam Khan Jr.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- As fall training camp continues for Texas A&M, so does the competition at quarterback. Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin has not named a starter while the quartet of Jameill Showers, Johnny Manziel, Matt Joeckel and Matt Davis continue to battle it out.

So what qualities are the coaches looking for in their starting quarterback?

"Leadership is huge, intelligence is big, got to be accurate in this offense," offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Kliff Kingsbury said. "Got to get it to your playmakers and get us in the right plays."

Here's head coach Kevin Sumlin's thoughts on what each of the candidates brings to the table:

Jameill Showers, redshirt sophomore
"Jameill's got an extremely strong arm, an extremely quick release, an ability to throw balls into tight coverage. He's got a cannon and he's still got the ability to move around. He's strong in there."

Johnny Manziel, redshirt freshman
"Johnny's a guy that's a creator. He can throw it. I think he's become a better passer in the last six months, since spring. Obviously he's worked on his motion and what we saw in the spring, he's able to move around and extend plays, create some other offense after that. But in the spring that got him in trouble some too. I think what he's worked on is his ability to sit in there a little bit more and make decisions."

Matt Joeckel, sophomore
"Joeckel has probably thrown some of the best deep balls of anybody in camp. He's more of a pocket guy. He knows that. A bigger guy, not a run-around guy and that plays to his strength. That's probably why he's such a great deep ball thrower, because he'll sit in there and let it rip."

Matt Davis, freshman
"Matt is just young. A lot of things are happening for him. As a passer, he's not where he needs to be, but as an athlete, he's probably better than all of them. And that's saying a lot because those first two guys (Showers and Manziel) are pretty good athletes. His strong suit is if it's not there, he's going to take off and try to make something happen. It's a blessing and a curse for those guys."

As for the timetable on officially naming a starter? After practice on Tuesday, Sumlin said the situation will "shake itself out in the next week or so."

Kingsbury said that the quarterbacks have responded well to the coaches when it comes to competition.

"I think they all worked hard this summer and they're competing just like they did in spring," he said. "So we'll keep rolling and we'll find a starter."

Senior receiver Ryan Swope, who set school records in receptions and receiving yards for the Aggies last year, sees some good qualities in each of the quarterbacks as well.

"You've got Jameill Showers, he has some experience, some game experience," Swope said. "Not only that, he has a great arm. He's real comfortable in the pocket. You've got Matt Joeckel, 6-5 quarterback, can throw the ball a mile and he can really put it on the spot, real accurate.

"Johnny Manziel is a guy who's almost impossible to tackle. Real shifty, can make a play on the run, can really make a play out of nothing, so he's real exciting to watch. Matt Davis can make those hard throws in traffic. It's just exciting right now, just because we've got four great guys competing for that spot and I'm anxious to see who comes up with it in fall camp."