Texas Longhorns: Johnny Manziel

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Charlie Strong has a Texas-sized problem on his hands.

When a new coach is hired, especially at a place like The University of Texas, it usually creates excitement with prospects and high school coaches on the recruiting trail. Unfortunately for the Longhorns, that buzz isn’t there. With the addition of ESPN 300 receiver DaMarkus Lodge on Thursday, Texas A&M further tightened its grip on the top talent in the Lone Star State.

[+] EnlargeCharlie Strong
AP Photo/Eric GayCharlie Strong still has nearly eight months to bolster his 2015 recruiting class.
Lodge’s pledge gives A&M three of the top eight players in Texas and positions the Aggies for a run that could include four of the top five and five of the top 10.

On the other hand, the Longhorns, whose 2015 class is ranked No. 11 in ESPN's rankings, are struggling within their home state. Texas has yet to gain a commit from a top-10 in-state player. To make matters worse, Strong’s staff is losing commits to conference rivals and SEC powers in Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, LSU and Oklahoma.

“In the state of Texas, A&M has taken over,” Cedar Hill (Texas) High School coach Joey McGuire said. “Through what coach [Kevin] Sumlin has done and then what Johnny Manziel did to help put that school in such a great position, it's helped them move to whole different level. They're the hot thing going right now. It's hard to beat, even for a program like Texas.”

As any Texas fan will tell you, there’s nothing worse than losing to the hated Aggies. The recruiting beatdown could continue as A&M is in good position with cornerback Kendall Sheffield, linebacker Malik Jefferson, defensive end James Lockhart and cornerback Kris Boyd -- all ESPN 300 prospects strongly considering playing in College Station.

A Big 12 assistant who recruits in the Lone Star State said he could see that Texas would have problems on the recruiting trail the minute Strong announced his staff. The assistant praised Strong for luring Joe Wickline away from Oklahoma State and believes his addition will help the Longhorns find some hidden gems along the offensive line. But after that, the assistant said it was hardly the all-star cast many thought Strong could assemble, given the school’s resources.

“I thought [Strong] needed to bring in guys that can stand toe-to-toe against A&M, LSU, Alabama, Oklahoma and all the other top teams that recruit in Texas,” the coach said. “He needed guys that had deep ties with the high school coaches in Texas. Instead, he got a lot of coaches that can win recruiting battles against Cincinnati, UCF and teams like that. This is the Big 12, not the AAC.”

In defense of the Longhorns, Strong did retain Bruce Chambers, who is entering his 17th season in Austin and has connections with high school football in the state. He also hired Les Koenning, a 1981 Texas graduate who is entering his 34th year of coaching after previous stops at Mississippi State, South Alabama, Texas A&M, Alabama, TCU, Houston, Duke, Rice and Louisiana-Lafayette.

Replacing Mack Brown wasn’t going to be easy. Replacing the relationships he so tirelessly built with Texas high school coaches will take some time.

All of this has made Strong’s job of recruiting local talent more difficult than most assumed it would be when he was first hired six months ago. But all is not lost. There has been no shortage of effort from the Longhorns’ staff, and Strong can sway some recruits with a simple formula this fall: winning.

“If Charlie Strong comes out and wins, there might be another flip,” McGuire said. “If they can come out and surprise some people this year and win games, then they’re going to be the hot team with recruits. Winning and losing is going to make a big part of those schools' recruiting classes.”

Manziel or Winston? Prospects weigh in

December, 29, 2013
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- There are many topics of conversation among prospects playing in the 2014 Under Armour All-America Game. One of them centers around the past two Heisman Trophy winners.

On Saturday, upon checking in for the prestigious game, a number of prospects weighed in on a hot topic involving Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel and Florida State's Jameis Winston.

If they had to choose between the two, who would the players take as their college quarterback? Here are their responses:

[+] EnlargeMarlon Humphrey
Courtesy of IntersportNo. 9 overall prospect Marlon Humphrey likes how Johnny Manziel makes others around him better.
Five-star cornerback Marlon Humphrey (Hoover, Al./Hoover High): Ah man, I think I’m going to have to go with Johnny Manziel. I just feel like he kind of made a team out of nothing. Jameis Winston is a great quarterback too, but he doesn’t have the scrambling skills that Manziel has. This year, you could tell that his teams defense wasn’t that good, the players around him weren’t as good, but he kept making his team better. He’s has the fight in him I would want on my team.

Florida commit and No. 20-ranked Dalvin Cook (Miami/Central High): I would say Jameis Winston. He’s really a pure quarterback, and I think he sets up things more for a running back than Johnny Manziel does.

Auburn running back commit Racean Thomas (Oxford, Al./Oxford High): I would probably pick Jameis Winston. The reason behind that is because he is more of a leader for a young quarterback, and I think he can make his team a more mature team. I really think he would be a great quarterback to play with.

Florida wide receiver commit and No. 28 Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla./Homestead Senior High): Whew, I don’t know. I think Jameis Winston. I look at how both of them played as a freshman, and I like how Jameis Winston leads his team. He is also more pro-ready than Manziel.

Texas defensive end commit and No. 78-overall Derick Roberson (San Antonio, Texas/William J. Brennan High): I guess I would say Johnny Manziel. I like how he plays with his swagger and confidence the most, so I would probably say him.

Notre Dame commit and No. 76-ranked Tyler Luatua (la Mirada, Calif./La Mirada High): I would take Manziel just because of the way he plays. If he doesn’t have a wide receiver open, he can make plays himself. He can get the ball to his players if and when he wants to, but can also do it on his own when he needs to.

No. 38 overall John Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Long Beach Polytechnic High School): That’s a hard one. As of right now, I would go with Jameis Winston. Overall, he’s a great player. I think Winston has an awesome football IQ. Johnny had his year too, but I think Winston is just a great player. Outstanding.

Dylan Sumner-Gardner: Jameis Winston, man. I feel comfortable with Jameis Winston as my quarterback because he’s smart and accurate. Johnny is accurate too, but Johnny is Johnny. How he runs around, people may get nervous. I would just feel more comfortable with Jameis as my quarterback.

No. 22 overall Laurence Jones (Monroe, La./Neville High): That’s a hard one right there. Let me think ... maybe Johnny Manziel because I don’t think I’ve ever seen a white boy get down like that. It would have to be Johnny Manziel.

Penn State wide receiver commit Chris Godwin (Middletown, De./Middletown High): I think Jameis Winston. I think overall he’s a better passer. I want a quarterback back there that can get me the ball on a consistent basis, but Johnny Manziel is a great player, too. I’m actually a big fan of both of them.

Five-star and Virginia defensive tackle commit Andrew Brown (Chesapeake, VA
Oscar Frommel Smith High)
: Dang, that’s a good question, man. I would go with Jameis Winston. His leadership qualities, coming in as a freshman and doing the things he is doing is definitely uncommon. It just foreshadows what he is going to do in the future, too. He’s already established a great foundation for himself, and I would definitely take him in the future.

Maryland commit Will Ulmer (Washington, D.C./Saint John’s High): I’m going with Johnny Manziel. I think he’s more dynamic, and more of a game-changer. Jameis Winston is a great quarterback too, but you have to think about all the dudes he has around him at FSU -- all the great receivers and good running backs. I would go with Manziel because if you put him on the Florida State team, or a stacked team like that, it would be a scary sight.

Big 12 stats that defined the season

December, 18, 2013
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Baylor, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State leaned on defensive improvement in several statistics to finish in the top half of the Big 12 while several stats reveal why Kansas, Iowa State, TCU and West Virginia didn't reach bowl eligibility.

Here is one stat from each Big 12 team that helped define the season:

[+] EnlargeBaker Mayfield, Ahmad Dixon
Ronald Martinez/Getty ImagesBaylor's offense got most of the pub, but the Bears' defense -- led by senior safety Ahmad Dixon -- was one of the stingiest when it comes to yards allowed per play.
Baylor’s yards per play allowed: The Bears offense has been explosive and high scoring for the past several seasons, so seeing it again in 2013 was nothing new. But, this season, their defense more than held up their end of the bargain allowing 4.53 opponent yards per play, leading the Big 12 and ranking sixth among FBS teams. A defense laced with veterans, including safety Ahmad Dixon, helped BU’s unit rank among the nation’s best, and the athletes that have become commonplace on the Bears offense are starting to surface on the defensive side of the football with talented young guys such as defensive end Shawn Oakman and safety Terrell Burt.

Iowa State’s sacks allowed: The Cyclones allowed 37 sacks in 12 games, an average of 3.08 per game. ISU finished last in the nation and tied for No. 113 among FBS teams in the category. The trouble protecting the passer speaks volumes about the injury struggles Paul Rhoads’ team had along the offensive line. Ten different ISU offensive linemen started games this season, with nine different starting lineups starting the first 11 games. All of ISU’s offensive problems began up front.

Kansas’ yards per play: It’s amazing to think how bad Charlie Weis’ offense was this season. The Jayhawks ranked among the worst in the nation in several categories, but their 4.28 yards per play was No. 120 among FBS teams. KU entered the season with much higher expectations for this offensive unit, particularly with BYU transfer Jake Heaps as the triggerman. Yet the Jayhawks never really found any consistency, as Weis and company tried several different things to jump start the unit. KU scored more than 20 points twice this season, letting down a defense that was much improved over last year’s group.

Kansas State’s yards per play: When you think of the top offenses in the Big 12, it takes a while to get to Kansas State. Yet the Wildcats featured a surprisingly explosive offense despite losing uber-productive quarterback Collin Klein off last year’s squad. This year’s K-State offense averaged 6.3 yards per play, second to only Baylor in the Big 12 and No. 28 among FBS teams. Bill Snyder’s ability to find harmony while using Jake Waters and Daniel Sams in a two-quarterback system led to 33.4 points per game by an offense that didn’t enter the season expected to be among the Big 12’s best.

Oklahoma’s yards allowed per game: The Sooners allowed just 336.3 yards per game to lead the Big 12 and finish No. 13 in the FBS. OU entered the season with a lot of questions and concerns about a defense that was embarrassed by Johnny Manziel in last year's Cotton Bowl and was losing a bunch of starters, yet the Sooners defense improved thanks to several young players, including defensive end Charles Tapper and Big 12 defensive newcomer of the year Dominique Alexander. OU's defense was the foundation of the Sooners' 10-2 season and Sugar Bowl berth.

Oklahoma State’s opponent third down conversion rate: The Cowboys defense was among the Big 12’s best in its first season under Glenn Spencer. Their third down production was superb, allowing opponents to convert just 31.3 percent of their third down attempts to lead the Big 12 and finish seventh among FBS teams. OSU’s veteran defense and willingness to be more aggressive on third downs under Spencer played a key role in its success in those situations and eventual 10-2 finish.

Texas sack percentage: The Longhorns' ability to get after the quarterback played a key role in their success. UT featured two of the Big 12’s top pass rushing threats in Jackson Jeffcoat and Cedric Reed. That duo helped UT sack opposing quarterbacks on 8.6 percent of passing plays, ranking No. 1 in the Big 12 and No. 9 among FBS teams while finishing with 37 total sacks, including 35 during Big 12 play, helping UT to a 7-2 conference record.

TCU third down conversion rate: The Horned Frogs converted just 32 percent of their third down attempts this season, ranking eighth in the Big 12 and No. 113 among FBS teams. It’s easy to see why the Horned Frogs have brought in former Houston offensive coordinator Doug Meacham to take over their offense. TCU’s defense was good enough to be in the Big 12 title race, its offense was not.

Texas Tech passing yards per game: It was a terrific debut season for head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s offense despite some musical chairs at the quarterback position. The Red Raiders averaged 392 passing yards per game to lead the Big 12 and rank second among FBS teams despite having true freshmen Baker Mayfield and Davis Webb running the offense. Without one of the nation’s elite passing offenses, it’s unlikely the Red Raiders earn a bowl bid with a 7-5 record.

West Virginia’s opponent third down conversion rate: The Mountaineers allowed opponents to convert 42.7 percent of their third down attempts, ranking last in the Big 12 and No. 91 among FBS teams. WVU’s inability to get off the field in those important moments was one reason the Mountaineers’ defense allowed 455 yards per game, leading to the team's 4-8 finish.

HornsNation Mailbag: Is Texas soft? 

June, 7, 2013
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Every Friday, HornsNation's Sean Adams will answer questions from readers. Send him a question on Twitter here.

@jcsexymexican on Twitter: Will the Longhorns continue to play soft and injury prone in 2013?

Four downs: Texas-Texas A&M rivalry 

March, 20, 2013
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AUSTIN, Texas -- Each week Sean Adams looks at a few topics around the Texas Longhorns and college football.

First down: Texas vs. Texas A&M


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Texas recruiting misses: 2011 

January, 31, 2013
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Johnny ManzielKevin Jairaj/USA TODAY SportsTexas decided to pass on Johnny Manziel, who went on to win the Heisman.

AUSTIN, Texas – Texas didn’t miss much in 2011.

But the one they did miss hurt the most.


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AUSTIN, Texas -- There was a time when Collin Klein was average.

Actually, he was slightly below average, a reserve even. One deftly deployed to beat an awful Texas team in 2010, but a reserve just the same.

[+] EnlargeDavid Ash
Tim Heitman/US PresswireLonghorns signal-caller David Ash improved in Year 2 as starter. What he does in his third year will determine Texas' fate.
That year Klein was a sophomore. Two years later his team is in the Fiesta Bowl, largely because of that one-time reserve.

In his second year in the program, Alabama’s AJ McCarron held on extra points. Florida State’s EJ Manuel had two starts his sophomore season, a win and a loss. Jordan Lynch, the Northern Illinois quarterback who was No. 3 nationally in total yards per game in 2012, was a backup as a sophomore.

Half of the quarterbacks in this year’s BCS games either didn’t play or were reserves in their second year in their current program. The other half is all in their second year. But of the latter group only Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater and Oregon’s Marcus Mariota have better pass efficiency ratings that Texas’ David Ash in 2012. It’s a compelling argument that Ash, Texas’ second-year quarterback, is far from being off the rails.

Still, obviously, the sophomore wasn’t on track against Oklahoma, Kansas or TCU. Excuses can be found and fingers pointed, but ultimately Ash failed -- something he will readily admit -- to perform to his potential in those games. But that he flourished in so many others, particularly the last, in addition to the unavoidable conclusion that experience matters, should allow for those in the foam finger crowd to have a modicum of hope.

The point is, Ash is learning and the pace is not all that unnatural. In fact, it’s been at breakneck speed. True there are others, Mariota, Bridgewater and Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, who have been better quarterbacks given the same amount of time within their respective programs. They have also had better offensive minds and systems around them.

Ash had a play-caller clearly trying to find his way and his identity in a BCS conference after swimming for oh so long in the guppy waters of the far west.

Already the impact of having Major Applewhite as the quarterbacks coach appears to have taken hold of Ash. After starting poorly and ending worse in the three aforementioned games, Ash was able to turn things around against Oregon State in the fourth instead of watching from the bench. That maturity was not present at any other point this season.

That finish, while maybe not finishing off all the quarterback controversy talk this offseason, at least closed the valve a bit. There may be a leak here and there, but by and large, the belief is that Ash has now shown the ability to get the job done.

He also might have the experience necessary. To start the 2013 season, Ash will be the highest rated returning starter in the Big 12 unless J.W. Walsh is selected as the starter at Oklahoma State. He will also be the winningest and most experienced quarterback in the Big 12. All of which is a long way from average.

Four downs: Is Ash getting a fresh start? 

December, 26, 2012
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Each week Sean Adams takes a look at some topics around the Texas Longhorns and college football.

First down: Go long ...

[+] EnlargeDavid Ash
Cooper Neill/Getty ImagesDavid Ash will start for the Longhorns in the Alamo Bowl. Who will start in 2013?
Major Applewhite did it as the starting quarterback at Texas throwing deep to Wane McGarity, Kwame Cavil, Roy Williams, BJ Johnson and others. He knew it was the best way to stretch and stress the defense and to put points on the scoreboard.

Now as the new offensive coordinator and play-caller, Applewhite will take his love of going long to the Texas offense.

From the minute Bryan Harsin left to take the head coaching job at Arkansas State, even coach Mack Brown lamented that Texas would probably get the ball down the field more moving forward with Applewhite. It is just part of his nature.

Texas came into the 2012 season with several questions about the receiving group, but Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley have been very good. Marquise Goodwin could benefit most from a renewed desire to get the ball down the field. The young receivers will be engaged in this exciting change to the Texas offense.

Second down: Is Ash getting a fresh start?

I wrote weeks ago that David Ash was still the best option even into 2013 for the Texas Longhorns. With Applewhite now being the quarterback coach, he will get the chance to mentor and work with Ash.

Applewhite will have no choice but to grade Ash’s performances based on how he performs in comparison to how he has worked with him. His history with Harsin will not compare to what what he has done with him.

Whether people want to admit it or not, Ash is getting a fresh start. The order of importance for the Longhorns should be defense, running game, special teams and then passing game.

Does Ash have to be great in that scenario? No, he does not. Ash’s job almost seems simple in nature. He just has to do his job and do what he is taught. If he can trust his preparation and commit to doing everything to the best of his ability, he will be successful.

He does not have to do what Michael Vick did at Virginia Tech in 1999. He does not have to do what Johnny Manziel has done for Texas A&M in 2012. He does not have to do what Colt McCoy did at Texas in 2009. David Ash can be what Ken Dorsey was at Miami (Fla.) in 2001. Dorsey got the ball to his best players and let them put in the work to put the points on the scoreboard.

Ash doesn’t have to go out and put Texas on his back and win every game. He just can’t be the reason that Texas loses.

Third down: Defensive expectations in the Alamo Bowl


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AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel was better than Texas’ David Ash.

[+] EnlargeDavid Ash
AP Photo/Reed HoffmannQuarterback David Ash finished the regular season with 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
The sky is blue. The Earth is round. Texas is an eight-win program. There, just wanted to go ahead and state all those obvious things right up top. Because what is not so obvious, not to those who watched Ash get yanked from two games and benched for one, was that while Manziel was better than Ash, not many other second-year quarterbacks (redshirt freshmen or true sophomores) were.

In fact, only five other second-year quarterbacks had better passing efficiency numbers than Ash. And Manziel wasn’t even the leader of that group. Oklahoma State’s J.W. Walsh finished the regular season as the highest rated in passing efficiency among first- or second-year guys with a 165.67 passing efficiency rating.

That’s the same Walsh who threw a very costly interception against Texas and who could not lead OSU back after Ash led Texas on a touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter. Now, it was Walsh’s first career start. Ash was in his ninth start. And Walsh ultimately would up as the higher-rated passer although he did not win as many games as Ash.

Ash went 8-3 as a starter -- really 7-3 when taking into account the fact that he was benched in the Kansas game with Texas trailing in the fourth. Among the six top young passers in pass efficiency rating, those seven wins ranked just a shade past the middle.

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Battle for 2014 LB Hoza Scott all but over 

November, 29, 2012
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You’d think that when Hoza Scott's junior ends, the real fun begins.

After all, the La Porte (Texas) linebacker might be the No. 1 prospect in the state of Texas for the 2014 class. He has offers from everyone. His life should be getting much more stressful once the recruiting process starts consuming his time, right?

[+] EnlargeHoza Scott
Max Olson/ESPN.comClass of 2014 linebacker Hoza Scott has the Aggies out in front of Texas.
Wrong. The biggest and best of the recruiting battles between Texas and Texas A&M for top 2014 prospects appears to be over already.

Scott, a coveted 6-foot-3, 225-pound linebacker, has been calling the Aggies his No. 1 school all year. He’s planning to prove that soon.

“Really, honestly, my decision and my mindset is on A&M,” Scott said. “That’s where I really want to go.”

So why hasn’t Scott made it official yet and become the next blockbuster pickup of Kevin Sumlin’s second full recruiting class?

“It’s coming soon,” Scott said. “It’s going to come pretty soon.”

All Scott is waiting for -- and hoping for -- is a happy ending to his junior season. La Porte pulled off a 21-17 win over Fort Bend Bush last weekend, but the lights get much brighter now: La Porte vs. Katy at Houston’s Reliant Stadium.

“Oh man,” Scott said, “it’s going to be a big one.”

It’s moments like this that make Scott glad he has pushed recruiting off to the side lately. While this process hasn’t reached the point of being overwhelming, the flood of interest and mail won’t stop. His coaches deliver the college letters to his locker by the shoebox now, and plenty more come to his house. Opening each and every one? Not possible at this point.

“It’s like 60 or 70 a week. It’s a lot of mail, and that’s every week,” Scott said. “I’d say it comes from like 20 difference colleges. It doesn’t get tiring. It’s pretty cool. It’s motivation.”

Dealing with all that isn’t too difficult, of course, when your mind is already made up.

Scott won’t take any more visits before announcing his choice. He doesn’t anticipate anything will make his change his mind in the next few weeks.

“I’m just waiting for the season to end so I can relax and finally tell people,” Scott said. “It’s pretty much A&M, done deal.”

How Scott reached this point may be a sign of the times in the new Texas-Texas A&M recruiting rivalry. He’s only one recruit, but he’s as big of one as there is in the state. Both schools want him badly.

And both schools offer similar opportunities. Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz has been selling Scott on a shot to replace Jordan Hicks when the top Longhorn linebacker moves on to the pros. Texas A&M’s pitch is even simpler: Come become the next Von Miller.

That’s a role Scott is more than comfortable with. While he’s capable of operating as a middle linebacker and could grow into a defensive end someday, he has made his hay at La Porte as an outside linebacker operating off the edge near the line of scrimmage.

When Texas coaches broke from tradition and started publicly offering juniors in August, they hoped it would help make up ground in the battle for Scott. While that move got his attention, what Texas A&M has done since August made this an easy call for Scott.

“I knew A&M was going to do good in the SEC,” he said. “Coach Sumlin, I knew he was going to be a good coach because when he was at Houston they were almost undefeated that whole season. I knew A&M had something good coming.”

The Aggies have an exciting new coach, a 10-2 record, a presumptive Heisman Trophy winner in Johnny Manziel and a boatload of momentum on the recruiting trail. They’ve blown away those prospects who took a wait-and-see approach to how A&M would fare in its new conference.

Texas, on the other hand, has ... well ... Scott has a hard time putting his finger on it.

“A&M is heading in a great direction,” Scott said. “And UT, I like them still but, I don’t know, it seems like they’re falling apart. I know they’re going to pull it together. They’re a young football team.”

That’s not to say the Longhorns are in for humbling when it comes to 2014 recruiting. Texas already has six pledges and added the state’s top offensive line prospect, Demetrius Knox, this week.

But the state’s elite recruits aren’t na´ve. There’s a lot to like about the Aggies right now. If Scott is the face and leader of their next class, blue chip talents will likely follow.

Then again, the deal isn’t official done until Scott signs his letter of intent. He’s hoping to take junior day trips to Florida and Cal this spring, even if he’s committed.

And, come fall, Scott said he’d like to take all five of his official visits. He wants to see how A&M and College Station stack up, wants to see if those trips would change his mind.

No matter when Scott commits, he concedes the recruiting game won’t fully be over. The offers and phone calls and visits will still be enticing. The shoeboxes will keep piling up.

But when it comes to Texas vs. Texas A&M, he has no doubt. Texas is a distant No. 2. Welcome to the new-look Texas recruiting war.

“They don’t play each other anymore,” Scott said, “but it’s going to be pretty big.”

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A new era begins this fall for Texas A&M, and the battle everyone will be watching in College Station is at quarterback.

OUT: QB Ryan Tannehill. The Aggies were both explosive and balanced offensively last season, and Tannehill was the guy who made them go. We’ll all be reminded of just how good he was by the midway point of the first round in the NFL draft two weeks from now. Tannehill is expected to be the third quarterback selected and with good reason. He passed for 3,744 yards and 29 touchdowns last season and completed 61.6 percent of his passes. He also ran for 306 yards and four touchdowns and was one of those quarterbacks who could beat you in a number of different ways. Those guys don’t come around very often, and when they’re gone, they’re never easy to replace.

IN: Jameill Showers, Johnny Manziel, Matt Joeckel or Matt Davis. The race for Tannehill’s replacement is wide open, and further mystery is added by the fact that the Aggies will be running a new offense with Kevin Sumlin taking over as head coach. Whoever can handle the fast-paced tempo the best while taking care of the ball and also making enough plays to keep the defense honest is going to win the job. The Aggies just opened spring practice last Saturday, so there hasn’t been enough time for any real separation. But offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury likes the way all four have picked up things. Showers, a sophomore, was Tannehill’s backup last season, but only threw four passes. Manziel, a redshirt freshman, is a terrific athlete and one of those guys capable of extending the play. Joeckel, a sophomore, is more of a pocket passer, while Davis, a true freshman who enrolled early, is also versatile enough to be effective as a passer and a runner. Kingsbury said they recruited all four quarterbacks when he was at Houston with Sumlin, so the Aggies already have a good feel for all four.

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