When Kenny Hill’s record-breaking night against South Carolina concluded with a 52-28, the nicknames started flying.
The most popular nickname for Texas A&M’s new quarterback? Well, Kenny Football, of course.
But Hill wasn’t so quick to embrace the name.
"I don't really like 'Kenny Football,’” Hill said after the game.
That’s fair considering the “Football” moniker was coined for his predecessor Johnny Manziel, or “Johnny Football.” Manziel’s family even trademarked the name so they could make money off it after Manziel left A&M.
But that didn’t stop Manziel from anointing Hill the next “Football” on his Twitter feed.
If anything, Hill might command a better nickname since his performance was better statistically than any Manziel, a Heisman Trophy winner, had during his two-season career with the Aggies.
Hill threw for 511 yards in his first-career start, which shattered Manziel’s passing record of 464 yards — an A&M record. Hill's 44 completions also were a single-game school record. He looked poised, he looked confident and he picked apart the South Carolina defense with relative ease. He didn’t need any improvisation to help Texas A&M win the game; he just stuck to A&M’s gameplan and was successful.
In fact, Hill drew more comparisons to the debut of Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston than to Manziel. Winston used a similar poise and confidence to defeat Pittsburgh in his first career start last season. He carried that demeanor throughout the season, went undefeated, won a national title and the Heisman.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Hill was spectacular in a first game and his feat was made even more impressive because he did it at Williams-Brice Stadium, a place where the Gamecocks hadn’t been defeated in 18 previous contests. But the schedule, while fairly easy in the next four games, does include trip to Alabama and Auburn.
Still, there’s no reason we can’t all marvel at coach Kevin Sumlin taking another unknown quarterback and making him an instant star — at least for a week or so.
Hill doesn’t need a nickname to be a superstar, he’s already well on his way to that just by being terrific on the field. Many top quarterbacks have gone their whole collegiate career without a nickname and we think Kenny Hill is just fine as is.
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