TCU QB Hill ready to change the nar­ra­tive in his last season

The Reporter (Lansdale, PA) - - SPORTS - By Stephen Hawkins

Kenny Hill knows a lot of peo­ple pre­fer to fo­cus on his Big 12-high 13 in­ter­cep­tions last season or TCU’s los­ing record.

“I didn’t play as well as I wanted to last year,” Hill said. “I’m ready to come out and change the nar­ra­tive about me.”

Three years after his record-set­ting start­ing de­but suc­ceed­ing a Heis­man Tro­phy win­ner at Texas A&M, and one season at TCU, Hill is now a se­nior for the Horned Frogs.

“You have no idea,” Hill re­sponded with a smile when asked how much he was look­ing for­ward to the season. “Been wait­ing for this one for a while. This is my last ‘first’ game in col­lege. I’m ready to go.”

TCU, com­ing off a 6-7 record that was only its third los­ing season un­der 17-year head coach Gary Pat­ter­son, opens the new season Satur­day night at home against Jack­son State.

While Hill had all those in­ter­cep­tions last season, his 609 yards rush­ing were the most by a Big 12 quar­ter­back and he also ran for 10 touch­downs. Hill threw for at least 377 yards four times in the first five games, and his 3,208 yards pass­ing for the season were the third-most in school his­tory (Only Trevone Boykin had more, sur­pass­ing that to­tal twice).

Pat­ter­son has sensed a dif­fer­ent con­fi­dence in Hill, both dur­ing the off­sea­son and through fall camp.

“I think I broke him down a little bit too much, maybe not un­der­stand­ing him quite as well,” Pat­ter­son said. “He and I have a lot bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of what we’re try­ing to get ac­com­plished, try­ing to put a chip on his shoul­der. Peo­ple be­lieve that he’s not a good quar­ter­back . ... So he’s kind of like Trevone. How do you prove them wrong?”

In his first col­lege start in the 2014 opener for the Ag­gies, their first game after Heis­man Tro­phy-win­ning quar­ter­back Johnny Manziel left for the NFL, Hill set a sin­gle-game school record. He threw for 511 yards in a 52-28 win at South Carolina, a prime-time tele­vised game on a Thurs­day night be­fore most teams opened their sea­sons two days later.

The Ag­gies started 5-0 for the first time since 2001, but then lost three straight while Hill strug­gled on the field. He didn’t play again after that for Texas A&M when he was sus­pended for vi­o­lat­ing team rules. It was his sec­ond sus­pen­sion from the team in less than a year.

When he de­cided to leave Texas A&M and wanted to go to TCU, Hill was en­cour­aged by Pat­ter­son to spend a se­mes­ter at a ju­nior col­lege out of the spot­light. He en­rolled at TCU for the 2015 fall se­mes­ter when he had to sit out any­way to sat­isfy NCAA trans­fer rules.

Now go­ing into his fi­nal col­lege season, Hill feels like he is a dif­fer­ent per­son than when he first got to Col­lege Sta­tion after a stand­out ca­reer at prep power South­lake Car­roll — which is much closer to the TCU cam­pus.

“I think I’ve just grown up, 22 years old, and I’ve been through a lot, seen a lot, ex­pe­ri­enced a lot, just grown up,” Hill said. “I’ve learned how to be more of a pro­fes­sional, learned what it takes to play this po­si­tion in col­lege, and I think that’s re­ally just the big­gest thing.”

Hill said he feels the same ex­cite­ment for the start of his se­nior season as he did ahead of that im­pres­sive de­but he did for his first ca­reer start in 2014. Ac­tu­ally, he feels that way ev­ery time it’s time to play a game.

“Man, you can just tell he’s ready to go,” Frogs se­nior cor­ner­back Ran­thony Tex­ada said. “He’s a leader on this team and he’s ready to take that next step.”


FILE - In this Nov. 25, 2016, file photo, TCU quar­ter­back Kenny Hill (7) throws against Texas dur­ing the first half of an NCAA col­lege foot­ball game, in Austin, Texas.

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