Spring shoes to fill: Texas A&M

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.