Kenny Hill’s improved TCU supporting cast has helped spark renaissance

Kenny Hill-Teammates-Turnaround-TCU

FORT WORTH, Texas — TCU quarterback Kenny Hill has left his “Kenny Trill” days behind.
The 5-0 start has been a rebirth season for the former Texas A&M phenom after a roller-coaster debut in Fort Worth a year ago.

Through five games, Hill has led TCU from being unranked to the No. 6 team in the nation. His 69.0 percent completion percentage is on pace to shatter school records. And in the process, the Horned Frogs knocked off a preseason national title contender in Oklahoma State — a team TCU hadn’t defeated in Stillwater, Okla. since 1991.

The eye test makes it clear that Hill isn’t the same hit-and-miss quarterback he was in 2016. But the new and improved version of the Southlake Carroll High School standout in the Dallas-Fort Worth suburbs is as much of a product from his teammates as it is his maturation.

“With this group of guys we have a very close-knit group,” Hill said. “A real older group. All of us together … we wanted to make this last one special, and it’s been special so far.”

What’s even more special is the talent from that group on both sides of the ball, and the effect it has had on the senior quarterback.

Trust the process…and your playmakers

In just one season, the trust Hill has shown in his teammates has skyrocketed, thanks to a reinvigorated supporting cast on offense.

The two Jalens — receivers Jalen Reagor and Jalen Austin have captivated TCU fans with some incredible catches. Running back Darius Anderson has become an immediate contributor with two 100-yard rushing performances already.

If that wasn’t enough, Kyle Hicks and Sewo Olonilua are there to complement Anderson at running back. It has provided TCU with one of college football’s deepest backfields.

And most importantly, Hill is utilizing these weapons with ease. He’s demonstrating incredible amounts of composure, patience and awareness compared to his debut season at TCU.

Through 5 games, Hill has only attempted 145 passes – a far slower pace than 2016 – but has converted on 100 of those attempts. It’s a big reason as to why TCU boasts a nation-leading 58.3 percent success rate on third downs.

“With the running backs we have and the different receivers we have who can do a lot of things,” Hill said. “They have a bunch of different ways to run plays that are not just ‘line up and run our normal base offense.’  That’s why you can move people around do different things and get matchups.”

And Hill’s supporting cast isn’t alone in deserving some credit.

A defensive renaissance has forced the TCU offense to be at its best during weekly practices. With so many reps against such a dynamic unit, nothing surprises Hill on gameday.

“I think it really made the offense better,” Hill said. “We really went into camp, and to have the defense play so well, it doesn’t make it easy. You take what you can get with the defense and I think that helped us out this year because now it’s more ‘find your open guy and get it to him.'”

For Hill, it’s a calming effect – at least when it came to game-winning touchdown drive last week against West  Virginia. His 3-yard run with 2:53 left boosted the Horned Frogs to a 31-24 triumph.

“It just felt like a normal drive – like, ‘hey we’ve got to go and get this one,'” Hill said. “It didn’t really click to me until I scored and looked up at the scoreboard and was like ‘dang that might have been for the game right there.'”

That wasn’t Hill’s only clutch moment on Saturday. He also snagged a 48-yard pass on a reverse from KaVontae Turpin and rifled a 45-yard pass to Reagor earlier in the game.

Hill became the first player in Big 12 history to run, throw and pass for a touchdown in a conference game.

“It’s not something I try to do each week, but it was certainly cool,” Hill said. “But it was part of the game plan. Hopefully. we’ll have more plays like that next week.”

No doubt about it. Kenny Hill is looking as good as he has since Aug. 28, 2014 at South Carolina. On that night, his first as a college football player, Hill provided a mercurial debut. He passed for 511 yards and three touchdowns to spark Texas A&M’s 52-28 upset victory over the Gamecocks.

What is for certain, is that if Hill and the Horned Frogs can keep taking care of business as they have, the college football playoff is a real possibility for TCU. Especially consider the Horned Frogs’ upcoming opponents have just a combined 18-17 record.

Yet, Hill knows that it won’t be a cakewalk to get there.

“We still have seven games — hopefully eight,” Hill said. “We just keep plugging away.”

The post Kenny Hill’s improved TCU supporting cast has helped spark renaissance appeared first on Diehards.

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