Texas A&M names Haynes King starting quarterback in return from devastating 2021 injury

No. 6 Texas A&M is entering the season with a ton of hype, and the final piece of what it hopes to be a championship puzzle is now in place. Haynes King, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound sophomore from Longview High School, won the starting quarterback position over LSU transfer Max Johnson and five-star true freshman Conner Weigman.

King also opened the 2021 season as the Aggies’ starter. He threw for 292 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions in their 41-10 win over Kent State only to see his season come to an abrupt end during the first quarter of Texas A&M’s eventual Week 2 win over Colorado when King fractured his leg.

When asked Wednesday, coach Jimbo Fisher was noncommittal about the timeframe for announcing a starting signal caller. However, just days later and a full week before Texas A&M kicks off its 2022 season against Sam Houston, Fisher has made his decision.

King was a four-star prospect and the No. 7 dual-threat quarterback in the Class of 2020, according to the 247Sports. He was 37-2 as a starter during his high school career and named the District 11-6A offensive MVP as a senior in 2019.

What are the big takeaways of Texas A&M’s big decision?

Trust is there for Fisher

Zach Calzada filled in for King last year and had the game of his life in the 41-38 win over Alabama. He didn’t stick around, though, transferring to Auburn shortly after the season. That spoke volumes about Fisher’s confidence in King. You don’t let the guy who led one of the biggest upsets of the 2021 season walk unless there’s plenty of trust in who will take his place.

Fisher didn’t settle, though. Johnson had plenty of success in his two years at LSU, and there’s no doubt that his presence in the battle helped make King a better player. That further cemented the confidence that Fisher has had for more than a year.

It’ll be fascinating to see how Texas A&M’s offense evolves from here now that King is the official “QB1.” We already know that it can pound the rock with stud running back Devon Achane, and it’s likely that King’s dual-threat capabilities will give opposing defenses another dimension for which to account. If the offense can also stretch the field deep through the air, it will be difficult to stop.

The pressure is on

Texas A&M was picked to finish second behind Alabama in the SEC West and has been a trendy pick to make the College Football Playoff by several pundits. This isn’t the ordinary offseason hype that generally accompanies the Aggies into the season; this is legit national title hope that many think is within its reach.

That’s a lot of pressure on King, who has only five quarters of meaningful college football under his belt. That’s not to say that he can’t handle it. We saw Bryce Young take Alabama to the SEC Championship Game and College Football Playoff National Championship without taking a meaningful snap prior to the 2021 season.

This is a different kind of pressure, though. King has the weight of Aggie Nation on his shoulders unlike any quarterback we’ve seen since Johnny Manziel. He might have to put together that kind of season to topple the Tide and get to the SEC title in Atlanta.

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