By Alex Byington

Killeen Daily Herald

On the first day of preseason practices at Texas A&M, first-year head coach Kevin Sumlin announced that former Copperas Cove running back Will Randolph has left the Aggie football program.

"Will Randolph, (due to) a mutual decision, has decided to leave the program," Sumlin said Friday at Texas A&M's first press conference prior to the evening's practice. "I don't know what's going to happen there, or where he's going."

The Aggie backfield is loaded with the return of senior Christine Michael, junior Ben Malena and true freshman Trey Williams filling up the depth chart.

At Copperas Cove, Randolph emerged as a senior, rushing for 1,079 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2010.

Randolph was suppose to redshirt last season as a freshman, but had it pulled after starter Cyrus Gray suffered an injury against Kansas, prompting Randolph to see his lone action on the year with 10 carries for 37 yards. In the Maroon and White spring game in April, Randolph had 13 carries for 86 yards and two touchdowns.

Also of note Friday, Sumlin made it clear the battle for the starting quarterback spot is still wide open.

Former Shoemaker star and redshirt sophomore Jameill Showers has been competing with redshirt freshman and former high school All-American Johnny Manziel and redshirt sophomore Matt Joeckel for the opportunity to replace departed starter Ryan Tannehill, who is now with the Miami Dolphins.

Following the spring game, Showers was widely considered the front-runner for the starting job, but Sumlin shut down any such speculation.

"You guys (the media) are the ones that said we had a starter, I've never said that," Sumlin said. "I've said that our competition is wide open, and we will name a starter as late as two weeks before the first game or as early as in two days, by Sunday. Whenever we feel like somebody has clearly surfaced."

As the backup to Tannehill, who was drafted No. 8 overall by the Miami Dolphins in April's NFL Draft, Showers appeared in three games, throwing 4-of-5 passes for 40 yards mostly in mop-up duty. In the spring game, Showers passed for 203 yards and two touchdowns on 20-of-31 throwing.

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