•  Register
28

2014 Fierce 40 Previews: #21 Texas A&M

by DJ Boyer on Jul. 28, 2014

#21 Texas A&M Aggies

 

2013 Recap:

It's always an exciting season with Johnny (Football) Manziel at the helm. Texas A&M wasn't quite as successful but at 9-4 they were competitive with losses to Auburn, Alabama, Missouri, and LSU. The SEC is tough and this was still a top 20 team even with 4 losses.

 

Coaching:

Is there a coach that has done more for a program then Kevin Sumlin has in his two years at Texas A&M? Let's see if Sumlin can replicate the success and excitement now that Manziel is at the NFL level.

 

Offense

Quarterbacks/Running Backs:

Kyle Allen gets the keys to the offense after Johnny Manziel and don't worry about him being a freshman. Remember two years ago Johnny Manziel was and he won a Heisman, and last year Jameis Winston was a freshman and won so this may not be a bad trend. Matt Joeckel once seemed like he would be the one year stop gap after Manziel left but he transferred to TCU leaving a void at quarterback. Allen will be an important piece to the puzzle but this will mean that Texas A&M will rely more heavily on the running game where Tra Carson and Trey Williams are going to form a perfect two-headed monster. Carson transferred from Oregon but he is not the prototypical small scatback that Oregon is known for at 6'0” 235 pounds, and he doesn't shy away from contact. Carson looks like a fringe NFL prospect whose unique running style makes him a player that can rise up the boards.

Best Draft Prospect: Tra Carson RB 7th Round 2016.

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends:

Losing Johnny Manziel would be enough for most teams but Texas A&M losing Mike Evans is just as devastating, as many of the catches he made were responsible for making Johnny Manziel look a little better than he actually was. Malcome Kennedy is a returning senior and he posted 60 catches last season, as he does a lot of dirty work in the middle of the football field. The one thing that made Mike Evans so dangerous was his 6'5” frame that made him look like a wide receiver in a tight end's body. We will see more of the same with freshman Ricky Seals-Jones and his 6'5” body joining the starting lineup. Jeremy Tabuyo and Sabian Holmes figure to be the other receivers that will see the most action in the passing attack.

Starting tight end Cameron Clear will be used sparingly and this was the case last season as he posted a total of four catches for the entire season. This is a group that can be effective if the running game proves to be strong and wears defenses down.

Best Draft Prospect: Malcolme Kennedy WR UFA 2015.

 

Offensive Line:

Left tackles at Texas A&M just seem to be bred for life at the NFL and being top 10 draft picks overall. We saw Luke Joeckel go #2 overall in 2013 and Jake Matthews going #6 overall last season. Cedric Ogbuehi looks to be the next in line, as he could have left early last season, but like Matthews he came back for a season to show he can handle the left side as well as the right. Ogbuehi might be a top 10 pick and the first tackle off the board. Currently we have Ogbuehi rated as the #2 tackle in the country behind Brandon Scherff  of Iowa. Ogbuehi isn't the only prospect along the line as Jarvis Harrison will be a mid round selection at the left guard position. Germain Ifedi is a talented right tackle and once Ogbuehi leaves for the NFL he will probably be the next tackle in line for greatness as he will slide to the left side for two seasons. This is a very deep and talented unit. For Texas A&M to run the ball with more power, it will be the line doing all the dirty work and opening up the running lanes.

Best Draft Prospect: Cedric Ogbuehi OT 1st Round 2015.

 

Defense

Defensive Line:

In most of the previews we have done, we stress the importance of returning starters. For Texas A&M it's a little different up front. This team plays a traditional 4-3 base and they are returning all four starters along the line. The Aggies however were ranked 109th in total defense a season ago and a large portion of that dealt with the inability to reach the quarterback. The Aggies registered 21 sacks, which was the lowest total for any defense in the SEC. Myles Garrett was one of the top 10 prospects for his recruiting class and we could see this defensive end starting before the year is through. Gavin Stansbury is a fringe prospect but he is a well-rounded prospect that plays the run well for a defensive end. Isaiah Golden is a sophomore that offers some promise at defensive tackle. There is some experience along the line but the Aggies need to improve and they must do it right out of the gate.

Best Draft Prospect: Gavin Stansbury DE UFA 2015.

 

Linebackers:

The linebackers may be in worse shape than the defensive line. Seeing the front seven it becomes apparent why the offense is held in such high regard. It looks like in order to reach double digits in the win column, the Aggies will have to put up at least 40 points per game because they will surrender their share. Darian Claibourne is the only returning starter and he finished 3rd on the team with 89 tackles. Jordan Mastrogiovanni and Donnie Baggs will be the other starters at linebacker and there is not the same luxury with depth at linebacker as there is along the defensive line. The Aggies struggled with pass coverage in the middle of the field and teams took advantage with opposing tight ends scorching the Aggies defense.  

Best Draft Prospect: N/A

 

Secondary:

Deshazor Everett is the one prospect the Aggies have on defense who has the ability to play physical man-to-man style defense. Everett posted 73 tackles and had a pair of interceptions last season but he is a player that has not progressed into the man they thought he would be. He has done just enough to be considered an elite prospect but we have been waiting for him to get over the hump and into star status, but it just hasn't happened. Everett has DeVonte Harris returning at corner, a player that started for about 2/3 of last season. There was talk about putting Harris at safety for this season but it looks like he will open at corner. Texas A&M will employ a rover from time to time and we may see A.J. Hilliard in that role. If they stick with two safeties expect Floyd Raven to be the man on the field with returning starter Howard Matthews. Matthews is the top returning tackler with 90 and he registered three interceptions, so he will likely get a late look during the draft process. This is a secondary with a lot of questions and I believe Texas A&M will have to juggle formations and try to disguise where Everett is lining up at times as teams will try to avoid him.

Best Draft Prospect: Deshazor Everett CB 3rd Round 2015.

 

Special Teams:

Drew Kaser is a legitimate punter and a prospect for 2016. Josh Lambo was 8 for 10 last season, so accuracy looked good, but with only 10 kicks on the resume there is not a lot of background to draw upon.

Trey Williams shows promise as a kick returner and he had a big season with a 27 yard return average, while incoming freshman Speedy Noll is expected to handle punt returns. This is a solid special teams unit that will be in the top half of the SEC in virtually every category.

Best Draft Prospect: Drew Kaser P 6th Round 2016.

 

Schedule:

They open the season with South Carolina on the road, which is not an easy opener for Kyle Allen to get adjusted. September looks easy before October offers Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and then at Alabama. Traveling to Auburn and a home date with LSU to close the season will ensure that Texas A&M has one of the toughest schedules in the country once again.

 

Draft Outlook:

Cedric Ogbuehi may be another top 10 pick as Texas A&M has put a number of players into the NFL as high draft selections over the last three seasons. Deshazor Everett has a chance to be a higher pick but it remains to be seen how the rest of the unstable secondary may hinder his chances.

 

< Previous: #22 Clemson   Next: #20 Duke >