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2017 Fierce 40 Previews: #28 Texas A&M

by DJ Boyer on Jul. 19, 2017

#28 Texas A&M Aggies

2016 Recap:
The Aggies got out of the gate 6-0 but then floundered down the stretch in the midst of their SEC campaign. Texas A&M finished 8-5 and a disappointing 4-4 in the SEC. After wins against Auburn and Tennessee the Aggies lost to Alabama, LSU both Mississippi schools and Kansas State in the Holiday Bowl. Over the last half of the schedule the only Aggie wins came against UTSA and New Mexico State.


Coaching:
Kevin Sumlin came into the SEC and was seen as the darling, a coach who could challenge the great Nick Saban. That talk has cooled as Texas A&M has failed to reach the next level. Sumlin is 44-21 in his five years at Texas A&M but the program is starting to regress, peeking during the Johnny Manziel era.


Offense

The Aggioes have plenty of firepower with wide receiver Christian Kirk, among the best in the nation and running back Trayveon Williams. The real question is who is going to be throwing and handing them the football. The Aggies have three possible starters and they are a senior and a pair of freshman. All come highly touted but reain unproven commodities on the field. Jake Hubenak is the senior with Kellen Mond and Nick Starkel both prized recruit freshman. Texas A&M has been a hotbed for quarterbacks leaving for other programs and last year they actually landed Trevor Knight from Oklahoma. It remains unsettled but expect this team to not be shy throwing with their weapons and then setting up the running game for large chuncks of yardage and controlling the clock. The offenisve line is still good but not like we have seen in years past. Texas A&M usually has one of the top lines in the SEC where this year they seem to be middle of the pack at best.
 

Best Draft Prospects: Christian Kirk WR 1st Round 2018 (Early Declaration Candidate).

                                       Colton Prater OG/C 2nd/3rd Round 2019 (early Declaration Candidate).


Defense

The Aggies were 10th in the conference in total defense in 2016 and 13th stopping the pass. It wasn;t the amount of yards they would give up, it was the timing and poor third down defense they displayed. Texas A&M couldn't keep their offnese on the field very long and won the time of possession battle in only two of their eight SEC contests. The secondary looks to be improved from a season ago and Armani Watts is a big time NFL prospect at free safety. The question now becomes how will teams scheme against Texas A&M with Myles Garrett gone as he was the top pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Zaycoven Henderson in the middle of the defense becomes a huge component as Texas &M must stop the run and forse teams to put the ball in the air and play into the Texas A&M strength on defense.

Best Draft Prospects: Armani Watts S 2nd Round 2018.                

                                       Otaro Alaka OLB 4th Round 2019.


Special Teams:

Texas A&M will have their big weapons in Kirk and Williams as the primary return men and are interchangable on punts and kickoffs. Daniel LaCamera has a strong leg but he needs more accuracy on field goals within 40 yards as he let the Aggies down on a few occasions with some big misses a season ago. Shane Tripuka carries on the excellent Texas A&M punter tradition.


Schedule:

Texas A&M needs a win on the road against UCLA before cream-puffing their way through Nicholls State and UL Lafayette. Alabama and Auburn will be at home this season while Ole Miss and LSU close the season on the road, a tough task for any SEC team.


Draft and Overall Outlook:

From a draft standpoint Texas A&M is in great shape with at least four players with current 1st or 2nd day grades for their perspective draft classes and a handful of players who could declare early. As for the team the firepower is there. Texas A&M needs consistent quarterback play they as a defense they need to improve on third down and cut down of allowing plays of over 20 yards. Texas A&M allowed more big plays then any other SEC defense a season ago.

 

DJ Boyer