The position battles are over and the walk-on scholarships awarded (Caden Smith, Alex Freeman, Gaston Lamascus and Travis Labhart, in case you were curious). After what feels like the longest summer in decades, Texas A&M football is officially in the home stretch before taking Kyle Field against former Southwest Conference rival Rice in its season opener.
WR Ricky Seals-Jones
Looking back on fall camp, though, the three-week-long odyssey revealed multiple strengths and weaknesses behind this loaded A&M squad. Gigem247 breaks down who impressed the coaching staff and made some noise around the fan base from fall camp as opening day sits less than a week away.
1) WR Ricky Seals-Jones: In early August, the true freshman entered fall camp only A&M's top recruit of the 2013 class. Coming into the final week prior to gameday, the 6-5, 220-pound monster athlete stands as one of the starting wide receivers, having impressed head coach Kevin Sumlin and his offensive staff enough to slide into the rotation.
2) P Drew Kaser: It may seem ridiculous to place the Aggies' starting punter on this list, but honestly, I had an internal debate with myself as to whether Kaser should take the top spot in itself. Not only did Kaser consistently look solid in practice, he was bombing punts during the fall scrimmage 60-70 yards with ease, to the point Sumlin was quoted saying special teams coach Jeff Banks was having trouble coming up with a coverage scheme for the distance Kaser was punting the ball.
3) LB Nate Askew: After three seasons of competing for a wide receiver position but failing to break the starting rotation, Askew jumped ship and switched to linebacker during spring training with hopes of earning playing time with the defense. Just a few months later, the hard work and sacrifice has paid off as the senior looks to take up some starting minutes at outside linebacker. Purely from what I've seen in practice, Askew has shown incredible athleticism and should provide a valuable service in the Southeastern Conference in terms of containing versatile running backs.
4) WR Malcome Kennedy: Despite the fact Kennedy entered fall camp as a starter with the wide receiving corps, the junior has shown solid improvement in terms of route running and the intangible "football knowledge." Even with Seals-Jones taking up a spot on the inside, Kennedy provides veteran experience and a "bail-out" option for Manziel if pressure comes quick.
5) CB Otis Jacobs: With the suspension of star cornerback Deshazor Everett looming all throughout fall camp (final decision, half-game), Otis Jacobs stepped into the starting slot opposite DeVante Harris for the time being. The senior defensive back has impressed thoroughly, however, and looks to start for the remainder of the season, particularly following Everett's broken thumb during the final week.
6) DE Tyrone & Tyrell Taylor: Junior Tyrell and redshirt freshman Tyrone Taylor have exploded in terms of playing time over the course of camp, each taking reps with the starting defense at end. Tyrell has been particularly active, playing opposite Julien Obioha on a consistent basis in the 4-3 base formation while Tyrone has seen limited time with ones but constant action with the second team line.
7) DL Alonzo Williams: Similar to Otis Jacobs, Alonzo Williams stepped into a starting role during Kirby Ennis' probationary period and has flourished well under Snyder and defensive line coach Terry Price. After starting in seven games last season as a true freshman, including the Cotton Bowl against Oklahoma, Williams owns the experience to make a consistent impact on the D-Line this coming year.
LB Jordan Mastrogiovanni
8) LB Jordan Mastrogiovanni: While Mastrogiovanni failed to enter Aggieland with any substantial buzz, he quickly created some with his play early in fall camp. The Dallas product seemingly jumped up the depth chart, earning playing time with the first-team defense during goal line simulation and consistent time with the two's throughout camp. Overall, my personal impressions of Mastrogiovanni centered around his incredible ability to blitz, which showed strongly during the goal line simulation drills.
9) LB Darian Claiborne: Another fall camp linebacker entry, Claiborne has been the second-team holdout for almost the entirety of the three-week ordeal. The Louisiana native looks built and has held down the middle linebacker position well. Personally, I expect him to gain significant playing time throughout the season, considering his contribution during both fall camp and the scrimmage two Saturday's ago.
10) S Clay Honeycutt: Taking over Floyd Raven's position at safety while his suspension time was still in question (final decision, full-game), Honeycutt hasn't done anything particularly flashy outside on consistent coverage against an incredible wide receiver corps. While Raven may deserve the starting spot due to his solid talent at the position, Honeycutt certainly has the potential to snare playing time.
DT Justin Manning: Despite his true freshman mantra, Manning has been a force up front against the second-team offensive line. The big-time recruit has potential to jump into the defensive line rotation during the season.
QB Kenny Hill: Another true freshman, Hill has impressed more than just the media during the back-up quarterback battle this fall camp. The coaching staff still currently has him in the running for Manziel's successor against junior Matt Joeckel, and Hill's mobility and sharp arm may rocket him into the second spot soon enough.
DT Hardreck Walker: Throughout camp, Walker's dominance of the second-team offensive line has been dangerously impressive, especially due to the fact he entered College Station considered the third best defensive tackle in 2013 recruiting class. Similar to Manning, expect Walker to earn some time on the field this season, particularly during Ennis' suspension and the "cupcake" matchups against Rice, Sam Houston State, UTEP and SMU.