In what many are calling the best A&M recruiting class of all time, Kevin Sumlin and his staff addressed many team needs with the class of 2013, but there was also an area that could have used some more additions. The GigEm247 staff breaks down A&M's biggest hits and misses in the class.
Mark Snyder's A&M defense got some much needed help in the front seven.
Hamm's Take: Lets start with the team needs that A&M knocked out of the park in this year’s class. The Aggies only return one starter at linebacker next year in Steven Jenkins, and with Michael Richardson sustaining a potentially career ending neck injury and Jordan Richmond indefinitely off the team, there is little depth returning to A&M’s 3-man linebacking core in 2013.
However, help is one the way, and it’s already on campus. Three mid-term linebackers have already begun off-season workouts in preparation for competing for a starting spot in next fall. Butler CC OLB Tommy Sanders, Sharpstown ILB Reggie Chevis and Kennedale OLB Brett Wade were key additions for Mark Snyder’s defense.
Wade, who just recently weighed in at 6-1, 230-pounds, has been shadowing “Deuce” Jenkins since he arrived to Aggieland so he can learn the ins and outs of the WILL position. Chevis hasn’t gained any weight since enrolling at A&M, which is a good thing, but has instead toned up and still hovering right around the 245 lb range. Sanders is seasoned prospect, because of his two year stint at Butler, who Mark Hagen needs to have step up and win the starting spot at SAM, and replace Sean Porter.
Out of the fall enrollees, the Aggies add two dynamic defenders who can play multiple linebacking roles, in Dallas Jesuit’s Jordan Mastrogiovanni and Port Allen’s Darian Claiborne. Both prospects were highly pursued during the recruiting process, with the Ags flipping Mastrogiovanni from OU late in the year.
Another area A&M added much needed quality depth at was in the trenches at defensive tackle. One could argue the Aggies landed the top two DTs in the state in Carthage’s Isaiah Golden and Dallas Kimball’s Justin Manning. You add in 6-foot-2, 285-pound defensive player of year finalist in Houston, Hardreck Walker, and mid-term enrollee Jordan Points out of Rockwall-Heath, and it’s one of the country’s top DT hauls in 2013.
Where the Aggies could have been better is on the offensive line. A&M does get a mid-term offensive tackle in this spring with Jeremiah Stuckey, but none of the fall enrollees are instant impact players. Even Stuckey, at 18 years old, still has to put on weight before he can be called upon. J.J. Gustafson underwent a couple of major knee surgeries and may not be available to compete until next spring, which is why he was asked to grayshirt. Ishmael Wilson is likely a guard at the college level as he’s not 6-foot-5 like he’s listed.Watching him at the Offense/Defense Bowl in Houston, his fiery attitude and willingness to compete is what set him apart but he still has a ways to go with his development. Wilson will be a star once he redshirts and puts on weight. Joas Aguilar has tremendous upside but will have to get used to the competition level. Many analysts saw him struggle against elite talent at the Under Armour All-American game.
A&M made a run at some big name JUCO targets but lost out due to the uncertainty of Luke Joeckel returning to A&M for his senior season. BJ Anderson also attempted a late run at OU commit Christian Daimler but wasn’t able to get him on campus before signing day. If there was one group to nitpick at this stellar 2013 class, it would be on the O-Line.
Bloom's take: I think you definitely nailed it at defensive line and linebacker, but the third major hit was at wide receiver. The Aggies added a variety of players that could be instant impact guys and guys that could become big time players down the road. Even without signing Derrick Griffin, A&M added big time outside receivers in Ricky Seals-Jones and JaQuay Williams, some lighting fast inside guys in Sebastian LaRue and LaQuvionte Gonzalez and a guy like Kyrion Parker who could move around the field. Those three areas, linebacker, defensive line and receiver, are where this A&M recruiting class should make their biggest mark right away.