With the decommitment of Rodney Anderson and the tentative nature of Daylon Mack, there seems to be a sense of panic among the Aggie faithful. A&M was the “it” program and now the sizzle seems to be gone. What happened?
First and foremost, all the elite programs experience defects. It’s the cost of recruiting at a high level because every elite program is going after the same guys you are offering. LSU, Alabama, and Auburn have all had a player decommit in the 2015 class. Yet, no one seems to think that they are falling apart. Aggies everywhere still have a sour taste in their mouth from the Franchione and Sherman days. We all fear falling back into the mediocrity that we experienced the last decade in the Big 12. But those days are far behind us. Sumlin has snagged back to back top 10 recruiting classes, and currently sits at #2 in the recruiting rankings for 2015. So again, there is no reason to panic.
Jeff Tarpley of 247 wrote an article yesterday about the month of May being crazy with recruiting. In it, he discusses the extra time that college coaches have once spring camps end and summer hasn’t arrived. Basically, they use that time to chat with recruits on twitter, email, or text. Then they schedule visits to see the recruit in person. Now this is no different than what goes on year round. However, in May it hits its peak with all coaches having extra time on their hands. As a result, recruits tend to waiver the most during May and also right before signing day in February.
Mark Passwaters with Rivals fielded a Q&A Session yesterday and naturally received a number of recruiting questions. He brings up a great point in that A&M may be receiving some negative attention from all the arrests right now. Other coaches are using this as ammunition to negatively recruit against A&M. However, in a couple of weeks Aggies and football fans everywhere will see 3 Aggies drafted in the top 15 (possibly top 10) picks of the NFL Draft. The publicity from that alone will be huge and will offset much of this negative downslide.
Coach Sumlin and staff are still sitting great right with 8 elite commits and 7 being ranked in the ESPN 300. They are still poised to land Kyler Murray (5-star) despite the rumors of his interest in Oregon. Also, they lead for top in-state prospects Kendall Sheffield (5-star) and Malik Jefferson (4-star). Nationally renowned wide receivers Christian Kirk (4-star), DaMarkus Lodge (5-star), and Tyron Johnson (4-star) are showing A&M lots of interest. Elite linebackers that may transfer into A&M include previous A&M targets Hoza Scott (4-star) and Mike Mitchell (5-star). Finally, with the departure of Rodney Anderson, A&M will likely go after Ronald Jones II (4-star) and attempt to flip his commitment from Oklahoma State.
Many of these players want to see what life after Johnny looks like. Will A&M perform above expectations, or will A&M collapse and fall into the basement of the SEC west? Sumlin has his work cut out for him with a brand new QB, 3 new starting wide receivers, and a young front seven. But when expectations are the lowest, that is often when A&M football is at its best!