Snyder was brought on staff in 2012 shortly after Coach Sumlin was hired. That season, he helped lead the Aggies to an 11-2 season with a senior laden defense inherited from the prior staff. The 2012 defensive unit was gutted following the senior departures of S Steven Terrell, CB Dustin Harris, LB Sean Porter, LB Jonathan Stewart, DL Spencer Nealy, and early NFL departure Damontre Moore. With the loss of 6 starters on defense, it was expected that A&M would face growing pains in 2013.
Growing pains turned out to be an understatement. The Aggies ranked dead last in the SEC in every major defensive category, yet this season has not turned out much better. To make matters worse, there is clearly talent on the field. Snyder may have arrived in 2012 with an empty cupboard, but there has been a huge emphasis in recruiting defensive players the past 3 years.
In 2012, the coaching staff successfully retained a small class of 19 recruits, 10 of which played defense. 2013 turned out to be Sumlin and Snyder’s first full recruiting cycle. With all the departures on defense, the coaches brought in 18 defensive recruits. In that class alone, the Aggies landed 3 of the top 5 defensive tackles in the state and the top defensive end. That momentum culminated in A&M’s best class yet this past February. The 2014 class featured 11 defensive recruits, 7 of which were blue chips (4-star recruits or better). The cherry on top was the #1 recruit in the nation, 5-star defensive end Myles Garrett.
There is no doubt talent on the roster. But for whatever reason, the defense has constantly underperformed. The Aggies have continued to recruit at a high level for 2015, but several of the state’s top defensive recruits (Malik Jefferson, Kendall Sheffield, and Kris Boyd) have yet to commit. The coach that Sumlin dubs to replace Snyder could go a long way in convincing those recruits to choose A&M. But more importantly, that next coach needs to find a way to get results from a young but talented defense.