Recruiting Misses Lead to New Prospects

Recently, we listed the top 10 recruiting targets for A&M (article). With several announcements ceremonies to follow, Aggie fans were hopeful and optimistic on landing commitments from some of the nation’s elite prospects. The first announcement was set for Wednesday, December 17th where Aggie fans celebrated the commitment of 5-star wide receiver Christian Kirk. But since then, the Aggies have been on the wrong end of every single announcement. A quick review of those top 10 targets that announced:

1. LB Malik Jefferson (5-star recruit) – Committed to Texas
2. DB Kendall Sheffield (5-star recruit) – Committed to Alabama
3. WR Christian Kirk (5-star recruit) – Committed to A&M
5. LB Ricky DeBerry (4-star recruit) – Committed to Oklahoma
7. RB Kendall Bussey (4-star recruit) – Committed to Tennessee
9. WR DeAndre McNeal (4-star recruit) – Committed to Texas

Of the 6 recruits that announced, 5 of them spurned the Aggies. The hardest hitting misses came from defensive recruits Malik Jefferson and Kendall Sheffield who both left gaping voids in need positions. As the coaching staff enters the final month before national signing day, there are still a handful of scholarships to fill. New targets have emerged and old targets have reengaged following the splash hire of Defensive Coordinator John Chavis. Below is another top 10 list of A&M’s ever changing recruiting targets:

1. DT Daylon Mack (5-star recruit) – After missing out on Malik Jefferson, Mack added to the Aggies woes by announcing his decommitment just a few hours later. He initially listed LSU and TCU as his finalists. However, he moved A&M back into his top 2 after the Aggies hired LSU’s defensive coordinator away. Getting Mack back is priority number one for the coaching staff.

2. DB Kendall Sheffield (5-star Bama commit) – It ain’t over yet. Kendall Sheffield shocked many people when he picked Alabama over A&M this past Friday during the Under Armour All American game. News then surfaced that Nick Saban himself was skyping with the 5-star recruit every Sunday evening. That type of commitment truly impressed Sheffield and consequently left the Aggie coaches scrambling.

Lodge3. WR DaMarkus Lodge (5-star recruit) – Another former Aggie commit, DaMarkus Lodge opened up his recruitment in September and seemed to be Ole Miss bound. His teammate, Richard Moore, did the same in early December. Since then, Richard Moore has recommitted to the Aggies and DaMarkus posted this picture on his Twitter account.

4. ILB Leo Lewis (4-star Ole Miss commit) – We’ll call this the Chavis Effect. The top 100 inside linebacker committed to Ole Miss in September. But after the John Chavis hiring, he reached out to the coaching staff and will take an official visit the weekend of January 16th. The Aggies are playing from behind here, but one of the best DC’s in the nation will get to pitch him on early playing time. We’ll see right away the recruiting impact of “The Chief” if Leo Lewis flips to A&M.

5. WR/RB Kirk Merritt (4-star recruit) – This year’s SPARQ champion has long listed A&M at or near the top of his college choices. If you need a reference point for how athletic he is, just look at last year’s SPARQ champion Speedy Noil. With Christian Kirk, Kemah Siverand, and JUCO Damion Ratley on board, Merritt may be looking to see what DaMarkus Lodge does. If the 5-star wide receiver goes to Ole Miss, expect Merritt to choose A&M. But if Lodge chooses A&M, the wide receiver group may be too crowded for Merritt’s liking. In that event, Oregon would be the favorite to win his commitment.

6. DB Xavier Lewis (4-star LSU commit) –Chavis Effect #2. Xavier Lewis, one of LSU’s top commits, is considering following his DC to the Aggies. Lots of ground to make up here, but the Aggies need all the recruits they can get at the defensive back position to make up for only taking one DB last year.

7. DT T.D. Moton (4-star Bama commit) – Currently committed to Alabama, T.D. Moton has expressed interest in A&M following the, you guessed it, Chavis hire. But with the recent Bama commitment of 5-star defensive tackle Daron Payne, T.D. Moton could be worried about getting lost in the depth chart. He is a qualifying risk right now, but holds an Aggie scholarship offer.

8. LB Ricky DeBerry (4-star Oklahoma commit) – Although there was little shock when he announced to Oklahoma, the 4-star linebacker out of Virginia could have served as a cornerstone in this year’s linebacker haul. News of the Chavis hire piqued his interest and like many others, this fight isn’t over until signing day. Plus, the coaching firings going on at Oklahoma certainly doesn’t hurt the Aggies cause.

9. DB Kris Boyd (4-star recruit) – The Aggies have long had commitments from Deshawn Capers-Smith and Roney Elam at the defensive back position. In addition, it was widely assumed that Kendall Sheffield wanted to be the final DB taken in this year’s recruiting class. As a result, the coaches slowed down on recruiting Holton Hill and Kris Boyd, two elite in state talents. It appears the Holton Hill ship has sailed, but the coaches might be able to make up lost ground on Kris Boyd.

10. LB Arthur McGinnis (4-star recruit) – With the Aggies looking to take as many as two more linebackers, expect this one to come down to the numbers. Leo Lewis, Ricky DeBerry, and Arthur McGinnis are all takes. It’s just a matter of who commits first.

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