Two weeks ago the Aggies inked 25 new recruits to the Aggie football team. In that class they landed the nation’s most explosive playmaker at football’s most important position, they snagged one of the top defensive tackles ever to come through Texas High School football, and they added imperative depth at the linebacker and secondary levels. While overall, this class was a very good one, certain positions fared better than others.
The Aggies got their guy. After weeks of drama leading up to signing day, Kyler Murray inked with Texas A&M. Going 42-0 as a high school starter and winning 3 state championships along the way may never be replicated again. Kyler Murray is an instant Texas High School football legend and can further cement that status at the next level. Of course there is that pesky MLB risk which is what keeps this grade from being an A+.
Running Back: B-
The coaching staff wanted two running backs all along. They originally had two early commits in Jay Bradford and Rodney Anderson. But after Anderson decommitted, the coaching staff seemed to drag their feet finding a replacement. In the process, they missed the train on in-state studs Soso Jamabo, Chris Warren, and Ronald Jones. It wasn’t until the 11th hour that the coaching staff was able to flip Kendall Bussey, a great talent out of Louisiana, from Tennessee to A&M. With Bradford being a track star and Bussey an agile bowling ball, the duo creates a formidable thunder and lightning combo. Neither player is expected to push Tra Carson or Brandon Williams for playing time next season but could become integral pieces of the offense in 2016 and beyond.
Wide Receiver/Tight End: A+
The rich get richer once again. Sumlin has proven for the 3rd consecutive year that he can pluck elite talent from just about anywhere. And for the second year in a row, Sumlin has waltzed into Arizona and cherry picked the state’s top recruit in 5-star WR Christian Kirk. (Side note: this makes A&M’s season opener against Arizona State all the more intriguing as the Sun Devils were the primary recruiting competitors for both Kyle Allen and Christian Kirk). In addition to Kirk, the Aggies brought in the nation’s top JUCO wide receiver, Damion Ratley. They landed the state’s top tight end, Jordan Davis. And finally, they added another elite outside threat, Kemah Siverand. It’s not a far of a stretch for this group to lock down two vacant starting spots (slot WR and TE) with the others pushing for playing time in 2015.
Offensive Line: B+
Led by consensus 4-star Keaton Sutherland, this group of Maroon Goons is as good as the Aggies have recruited since 2010. Speaking of which, they arrive just in time as the final members of the 2010 group have exhausted their eligibility. In addition to Sutherland who is already enrolled and working out with the team, the coaching staff also landed 4-star Trevor Elbert, 4-star Connor Lanfear, and 3-star Erik McCoy. The group will most likely be redshirted with the possible exception of Sutherland. And like that 2010 group, most of these guys have multi-year starter potential and the NFL in their future.
Defensive Line: A-
A balancing act of a C- to an A- came down to the final day as Daylon Mack made his decision live on ESPN. The coaching staff was able to let out a sigh of relief as the 5-star defensive tackle recommitted with A&M. They knew that they desperately needed a second defensive tackle with this class. There was not just a need to land another body but to get someone who could contribute immediately. Mack’s recommitment solidified the defensive line haul as he will be joined by 3-star Kingsley Keke and 4-star defensive end James Lockhart. Luckily with the high level of recruitment on the defensive line and especially at defensive end, the coaching staff will have the luxury of redshirting one or two of these guys. Whether they redshirt or not, all three players have the size and potential to be impact players in the SEC.
There is good and bad with this group. The good comes in the sheer numbers that the Aggies landed with five bodies. Each recruit exits high school rated a 3-star and two of those players (Claude George and Richard Moore) are already enrolled and could fill out the depth chart in 2015. The bad is that the coaching staff missed on every single highly rated target at the linebacker position. Malik Jefferson. Ricky DeBerry. Roquan Smith. Arthur McGinnis. These are just a few of the targets that passed on the Aggies. Now George and Moore mentioned above have every opportunity to be standout players for A&M. They will be joined this summer by Dwaine Thomas (a very intriguing project), Landis Durham (an impressive pass rusher who might find his way to defensive end), and Riley Garner (a player who missed his senior season due to injury). The exciting piece of this is that defensive coordinator John Chavis will also be the linebacker’s position coach. These recruit’s high school rating could be a thing very soon forgotten.
Defensive Back: C-
The defensive back rating has little to do with the talent and almost everything to do with the lack of numbers. The coaching staff signed two guys, NEEDED three, and probably should have taken four. 3-star Deshawn Capers-Smith and 4-star Roney Elam are both very talented and will push for playing time and starting spots immediately. Elam brings height and length to the position and is the only true corner of the two. Capers-Smith will be transitioning from quarterback, where he was Gatorade Player of the Year, to defensive back. Unfortunately, the coaching staff only took one defensive back in 2014 (Nick Harvey). This makes the misses of Kendall Sheffield, Justin Martin, Kris Boyd, and Xavier Lewis hurt all the more. Look for the defensive back group to be very talented in 2015 but very thin.
One of the most stable groups in the 2015 recruiting class, the early and unwavering commitments of Larry Pryor and Justin Dunning should not go unstated. These were two of the top 3 safeties in Texas that committed even before the 2014 recruiting class was wrapped up. Later on top ranked JUCO prospect Justin Evans was added. Evans is already enrolled and has the best chance to lock down one of the open starting spots. But both Pryor and Dunning have every chance to push for starting spots and playing time in 2015. Perhaps most importantly, the coaches hit exactly the number they needed and did not have any defects on the closing stretch. This group is very talented and will contribute multi-year starts during their Aggie careers.