The Aggies have 85 scholarship spots to offer. Including the 2015 recruiting class, 82 players are currently on scholarship (3 less than the 85 limit). 14 seniors will graduate following the 2015 season. So by my count, 17 scholarship spots will be available assuming no other offseason defects take place. But knowing attrition happens every single offseason, the coaching staff will likely target 20-22 scholarship players for the 2016 recruiting class.
The 14 seniors graduating include two running backs, one full back, one wide receiver, one tight end, two offensive lineman, one defensive tackle, one defensive end, one cornerback, two safeties, one kicker, and one punter. Among these departing seniors, 10 of them figure to be starters or major contributors in 2015.
So which positions will the coaches target to replace them and fill out the 2016 recruiting class?
So far, Texas A&M has verbal commitments from offensive tackle Greg Little, wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland, cornerback Travon Fuller, and kicker Braden Mann. Assuming that they target 20 players total, they will likely put a slight emphasis on defense over offense with the final 16 spots. Below is an approximation of how the 2016 recruiting could shake out.
Offense – Sign 9
Quarterback – Sign 1
Regardless of whether Kyler Murray goes MLB or stays in Aggieland, the coaches need to bring in at least on more quarterback. Right now, not including Connor McQueen, Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray are the only two scholarship quarterbacks on the roster. Bring in another quarterback for 2016; and if Kyler goes pro, bring in two.
Running Back – Sign 2
Losing Tra Carson and Brandon Williams after next season will be difficult to replace. Look for the coaches to target two running backs in 2016.
Wide Receiver – Sign 2-3
The Aggies only lose Sabian Holmes after the 2015 season assuming Josh Reynolds or Edward Pope doesn’t leave early for the NFL draft. With Tyrie Cleveland already committed, look for new wide receiver coach Aaron Moorehead to go after two more.
Tight End – Sign 0-1
Jordan Davis was added in the 2015 recruiting class and he will be counted on to be the feature tight end for several years to come. With scholarship numbers limited, the coaches are unlikely to sign a tight end in 2016. But if they do, expect them to pull that scholarship spot away from the wide receiver group.
Offensive Line – Sign 3
The Aggies lose Joseph Cheek and Mike Matthews to graduation next season. And depending on how Germain Ifedi plays, he may decide to take his talents to the NFL a year early. Overall, the Aggies have recruited very well the past 2 years and are fully prepared to replace this talent. However, they will need to continue to keep the revolving door of lineman filled. The coaching staff already has a commitment from the nation’s top recruit, Greg Little. Look for them to sign an additional two next February.
Defense – Sign 10
Defensive Line – Sign 2-3
Recruiting along the defensive line has gone incredibly well the past few seasons. And it will continue to be an area of strength in 2016 as the Aggies only lose 2 of their 16 scholarship players at the position. With the staff taking two defensive tackles and one defensive end in 2015, expect them to flip that in 2016.
Linebacker – Sign 3
Not a single linebacker graduates in 2015 which will help set up the position group for stability and depth going forward. And with the coaches addressing depth issues with the 2015 class by bringing in 5 players, they can afford to be more selective in 2016. Look for them sign 3 next February.
Cornerback – Sign 2-3
De’Vante Harris is the sole graduate from the defensive back group. However, numbers are needed especially after the staff missed out on some key 2015 prospects. Early commit Travon Fuller is a great start as he checks in as the state’s 17th best recruit. But with limited talent in state, the coaching staff may look out of state for the final one or two recruits.
Safety – Sign 2
Unlike cornerback, 2016 has one of the best safety crops Texas has ever seen. Brandon Jones, Eric Monroe, and Deontay Anderson are all 5-star recruits with each considering A&M as a destination. The Aggies won’t get all three. But if they can land two, the coaches will shut down recruiting for that position early. Two safeties will effectively replace Devonta Burns and Sam Moeller who graduate.
Special Teams – Sign 1
Kicker/Punter – Sign 1
With both Taylor Bertolet and Drew Kaser graduating, the Aggies will be down to a single scholarship special teams player in Daniel LaCamera. They have already secured the verbal commitment of Braden Mann who is both a top 3 punter and kicker in Kohl’s Kicking Camp. He will battle LaCamera for special teams duties in 2016 and beyond.