2015 A&M Preview: QB, RB, WR

QUARTERBACKS

Who’s gone: Kenny Hill (transferred to TCU)
Who’s back: #10 Kyle Allen (6-3, 210, SO), #14 Conner McQueen (5-10, 175, JR)
Who’s new: #1 Kyler Murray 98 (5-11, 185, FR), #7 Jake Hubenak 70 (6-3, 195, SO)

The QB position hasn’t really been a weakness for A&M in quite a while. But last year, as Kenny Hill struggled with off-the-field issues, what has long been a strength became a real question mark. Kyle Allen took over and while far from perfect, showed that the QB situation appears that it should be in good hands going forward. Kyler Murray enters the picture coming off 3 straight Texas HS titles and undefeated as a HS QB. It’s not hyperbole to say he has the greatest HS resume in Texas history. Expect the two to battle it out to see who leads the team this year, but smart money would be on Allen who has a year in the system (including two full springs) as well as 5 starts. Whoever wins the job, it would be pretty surprising for this not to be an upgrade from the up and down performance last year. Jake Hubenak comes aboard after a redshirt year at OSU followed by a year at Blinn and joins Connor McQueen, of the clan McQueen, as camp arms.

RUNNING BACKS

Who’s gone: Trey Williams (declared for NFL)
Who’s back: #5 Tra Carson (6-0, 240, SR), #21 Brandon Williams (6-0, 205, SR), #20 James White (6-0, 220, SO)
Who’s new: #29 Jay Bradford 91 (5-11,196, FR), #25 Kendall Bussey 87 (5-9, 200, FR), #21 Keith Ford 97 (5-11, 215, JR-TR)

With Trey Williams gone to the NFL and Brandon Williams starting off primarily at DB, Tra Carson becomes the de facto man out of last year’s 3-man rotation. Carson missed the spring however and James White received rave reviews for his punishing running style as well as his blocking. These two will probably be the primary RBs this year in what the staff wants to be a more physical running attack. Incoming freshmen Kendall Bussey is coming off a knee injury so it’s unclear if he’ll be ready for this season and Jay Bradford may have to sit the season out for medical reasons. So it’s likely Brandon Williams will remain an emergency RB as walk-on Dolezal officially gets 3rd team reps. Keith Ford is a former 5-star that transferred in from OU. He will not be eligible to play this season so will service as a scout team back and be classified as a RS-JR in 2016.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Who’s gone: Malcome Kennedy (eligibility expired), LaQuvionte Gonzalez (transferred to Kansas), Kyrion Parker (transferred to Garden City CC)
Who’s back: #23 Sabian Holmes (5-11, 175, SR), #18 Edward Pope (6-4, 180, JR), #11 Josh Reynolds (6-4, 190, JR), #19 Jeremy Tabuyo (5-11, 191, JR), #82 Boone Niederhofer (6-0, 207. JR), #9 Ricky Seals-Jones (6-5, 235, SO), #2 Speedy Noil (5-11, 187, SO), #15 Frank Iheanacho (6-5, 225, SO), #13 Jamal Jeffery (5-9, 175, SO)
Who’s new: #3 Christian Kirk 97 (FR), #16 Kemah Siverand 88 (6-1, 190, FR), #4 Damion Ratley 85 (6-1, 190, SO-TR)

The receiving corps in 2014 was a bit of a disappointment. While Malcome Kennedy was fantastic and Reynolds emerged as a pretty good fill-in for the irreplaceable Mike Evans, no other WR showed any kind of consistency. Speedy Noil has the raw talent and showed flashes of pure brilliance but his poor route running led to him struggling to get separation at times against better corners. RSJ also flashed high potential but his issue was more a lack of physicality and a case of the drops. Walk-on Boone Niederhofer ended up getting more and more time as other receivers had their issues.

New WR Coach Aaron Moorehead replaces David Beaty who left to become Head Coach at Kansas. This change at the top gives everyone a fresh start and it wouldn’t be surprising to see different names emerge from an extremely talented group. In the spring true freshman Christian Kirk stood out as the obvious answer to replace Kennedy. Kirk has impressed everyone with his precision and dedication and it’s hard not to see him being a major presence this year. Damion Ratley came on at the end of spring and could be a name to watch in fall camp. It’s hard to know which guys will take the next step, but there really are no excuses to not find a group that should do real damage.

– tmc94

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