Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Texas A&M Scouting Report- From an Aggie (Long and Detailed)
First of all, as we say in Aggieland, howdy.
I've been reading the thread on the A&M game as well as threads on our fan sites about you guys. I realize that for two opponents who will be meeting for the first, and as of now for the first of many times, there are a lot of unknowns for both fanbases regarding the opposing team. Add in the kicker that this is a season opener and both teams are replacing key playmakers, and the unknown factor goes up a ton. I wanted to consolidate a preview of our team, from a lifelong fan and Former Student's (we call our alumni that) perspective position by position on both sides of the ball.
A starter between Kyle Allen and Kenny Hill will be named mid-August. Kenny hurt his chances with his arrest and missing practice time, and I will say Kyle Allen drew rave reviews during spring ball. When you are the number one pocket passer in the country coming out of high school, you should. Both guys are primarily pocket passers, with Kenny being the more athletic runner. Both have the footwork to get five yards on a play where everyone is covered. A&M's offense will look much more like the traditional "air raid", since these guys are FAR more pocket oriented than Johnny.
Tra Carson, a transfer from Oregon, really came on at the end of last year and will start. He's a bruiser who flashed some surprising speed on a couple of long runs last year. However, starting will mean nothing because this is a backfield which also has Trey Williams. He's shifty and quick. Watch his youtube highlights and you'll get the idea. Brandon Williams, an Oklahoma transfer, brings straight line speed. He hasn't gotten a large share of carries but with Ben Malena gone that number will go up. James White, RS Fr., was a surprise during spring ball and is more like Carson.
Malcome Kennedy returns as Mr. Reliable. Good route runner and team leader. Josh Reynolds, a newcomer, surprised during spring ball and will compete for a starting spot. Ricky Seals Jones is the name to watch. He got hurt very early in the season last year but was the number one recruit in Texas. He's big and fast. Speedy Noil enrolled early and wowed during spring ball. He and LaQuivonte Gonzalez (the two Speedys if you will) will add a new dimension to the offense this year. True deep threats who can strike from anywhere, and not just big reliable pass catchers. Jake Spavital, the new offensive coordinator who took over the role in the Chick Fil A bowl, will use Cameron Clear, a Tennessee transfer, quite a bit at tight end. He is a sasquatch.
Thanks to Mike Sherman and Kevin Sumlin's recruiting, this has been just a big a part of us transitioning well into the SEC as Johnny. Cedric Ogbuehi, Jarvis Harrison, Mike Matthews, and Germain Ifedi (spring star), all return up front with a competition between some new comers going on at the other guard spot. Much like Manziel had in 2012, the new qb will benefit from a good offensive line and dangerous running game.
Defense (Ah, and here is where it gets interesting)
Up front, I'm going to tell you that the only person I am assuming doesn't play against South Carolina is DE Gavin Stansbury (his assault case has taken some twists and turns even though he has been reinstated). As for the others, the offenses, I would think, were early enough in the offseason that they don't miss USC. I hope I am right because they are all guys we will need.
Isaiah Golden returns along with Alonzo Williams and Hardreck Walker. The returning starters will get a boost from freshmen Zaycoven Henderson and DeShawn Washington. Henderson, who we flipped from Texas, was a bright spot during spring. Justin Manning, who redshirted last year, was the top rated defensive player from Texas out of high school, but for some reason the staff felt he needed to develop some last year. All reports are that he is coming along nicely. At end, Julien Obioha returns as a third year starter. Jay Arnold got much better towards the end of the year and Daeshon Hall, who is small but fast, will be relied upon to help alleviate the problem of not getting enough pressure (any pressure) on quarterbacks last year. The biggest name to remember is Myles Garrett. The UA All American, number one defensive recruit in Texas, and top 10 ESPN recruit is projected to make an impact immediately. His highlight film indicates he should do just that. If there was ever a recruit A&M sorely needed to sign, this is the guy.
Darian Claiborne will probably be strong side. He was a freshman last year who showed some real flashes of brilliance but needs to get his head straight off of it. He can be a star if he does. Shaan Washington, sophomore, who is undersized, along with Tommy Sanders, are faster and will play weak side. Jordan Mastrogiovanni also returns for HIS sophomore season (see a pattern?) and has solidified himself as the middle linebacker. He MUST improve against the run and that has been his focus. Also expect to see Reggie Chevis, a redshirt last year who is much more of a thumper, and TCU transfer AJ Hilliard to rotate in pretty often. I'd also expect Otara Alaka, another Texas flip, to come in and compete.
By far the most experienced unit and strength of the defense. New coach Terry Joseph from Nebraska has gotten a lot out of his guys this spring and Aggie fans are very high on him. Deshazor Everett returns for his senior campaign (he is the guy who sealed the win against Bama two years ago), with Devante Harris (junior) on the other side. There's a number of guys who stepped up in spring ball to back them up. Howard Matthews will be back at safety, and the heat has been on him. Anytime A&M got beat deep the last two years (specifically looking at Ole Miss 2013, late against Bama in 2012, and Duke) it was on this guy. Good news is, the new coach has gotten a hold of him and he has had a great spring. However, I would expect Spurrier to take a shot at him fairly early in the ball game with Roland or Byrd just to test the waters. Watching film of you guys, the PA long ball seemed to be your go to big play. If Matthews improvement is what it supposedly has been, it will be sorely needed for A&M against the Cocks. Floyd Raven returns as a senior at the other safety spot and Noel Ellis, high school teammate of Speedy Noil, will be at the nickel. Nick Harvey, a true freshman, may fight for that nickel spot when he gets on campus. He has been compared to the Honey Badger.
Thank God we found Josh Lambo to replace Taylor Bertolet at kicker. Drew Kaser is a solid punter but I'm hoping it won't come to that.
To sum it up, A&M has a great running game, and whoever the qb is will have that and a variety of wideouts to throw it to. Not just big physical guys like Evans, but some speedsters as well, lead by Noil. On defense, counting the number of freshmen we had in the front 7 last year will tell you all you need to know about why we struggled. Mark Snyder is a good defensive coordinator and really did well with the 2012 group and improved us from what we had been. He can scheme interceptions and pick sixes, and I think the guys having a year under their belt and more very elite youth coming in will help him continue to build a true SEC depth chart on that side of the ball. A&M certainly won't be the "Wrecking Crew" of the 80s and 90s, not yet. But they will improve this year. The question is, in the first game out of the gate in a hostile environment, will they be improved enough? We will have to see.
Last edited by KSigAg12; 05-01-2014 at 03:22 AM.