Texas A&M Aggies: West Virginia Mountaineers

Texas and Texas A&M might not be playing one another anytime soon.

But other schools around the league are interested in the prospects of rekindling rivalries that were destroyed by two rounds of conference realignment.

While the Longhorns and Aggies remain at odds, Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt told ESPN.com this week he’s optimistic that he’ll be able to get Texas A&M on the Red Raiders’ schedule down the line again. Hocutt said there has been interest from Texas A&M’s side, as well.

“Hopefully that’s a series that at some point in time that could start again,” Hocutt said. “Is that a game that won’t happen again? No. We’ve had discussions about it. Hopefully we can reengage that in the coming years.”

Oklahoma and Nebraska already have an agreement in place to play a home-and-home in 2021-22. Missouri coach Gary Pinkel has reportedly said he thinks his school will play Kansas again someday.

And West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck, who has already added Penn State and Virginia Tech to future schedules, told ESPN.com he's hopeful he'll be able to revive the “Backyard Brawl” with Pitt at some point, as well.

“At some point we’ll get Pitt back on the schedule,” Luck said. “What I’m trying to do with our nonconference games is stay as regional as possible and rekindle some of our historical rivalries. Penn State is back on the schedule. Virginia Tech is back on the schedule. That game meant a lot to southern West Virginians. The Pitt game meant a lot to northern West Virginians. We’ve continued to play Pitt in many of the sports.

“We’ve both gone through transitions, so it’s tough schedule-wise for both of us. But I think at some point we’ll get Pitt back on the schedule. I see [Pitt athletic director] Steve Pederson every now and then at various conventions. And we’ve had some discussions about that. We just haven’t been able to really eyeball the proper time to get it going again.”

Early Offer: 2015 begins now 

February, 7, 2014
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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today’s offerings: The ink was barely dry on the letters of intent for 2014 class when one of the best for the 2015 class came off the board; and what schools and recruiters have jumped out of the gate with success with players that won’t sign for another 360-plus days.

The QBs that got away

December, 30, 2013
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There’s no more important position in football than quarterback, and in many cases, fans look at quarterbacks that got away and wonder what might have been had they come to their favorite school. Some schools passed on a quarterback because he evaluated poorly or another QB appeared more attractive. Others simply didn't have enough recruiting ammunition to land the recruit in the first place. Here’s a look at six quarterbacks that got away.

[+] EnlargeJohnny Manziel
Thomas Campbell/USA TODAY SportsWhat might the offense at Oregon or Texas looked like with Johnny Manziel at the controls?
Teddy Bridgewater
Bridgewater had offers from Florida, LSU, Miami, Rutgers, USF and Tennessee when he was a senior coming out of Miami Northwestern. While there were notable programs after Bridgewater, it was hardly the amount of attention you would expect from the player who sits atop many NFL draft boards after a stellar career at Louisville. Some coaches will tell you Bridgewater’s stock was lower coming out of high school because many expected him to land at Miami. He did commit to the Canes at one point, but eventually backed off that pledge and announced he was going to Louisville because of the opportunity for early playing time. “The toughest part of it was that I had to say that I wasn't going to the University of Miami,” he said after selecting the Cards in 2011. “I told the coaches that I had to do what was best for me, and they understood that.” It was a wise decision by Bridgewater and a miss that still haunts the Canes.

Robert Griffin III
Before he was RG III, he was a Houston commitment. Coming out of Copperas Cove, Texas, Griffin originally pledged to Art Briles when he was the coach at Houston. When Briles departed for Baylor, other schools like Kansas, Nebraska, Stanford, Oregon and Oregon State were in hot pursuit, but that was about it. He eventually followed Briles to Waco, and the rest is history. It’s been pointed out a number of times that Texas passed on Griffin because it thought he was a defensive back, and A&M signed Tommy Dorman in that same 2008 class. Dorman played sparingly as a fullback and a tight end.

Kevin Hogan
What would Rutgers, Vanderbilt or Virginia been like had they been able to land Hogan? Hogan was a heavily recruited quarterback coming out of Washington (D.C.) Gonzaga in the 2011 class and his final five consisted of Rutgers, Vandy, UVa and the Cardinal. He decided to leave the East Coast and has settled in nicely on The Farm. Rutgers, Vandy and Virginia surely could have used Hogan this season, as they threw a combined 38 interceptions, while Hogan led the Cardinal to their second straight Pac-12 championship and Rose Bowl appearance.

[+] EnlargeGeno Smith
Justin K. Aller/Getty ImagesThe fortunes of two SEC teams might have changed drastically had Geno Smith not gone to West Virginia.
Collin Klein
Coming out of Loveland, Colo., Klein accepted the only scholarship offer he received. And despite a stellar high school career in football and basketball and a solid showing at the Nike Training Camp, the Wildcats were the only team to believe in him enough to offer. Klein went on to lead K-State to the Big 12 championship in 2012, finish second in the Heisman Trophy voting and win more than 20 games as a starter. At the same time, Colorado struggled at the quarterback spot, won only eight games in a three-year span and would have given anything to have an in-state star like Klein as its leader.

Johnny Manziel
You have to give credit to Oregon and Texas A&M, because they identified early on that Manziel had the goods to be a special quarterback. But they were about the only ones that did. Virtually every recruiting service had him as a three-star prospect and his offer sheet read more like a regionally recruited prospect, not a Heisman Trophy winner. Texas also had a chance to recruit Manziel, but the Horns saw him more as a defensive back prospect than a quarterback. Oregon had faith early in him, and it paid off with a commitment the summer after his junior season. He later flipped to the Aggies in September of his senior season.

Bryce Petty
Coming out of Midlothian, Texas, in the Class of 2009, Petty pledged to then-Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer as a junior. When Fulmer was let go, Lane Kiffin thought Petty didn’t fit what he wanted at quarterback, and Petty was left looking for a home two months before national signing day. Several teams showed interest in the talented young quarterback, including South Carolina, Nebraska and Oklahoma, but few had room. Virginia Tech and Baylor eventually offered Petty a grayshirt opportunity, and he took the Bears’ offer. Surely a number of teams around the Big 12, or even the Hokies or Cornhuskers, would have loved to have Petty as their quarterback.

Geno Smith
Imagine Smith wearing an LSU or an Alabama uniform. It certainly was a possibility at one point in the recruiting process, as the Tigers and Tide were two of Smith’s top teams coming out of Miramar (Fla.) High School. But after an official visit to West Virginia in November of his senior season, he was sold that West Virginia was the place for him. The Tide got their QB of the future in AJ McCarron in that same class and the Tigers hinged their hopes on highly recruited Russell Shepard. McCarron was the right choice for the Tide, but Shepard never developed as a quarterback and LSU had up-and-down play at the position for a number of years. Smith rewrote WVU’s record books and is now an NFL starter.

Big 12 recruiting storylines: Oct. 24 

October, 24, 2013
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In the past week, the top players in Texas for 2014 and 2015 announced their commitment to the same school. One of the top playmakers in the Lone Star State switched his commitment to a Big 12 school. West Virginia got a visit from an athlete committed elsewhere.

We’ll take a look at those topics and a few others in this week’s edition of Big 12 recruiting storylines.


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ATHENS, Ga. -- ESPN Watch List wide receiver Demarre Kitt (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek) recently cut his mammoth offer list down to a top-15 group of schools that he will consider.

“It got crazy at one point with almost everybody that offered me trying to talk to me,” Kitt said. “So I had to cut my list down to 15 schools. After spring practice I will cut it down to eight or 10. At the end of summer I will do five and then go from there.”


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IMMOKALEE, Fla. – Cornerback Mackensie Alexander (Immokalee, Fla./Immokalee), the No. 4-ranked prospect in the ESPN 150, and his brother, Mackenro Alexander, are no longer a package deal in recruiting.


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Five from Friday: 2015 QB Murray has tools 

December, 9, 2012
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Each week, GigEmNation reporter Sam Khan Jr. will bring you five things he learned from watching high school football action in the Midlands region that week, including observations of Texas A&M commitments and targets and other players that catch his attention. Here's this week's installment:

Josh Walker
Courtesy of Gilmer ISDJosh Walker continued to have a big impact for Gilmer (Texas) High School.
1. Allen (Texas) High School 2015 quarterback Kyler Murray is a well-rounded talent. Son of former Texas A&M quarterback Kevin Murray, Kyler has a lot of appealing traits. One of the first that strikes you is his speed and elusiveness. He chewed up 122 rushing yards and scored two touchdowns on 21 carries in Allen's 37-17 win over talented Dallas Skyline in the Class 5A Division I quarterfinals. Murray wasn't his best as a passer on Saturday, but he showed arm strength, good touch on his deep passes and the ability to thread the needle, finding receivers in coverage. He's shorter than your ideal college quarterback (5-foot-11) but he just turned 15 and has time to grow.

2. Texas A&M 2013 defensive tackle commitment Kerrick Huggins (Dallas Skyline) is a relentless player. In the Raiders' loss to Allen on Saturday, the 6-3, 285-pound three-star prospect used his consistent effort to get into the backfield on several occasions and pressure quarterback Kyler Murray. He collected a sack and with his overall effort, showed why he appealed to the Aggies and other schools that recruited him.

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Aggies part ways with DT Rob Zimmerman 

November, 28, 2012
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This season hasn't gone quite as Rob Zimmerman had envisioned.

The Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College defensive tackle wasn't able to play this season because of injuries. Now Zimmerman is looking for a new landing spot after Texas A&M parted ways with the 6-foot-3, 320-pound prospect, who originally committed to the Aggies on July 25.

Zimmerman said the Aggies staff informed him through his head coach, Rion Rhoades, that they no longer have a roster spot for him. Zimmerman said he wasn't too caught off guard by the development.

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Aggies land juco OLB Kenny Flowers 

November, 2, 2012
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Texas A&M has made sure that Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College outside linebacker Kenny Flowers knew that he was a priority.

[+] EnlargeKenny Flowers
Courtesy of Hutchinson C.C.Kenny Flowers committed to Texas A&M over offers from Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Kansas State and West Virginia.
The constant contact and effort that the Aggies put into recruiting the 6-foot-2, 228-pound prospect paid off in a big way Friday, when he called the coaches to commit to Texas A&M.

Flowers made the commitment on Friday afternoon and the December graduate is excited to be joining the program in a couple of months. He chose the Aggies over offers from Arkansas, Kansas, Kansas State and West Virginia. It was Texas A&M's aggressiveness in its pursuit that made the difference.

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Five from Friday: TE Griffin stands out 

October, 22, 2012
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We introduce a new feature on GigEmNation today: Five from Friday, where GigEmNation writer Sam Khan Jr. discusses five things he saw and learned while on the road watching football recruits from games in the Midlands region.

Derrick Griffin
Sam Khan Jr./ESPN.comTight end Derrick Griffin caught two touchdowns passes for Rosenberg, Texas.
1. Rosenberg (Texas) Terry tight end Derrick Griffin is still as good as advertised. The 6-foot-6, 228-pound Griffin displays incredible athleticism, from his speed, his hands, his leaping ability and his propensity to block downfield. His team uses a run-heavy veer offense and the Rangers are on their third-string quarterback, so Griffin didn't get as many opportunities on Friday in his team's 30-0 win over Bay City (Texas) High School. But when he got the opportunities, he took advantage as two of his three catches were for touchdowns. He said he's still "keeping his options open" at the moment while maintaining his commitment to Texas A&M, but it's noteworthy that he was sitting front and center at Kyle Field for the LSU game on Saturday with teammate Victor Davis and Manvel's Tavares Garner, both Texas A&M cornerback commits.

2. Whoever takes a chance on Eugene Wright is going to get a quality player. The Rosenberg (Texas) Terry back is undersized (5-8, 160 pounds) but he's quick and shifty and can change the game at a moment's notice when the ball gets into his hands. On Thursday against Bay City (Texas) High School, Wright averaged a whopping 14.2 yards per carry, gaining 128 yards on nine totes including a 58-yard touchdown to lead the Rangers to a 30-0 win. Notably, all those numbers came in the first half as Wright was injured in the second quarter and didn't return. But the Rangers already had the 30-0 lead at halftime so his services weren't needed in the final two quarters. Wright has had interest from Boise State, Texas Tech and West Virginia this year.

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Juco OT Calhoun nearing decision 

September, 20, 2012
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CORSICANA, Texas – A decision could come relatively soon for massive junior college offensive tackle Aleon Calhoun (Corsicana, Texas/Navarro College).

At 6-foot-7 and 345 pounds, Calhoun claims offers from Alabama, LSU, Arkansas, Texas A&M, West Virginia and a host of other schools. He most recently picked up an offer from Florida State and said he hopes to make a decision in 2-3 weeks.

“Wherever I go, I’m looking for 10 more guys just like me,” Calhoun said. “I want everybody hungry for one thing, and that’s to win. I’m looking for guys who are hungry for the next play, the next game, the next win.”

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Notes: A&M hosting juco duo on officials 

September, 20, 2012
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This summer, Texas A&M dipped into the junior college ranks to add to an area of need in its 2013 recruiting class: defensive tackle.

The result was the commitment of Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College defensive tackle Rob Zimmerman, a 6-foot-3, 320-pound prospect who committed to the Aggies in July.

This weekend, when the Aggies host South Carolina State at Kyle Field, Zimmerman will be one of two official visitors expected to be on hand. The other is his Hutchinson teammate, outside linebacker Kenny Flowers.

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ESPN 300 wide receiver Richard Benjamin (Tampa, Fla./Tampa Bay Tech) has decided to reopen his recruitment and is no longer considered a commitment to UCF, according to Tampa Bay Tech head coach Jayson Roberts.

The 6-foot, 190-pound senior committed to UCF last month saying the Knights were his final decision. But after discussing things with his coaches and other confidants Benjamin will make another decision at a later date.

"From the brief conversation I had with Richard today he expressed that he wanted to weigh his options," Roberts said. "The whole issue with the sanctions had him feeling a bit uneasy. He was thinking that he might have rushed into a decision."

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ESPN 300 DE Paul James finishes strong 

July, 25, 2012
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Miami Norland defensive end Paul James III earned an offer from Florida State after a strong effort at the Jimbo Fisher football camp last week but the 6-foot-2, 250-pound senior has long said he wants to get away from Florida for college.

James, ranked 198th in the ESPN 300, likes several programs including West Virginia, Illinois, Texas A&M and Alabama but admitted that he enjoyed his time at FSU camp.

"It was a lot of fun working with coach [D.J.] Eliot and being on campus," James said. "It was very nice to be there and get a chance to see the area and hang out with the coaching staff.

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No change at top for DB Paris Bostick 

July, 14, 2012
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Head coach Robert Weiner has built the Tampa Bay-area Plant High program into a powerhouse, and the University of Georgia has reaped the benefits of their success -- with quarterback Aaron Murray and tight end Orson Charles both signing and starring for the Bulldogs during the last three years. Georgia is in the mix with yet another Plant standout, and he was in Athens Friday for Dawg Night.

The Plant Panthers went 14-1 last season, winning the Class 8A championship in Florida. Safety Paris Bostick (Tampa/Plant) played a big role, with 63 tackles, one sack and three interceptions as a junior.

Double-digit schools have offered the 6-foot-1, 217-pound prospect, including the Bulldogs. Bostick camped at Georgia last year, and this year after making several plays at safety, Bostick showed his versatility by lining up at wide receiver and catching a few passes.


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