Texas A&M Aggies: Football recruiting

Getting to know DaMarkus Lodge 

April, 17, 2014
Apr 17
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video Throughout this recruiting cycle, RecruitingNation will profile a number of ESPN 300 prospects in the 2015 class, including an inside look at the prospect, his recruitment, a scouting report and what college program could benefit when he ultimately makes his decision.

DESOTO, Texas -- With all the multiple camps, combines and special events happening each spring, DaMarkus Lodge chooses not to be a regular on the circuit.

It’s not that Lodge is against them, or that he thinks he’s above them. The ESPN 300 receiver has simply prioritized his life as a student-athlete. The camp circuit happens to be a middle-of-the-pack priority.


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Getting to know Kyler Murray 

April, 11, 2014
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Throughout this recruiting cycle, RecruitingNation will profile a number of ESPN 300 prospects in the 2015 class, including an inside look at the prospect, his recruitment, a scouting report and what college program could benefit when he ultimately makes his decision.

DESOTO, Texas -- When describing quarterbacks, there are certain words and terms that are often used.

Those often heard are winner, clutch, leader, resilient, precise, competitive, field general, accurate, playmaker, calm, cool and collected, among others.

In the case of Under Armour All-America quarterback Kyler Murray, they might all apply.


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Houston NFTC notebook 

April, 6, 2014
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HOUSTON -- On-again, off-again rain couldn’t put a damper on the Houston Nike Football Training Camp on Sunday, and three athletes -- safety Deionte Thompson, tight end Jordan Davis and offensive tackle Jerry Tillery -- earned golden tickets to compete at The Opening this summer in Oregon.

Seven players left The Kinkaid School practice facility with MVP honors at their respective positions: Skyler Bonneau (quarterbacks), Remus Bulmer (running backs), Gary Haynes (wide receivers), Erik McCoy (offensive linemen), Nikolas Daniels (defensive linemen), Spencer Choka (linebackers) and Deontay Anderson (defensive backs).


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Dallas NFTC superlatives 

April, 6, 2014
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DESOTO, Texas -- The Dallas area was the seventh stop in the 2014 Nike Football Training Camp tour. As is annually the case, this stop brings out a bevy of talented prospects from the states of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas.

Despite a chilly day and track meets that kept some talented prospects from attending, the group of talent on hand eclipsed a number of other stops due to sheer numbers of prospects with FBS and BCS offers on hand. Here are some of the event’s most notable performers in the RecruitingNation NFTC awards.


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Dallas NFTC notebook 

April, 5, 2014
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DeSOTO, Texas -- Rain flirted with the Dallas Nike Football Training Camp on Saturday, but held off long enough for seven athletes to earn invitations to The Opening this summer.

Quarterback Kyler Murray, linebacker Malik Jefferson, wide receiver DaMarkus Lodge, offensive lineman Patrick Vahe (Texas commit) and defensive backs Justin Dunning (Texas A&M commit), Will Sunderland Jr and P.J. Mbanasor. all earned golden tickets after stellar performances at DeSoto High School. Murray, Jefferson, Lodge, Vahe and Sunderland were named camp MVPs of their respective positions.


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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a dose of recruiting in the mornings. Monday's offerings: Maryland coach Randy Edsall raised eyebrows last week when he called for reform of the recruiting process by delaying scholarship offers to prospects, and his ideas were met with praise and criticism from his peers; A&M and Baylor landed big commitments over the weekend.

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Texas Relays recruiting notebook 

March, 30, 2014
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AUSTIN, Texas -- The state of Texas’ top track athletes descended on Austin this weekend to compete in the annual Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays on the campus of the University of Texas, and the field of competitors included several touted 2015 and 2016 recruits. Here’s an update on where a few of them stand in their recruitment.

RB Jones wants to travel

The battle for Ronald Jones II, one of the state’s top running back recruits out of McKinney North, rages on as he should be hitting the road in the next few months.


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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today’s offerings: Colorado has struggled on the field and in recruiting since its transition to the Pac-12, but this season is going to be key for the Buffs to turn things around with local prospects. And don’t be surprised if there’s some major news out of Texas A&M this weekend with the Aggies hosting their Friday Night Lights practice.


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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today’s offerings: As the center of an intense recruiting battle between Florida, Georgia, Ohio State, Texas and Texas A&M, a four-star linebacker will lean on those close to him when it comes time to make a decision; and two future SEC opponents took turns testing each other at Sunday’s Atlanta Nike Training Camp.


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Meet No. 4 WR Christian Kirk 

March, 14, 2014
Mar 14
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video Throughout this recruiting cycle, RecruitingNation will profile a number of ESPN 300 prospects in the 2015 class, including an inside look at the prospect, his recruitment, a scouting report and what college program could benefit when he ultimately makes his decision.

Few high schools in the country could lose a player like D.J. Foster and have the excitement about the future not take a dip. In his senior season at Saguaro (Scottsdale, Ariz.), Foster broke the state record by scoring 60 touchdowns -- one defensively -- as he rushed for more than 3,000 yards for the Sabercats on their way to back-to-back state titles.


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With Texas A&M taking a brief hiatus from the field concurrent to the school's spring break this week, we'll look back at notes and nuggets from the first five practices of spring football for the Aggies. Here's the second installment:

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas A&M defensive line coach Terry Price sent a clear message to his players this spring: Being where they were last year is not going to cut it this season.

The Aggies defensive line was part of a defense that ranked last in the SEC and in the bottom 30 nationally in many statistical categories.

"We're going to be completely different from last year, from the bottom to the top," junior defensive end Julien Obioha said.

Zaycovian Henderson
William Wilkerson/ESPNEarly enrollee Zaycoven Henderson is making an impact at Texas A&M.
Part of the Aggies' hopes for improvement stems from the influx of arriving talent, augmenting the defensive line's quality and depth. The Aggies signed five defensive linemen in the 2014 recruiting class, and four are on their way this summer. One is already on campus, and he's making waves in his short time practicing with the team: Zaycoven Henderson.

The four-star prospect from Longview (Texas) High School was the lone early enrollee among the Aggies' defensive line recruits, and stood out in the Aggies' first scrimmage of the spring on Thursday.

"Zaycoven Henderson was noticeable," coach Kevin Sumlin said. "He was with the [second team], but he's a guy that really needs the summer to get into football-playing shape, but there's no doubt that he's a very, very talented young man and is benefiting from graduating early."

At 310 pounds, Henderson certainly has the size desired for his position. Teammates have noticed his ability as well.

"That guy is very, very strong," Obioha said. "He has meat and potatoes. Henderson is just a strong guy. Strong, fast, athletic -- whatever is good about a D-lineman, Henderson has right now."

Given his good start to spring practice, it might not be a surprise to see Henderson earn some time with the first team when the Aggies return to the field next week. Obioha noted that Henderson's work ethic appears to be good, and his passion for improvement is evident.

"He's young and he's hungry to learn right now," Obioha said of Henderson. "That's one of the best things about him; he wants to get better. He has all the talent in the world. If he keeps his ambition up, he can do whatever he wants."

That's good news for Price and the A&M defensive line, which needs all the help it can get if it's going to improve this fall.
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REDONDO BEACH, Calif. -- Thirty athletes from the West region in the ESPN Junior 300 met at Redondo Union (Calif.) High School on Sunday morning for the first Nike Football Training Camp of the spring. With hundreds of recruits in attendance, it wasn't surprising that many of the top prospects coming into the event stood out.


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Top position classes: SEC 

March, 3, 2014
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With national signing day in the books, RecruitingNation is looking at the top position classes in each conference. For the full series, click here.

Quarterback
The Florida Gators had a major need at quarterback in the Class of 2014, and Will Muschamp and staff more than filled it, signing two of the nation’s top signal-callers. Third-ranked dual-threat prospect Will Grier (Davidson, N.C./Davidson Day School) is already on campus and preparing for spring practice, while No. 7 dual-threat prospect Treon Harris (Miami/Booker T. Washington) was a huge signing-day flip from Florida State. Both prospects are great athletes who are accustomed to operating uptempo offenses. This should also help newly hired offensive coordinator Kurt Roper, who will install a similar scheme in Gainesville.


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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today’s offering: There are plenty of great storylines to follow with the Class of 2015, but few will be bigger than the recruiting battles between new Texas coach Charlie Strong and Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin. At the frontlines of the battle between the two Lone Star State powers is Kendall Sheffield, the top ranked prospect in the state.


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Editor's note: This is the second part in a weeklong series of predictions for Texas A&M spring football practice, which begins on Friday.

Texas A&M will have roughly the next six weeks to get better on the field during spring football practice.

But the Aggies will also utilize this time to ensure they continue to improve their talent level in future years. Where the 2014 recruiting class left off, the 2015 recruiting class has picked up. Spring practice is a time to improve the current team, but it's also an important time for the future of the Aggies.

And if the last month is any indication, the Aggies will continue their positive recruiting momentum in the coming weeks.

Texas A&M is coming off a successful junior day on Sunday, its second in the 2015 cycle. The event drew several elite visitors, including ESPN Junior 300 prospects DaMarkus Lodge, Derrick Dillon, Xavier Lewis and Holton Hill. The Aggies landed a commitment from three-star prospect Deshawn Capers-Smith on Sunday and extended offers to several prospects, including Dillon, offensive tackle Keaton Sutherland, and 2017 wunderkind and LSU commit Dylan Moses.

With eight commitments in the 2015 class, seven of which are ESPN 300 prospects, the Aggies are having a strong showing on the recruiting trail.

When spring practice begins on Friday, Texas A&M is hoping to build buzz off of something it did last year. The Aggies' spring debut will be accompanied by Texas disc jockey DJ Double R, who performed live at the Aggies' "Friday Night Lights" scrimmage last April.



That night the Aggies hosted dozens of recruits, several of which they would eventually land commitments from. Among those who eventually committed to Texas A&M were 2014 ESPN 300 linebacker Otaro Alaka, 2015 ESPN Junior 300 running back Rodney Anderson Jr., 2014 ESPN 300 defensive end Myles Garrett, 2014 defensive end Jarrett Johnson and 2014 ESPN 300 safety Dylan Sumner-Gardner, though Sumner-Gardner eventually decommitted and signed with Boise State.

The effect of having a live DJ spinning tunes from the Aggies' equipment truck created a buzzworthy atmosphere at Kyle Field that had recruits talking and certainly helped their efforts in landing some big-name recruits. If that buzz can be created again, it would be a positive for head coach Kevin Sumlin and his staff.

The Aggies could land their next 2015 commitment in the near future. Texas offensive line commitment Connor Lanfear visited Texas A&M for the Aggies' first junior day in January and will make a return visit on Friday for the Aggies' first spring practice. Though he recently attended Texas' junior day, Texas A&M appears in good position of possibly flipping Lanfear's commitment to the maroon and white with his affinity for the SEC, noting that A&M's league membership is a "large pull" for him. He even said his high school classmates at Buda (Texas) Hays Consolidated are asking quite a bit about the Aggies.

“I’ve got a lot of pressure from everyone all over the school," the three-star offensive tackle said. "They’re pressuring me a little bit. 'That maroon looks pretty good on you,’ stuff like that. Everyone is talking about it at Hays, that's the talk right now: 'Where are you going?'"

As spring football progresses, the Aggies will have numerous opportunities to host recruits for unofficial visits. Don't be surprised to see them capitalize on some of those chances to continue to build what is shaping up to be a strong 2015 recruiting class.

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With already more than 100 ranked prospects committed, assistant coaches nationwide have been hard at work on the recruiting trail. National recruiting reporter Jeremy Crabtree joins Phil Murphy to rank the best among them.Tags: B.J. Anderson, Texas A&M Aggies, Jeremy Pruitt, Georgia Bulldogs, ESPN 300, RecruitingNation, high school football recruiting, Phil Murphy, Jeremy Crabtree
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