- Sam Khan Jr., ESPN Staff Writer
Each week this season, GigEmNation will rank Texas A&M's top 10 performers of the season up to this point. After five games this season, including the most recent win over Mississippi, here's a glance at who has shined so far:
1. DE Damontre Moore
The junior has been a constant, consistent playmaker on defense for the Aggies from the first game of the season through the fifth. On Saturday he tied for the team lead in tackles with three others, added two tackles for loss and recorded his seventh sack of the year. For the season, he's tied for the nation's lead in tackles for loss (12.5) and tied for third in sacks.
2. LT Luke Joeckel
The junior continues to excel in pass protection, consistently winning battles against opposing pass rushers. Glance at the majority of the Aggies big offensive plays from Saturday's win and you'll find Joeckel shutting down his opponents' efforts to get into the backfield.
3. RT Jake Matthews
Matthews' success has gone hand-in-hand with Joeckel's. Matthews has also been solid in pass protection and both Matthews and Joeckel have been part of the Aggies' improvement in the running game, where all parts of the offensive line seemed to show progress on Saturday. Matthews also continues to be a consistent, reliable option as a long snapper on special teams.
4. QB Johnny Manziel
For the first time all season, Manziel actually looked like a freshman. Against the Rebels, he turned the ball over three times, throwing two interceptions and fumbling once. But he also showed some toughness and fight, regrouping in the fourth quarter to lead two scoring drives to fuel the Aggies' comeback. He ran for 129 yards and a touchdown to go with his 191 passing yards and the game-winning touchdown pass.
5. WR Mike Evans
Evans' 32-yard reception on third-and-19 with just more than seven minutes to go started the Aggies' rally. The catch took an athletic effort that is becoming seemingly typical for the 6-5 redshirt freshman. He finished with a team-high eight catches for 105 yards and he leads the team in catches (32) and receiving yards (412) for the season.
6. LB Steven Jenkins
The junior continued his strong play of late, coming up with a huge 37-yard interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter that tied the game at 17. He finished with five tackles and a tackle for loss as well. He's fourth on the team in tackles (29) and is second in tackles for loss (3.5).
7. DT Spencer Nealy
Nealy was relentless on Saturday, consistently pushing opposing linemen into the backfield or getting into the backfield himself to disrupt plays. The stat line didn't show it (four tackles, one quarterback hurry) but Nealy played big, as he has for much of the season.
8. DB Toney Hurd
Hurd came up with the play that sealed the win against the Rebels, intercepting quarterback Bo Wallace with 1:09 to go while the Rebels were in game-tying field goal range. He finished with six tackles playing a mix of safety and cornerback, something he has done for much of the season. He's third on the team with 31 tackles and has three tackles for loss.
9. LB Jonathan Stewart
Stewart made the stop of the night, coming up with the tackle of Ole Miss running back Jeff Scott on fourth-and-inches late in the fourth quarter to give the Aggies the ball back for its game-winning offensive drive. The senior he tied for the team lead with eight tackles and leads the team for the season with 38 tackles.
10. LB Sean Porter
The senior tied for the team lead with eight tackles and made some big plays of his own in the win, most notably rushing a Bo Wallace pass that landed in the hands of Steven Jenkins for the second-quarter interception return.