- Sam Khan Jr., ESPN Staff Writer
LA PORTE, Texas -- What a busy week it has been for the Texas A&M coaching staff.
In the span of seven days, the Aggies have accepted three commitments, all from highly-touted players. On Dec. 6 it was ESPN 150 defensive tackle Justin Manning who pledged. On Monday, the nation's No. 1 athlete and the top player in Texas, Ricky Seals-Jones, jumped on board. On Wednesday, ESPN Watch List outside linebacker Hoza Scott joined the fray, adding strength to the Aggies' 2014 class.
Since the Aggies' season ended on Nov. 24, the hits have just kept on coming. Nick Harvey on Nov. 26. Cameron Clear on Nov. 27. Shaun Nixon on Nov. 29. Ja'Quay Williams on Dec. 2. It seems like every week, or sometimes every couple of days, the Aggies are landing a new prospect.
These are good times in Aggieland.
The acquisition of Scott seemed to be a foregone conclusion since the 6-foot-3, 225-pound prospect has been so open about his recruitment and how much he liked the Aggies, declaring that it was basically a done deal for him. They've led for his services since the summer, when he showed up to the Penberthy Intramural Fields on the Texas A&M campus with his La Porte (Texas) High School teammates for the Texas state 7-on-7 championships in July. He was wearing a Texas A&M snapback upon his arrival, called the Aggies his No. 1 at that time and it never changed.
Just because it was a certainty doesn't mean it isn't a big deal. Scott was wanted by just about everybody. Texas offered. So did LSU. Alabama, Florida State, the list goes on. The number of letters in the shoeboxes Scott carries home from the La Porte field house borders on ridiculous.
But the advantages that the Aggies offered are ones that fit what Scott wants. Location is important to him and College Station, Texas, isn't far from La Porte. He wants to play in the Southeastern Conference and the Aggies have shown they can win. And he felt comfortable with Aggies recruiting coordinator and running backs coach Clarence McKinney, who recruited him.
To his credit, McKinney has been an asset for the Aggies in the Houston area. He has relationships with high school coaches throughout the area, thanks to his stops as an assistant at Houston Booker T. Washington and Houston North Shore, plus a stint as the head coach at Houston Yates. He was the running backs coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Houston under head coach Kevin Sumlin and has that same position under Sumlin now.
The Houston area is a priority area for Sumlin. That was that case at Houston and now at Texas A&M. In the span of three days, McKinney has hauled in the top 2013 recruit in Texas (Seals-Jones) and what could be the top 2014 recruit in Scott. McKinney also landed Nixon, a 2014 ESPN Watch List running back, in late November.
With the job receivers coach David Beaty is doing in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, landing guys Manning and Harvey, it has made the Aggies a force in both areas. Again, the Metroplex is a priority area for Sumlin and Beaty was a former high school coach in Garland, Texas, at North Dallas and Irving (Texas) MacArthur. Those ties are important.
The momentum the Aggies have seems to be like a tidal wave and Scott is the latest to ride it. With five commitments under their belt in the 2014 class already, Texas A&M is showing that, at least for the forseeable future, it is a force. The addition of Scott adds to that.
22hSam Khan and Greg Ostendorf
3dSam Khan Jr.
4dDavid M. Hale