As the 2012 season approaches, GigEmNation will take a look at where the Aggies stand currently and in the future at each position group. Today, we glance at the defensive ends.
Moore, a 6-foot-4, 250-pound junior, moves to defensive end after spending last year at linebacker where he was fourth on the team with 72 tackles in 12 games (10 starts). He led the Aggies in tackles for loss (17.5) and had a team second-best 8.5 sacks. Nealy, a 6-5, 277-pound senior, starts camp as the other starting defensive end and earned honorable mention All-Big 12 honors a year ago with 45 tackles and eight tackles for loss. He moved into the starting lineup after Jonathan Mathis went down with an injury. Stansbury, a redshirt sophomore, played in all 13 games last year and recorded 3.5 tackles for loss and a sack while coming off the bench. Russell, a senior, had three starts and also appeared in all 13 games, recording 27 tackles. Alexander, a highly-touted recruit out of Brenham, Texas/Brenham, missed some time because of an injury last season and appeared in four games, recording 12 tackles and 1.5 for loss.
All four are true freshmen, but Manukainiu and Williams will be worth keeping an eye on in fall camp, as defensive coordinator Mark Snyder hasn't ruled out trying either or both of them out at defensive tackle to add depth to the Aggies interior defensive front. Manukainiu is a 6-foot-5, 255-pound product of Euless, Texas/Trinity. Obioha stands 6-4 and weighs 255 and was a first-team all-state pick as a senior at New Orleans/Brother Martin. Williams comes from the well-known California program Long Beach/Polytechnic and is 6-foot-4, 248. He had 100 tackles and 12 sacks as a senior in 2011. Taylor, who is 6-foot-3, 210, is the brother of sophomore Tyrell Taylor, an outside linebacker for the Aggies who also came from Houston/Galena Park High School. He was a district defensive MVP and second-team All-Greater Houston selection by the Houston Chronicle as a senior.
Future: Jay Arnold
Arnold (Rockwall, Texas/Rockwall-Heath) is the lone defensive end commitment currently in the 2013 class. The four-star recruit, who stands 6-4 and is 255 pounds, is the teammate of current Texas A&M 2013 commit Jordan Points, a defensive tackle. Arnold is ranked 36th nationally at his position and is the 58th-ranked recruit in Texas. While Arnold is currently the only defensive end recruit, Points may have the flexibility to rotate between tackle and end, and the Aggies may still add a defensive end to the 2013 class.