- Sam Khan Jr., ESPN Staff Writer
"Coach's take" is a series which allows GigEmNation to offer readers a closer look at the incoming recruits in Texas A&M's 2013 class by visiting with someone who coached the player or coached against him. Today, we take a look at four-star defensive end Jay Arnold of Heath (Texas) Rockwall-Heath by visiting with his head coach, Mickey Moss.
The 6-foot-4, 255-pound Arnold ranked 37th nationally among defensive ends, recording 23 tackles, four sacks, a fumble recovery and a touchdown in his senior season. As a junior he had 44 tackles, 13 sacks, two pass breakups, three forced fumbles, a fumble return for a touchdown and 15 quarterback hurries.
Here's Moss' take on Arnold:
GigEmNation: What was your first impression of Arnold when he first entered your program?
Mickey Moss: "I thought 'Here I have these two ninth graders [Arnold and teammate Jordan Points, also a Texas A&M signee], wow.' Big kids that could run like that. A lot of the same things. Both of these boys you thought would end up being great football players. Jay at the time was projected to be an elite type Division I type of kid with the way he could run and his frame. Early on, you knew he was special and he was going to have the tools to play high level Division I football."
GEN: What are his strengths?
Moss: "His desire to do exactly what the coaches want him to as far as instruction and coaching and teaching and listening. He's very coachable when it comes to showing him something. He pays attention to detail. He's very intelligent, smart kid. Very sharp. His willingness and desire to listen. He's a very good listener to instruct and coach and teach. Besides having the tools, the size and ability to run like he does, he runs really well."
GEN: What are the areas he needs improvement in as he transition to the college level?
Moss: "Adapting to the physical part of the game at the next level, the size he's going to be running into. Sometimes when you go through life and you're bigger than everybody else, things come a lot easier. Things that come easy to you in the past, you realize they're not going to be as easy. You learn 'I've really got to learn some new things and adapt to new things that will really help me out and take advantage of my skills and adapt to the size and the physicality at the next level.'"
GEN: How do you see him fitting in at Texas A&M on the defensive line?
Moss: "Whatever they want to do with him. Because of his first two steps, he's really fast. I think he can develop into a great pass rusher the more he learns to use his hands. I see his burst of speed on his first two steps and getting that leverage and that advantage. At times at the high school level you can't just turn kids loose because they have so many responsibilities and a kid like him we count on to [do multiple things] -- not everyone on your team is that talented. Sometimes on the college level you can turn all four of those d-linemen loose and let them penetrate and get upfield and sack the quarterback and they can recover pretty quickly if it's a draw play or a trap play or run play and the speed of the game is different. Just turning him loose, him coming off the edge and get that take off, I think he's going to be really good at."
GEN: What will be your lasting memory of him as a player?
Moss: "His smile and how he enjoyed it and how everybody liked him and how he enjoyed being around the coaches and the players. His smile always stands out after big games. Some of the crushing blows he made on some people and fumble returns for touchdowns. He had a couple of games where he had some big-time scoop-and-scores. Watching him run it to the end zone. A pass he caught as he caught on a tight end on a bootleg pass and how he trucked a few people. Those are all good memories."