- Sam Khan Jr., ESPN Staff Writer
It was an eventful Wednesday night for Texas A&M football complete with some good news and some not-so-good news.
The good news was that the Aggies scored their second verbal commitment in as many days, landing a pledge from 2014 cornerback Cedric Collins (Dallas/Skyline) to officially jump start the next recruiting class. The Aggies have already made plenty of waves in the current class (2013), most recently landing Auburn (Ala.) athlete Cameron Echols-Luper on Tuesday.
The not-so-good news affected the current Texas A&M roster as sophomore transfer running back Brandon Williams's waiver to become eligible for this season was denied by the NCAA. He'll have to sit out the year per normal NCAA transfer rules and will be eligible to suit up in games for the Aggies in 2013.
Let's glance at how those tidbits affect the Aggies moving forward.
With the Collins commitment, it was a big score for the Aggies. Their first pickup of the 2014 class was a coveted one. Collins had offers from Baylor, Houston, Kansas State, Mississippi, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, SMU, TCU, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and West Virginia. You can bet, that despite his commitment, more offers will come in the future.
So what compelled the 5-foot-10, 170-pound cornerback to pull the trigger with two high school seasons left? Collins is no stranger to the recruiting process. His first offer came when he was a freshman in high school and he has taken unofficial visits to 10 different schools. He did his due diligence in the recruiting process before narrowing to a final three of Baylor, Nebraska and Texas A&M.
Collins feels strongly enough about the Aggies that he felt there was no sense in waiting any longer to commit. On more than one occasion, Collins has said that Texas A&M "feels like home" when he visits.
What will he bring to the Aggies? Collins has good quickness and speed, shows great instincts in coverage and is often around the football. He appears to be a good tackler for his position and Skyline recruiting coordinator Jason R. Garrett said that Collins is a "cerebral player" who understands both the man coverage and zone coverage concepts.
Because he's been playing on varsity since he was a freshman, Collins will arrive in College Station with plenty of playing experience and seasoning.
On the other hand, the Williams news wasn't completely unexpected. Texas A&M filed a waiver on Williams' behalf on Aug. 2 and it was initially denied. The school appealed the decision and the appeal was heard and denied on Wednesday, meaning Williams will have to sit out 2012 per normal transfer rules.
"We appreciate the NCAA’s consideration of our appeal in the case of Brandon Williams," coach Kevin Sumlin said in a statement. "We knew this was a possibility and Brandon will continue to work out with our team and help our team get better. We look forward to him playing in maroon and white in 2013."
With his size, speed and athleticism, Williams would have been an asset in the Aggies' backfield this fall, but his absence on game days won't be felt significantly unless the injury bug hits. Currently, the Aggies have three options in the backfield, all of which appear to be capable: senior Christine Michael, junior Ben Malena and true freshman Trey Williams.
Michael hasn't finished either of the last two seasons due to injuries, but when he has been in the games, he has been productive. Malena emerged late last season as a viable option when Michael and former Aggie running back Cyrus Gray were hurt and Malena will have a role in the backfield too. Trey Williams shined in the Aggies' pair of open scrimmages and it looks like he'll have a role in the offense as well. His quickness, footwork and speed make Trey a slippery, explosive playmaker that could contribute not just on offense, but on special teams as well.
If those three stay healthy, the Aggies will be in solid shape but if one goes down for a significant amount of time, it will have an impact with Brandon Williams and Tra Carson (Oregon transfer) sidelined per the transfer rules. When Williams' redshirt year is over, he'll have three years of eligibility remaining starting in fall of 2013. And though many perceive the new Air Raid-style offense to be pass happy, running backs are utilized significantly, both in the running and passing game.
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1dSam Khan Jr.