Thursday, January 9, 2014
A&M OT Ogbuehi returns for senior season
By Sam Khan Jr.
A day after its quarterback declared for the NFL draft, Texas A&M got some good news about another potential draftee who decided to stay for his senior season.
Offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi announced that he will bypass the draft and stay at Texas A&M for his final year of eligibility.
"I love playing in front of the 12th Man, I really enjoy being around my teammates, and I will be closer to earning my degree," Ogbuehi said in a statement released by the school. "I appreciated the information I received from the NFL and from Coach [Kevin] Sumlin and Coach [B.J.] Anderson, and I feel it is in my best interest to come back to school. My family has been very supportive and I appreciate their love, input and guidance."
It's huge news for Texas A&M.
The Aggies are already waving goodbye to their other offensive tackle, senior Jake Matthews, who spent most of the season starting at left tackle and is expected to be a top-five pick in the NFL draft. Matthews was in a similar situation in 2013, getting a first-round grade from the NFL draft advisory board but electing to stay for his senior season. Matthews wound up playing his way into the top 10 and is projected as the first offensive tackle to be chosen.
The 6-foot-5, 300-pound Ogbuehi (pronounced oh-BWAY-hee) said in the days leading up to the Chick-Fil-A Bowl that he too received a first-round grade from the advisory board, making his decision a challenging one. But Ogbuehi has the chance to do what Matthews did, play himself into a better position on the draft board for the 2015 draft.
If the Aggies had to replace both tackles, it would have been a tough challenge, especially considering that quarterback Johnny Manziel and receiver Mike Evans -- their two most productive offensive skill position players and two of college football's best -- are leaving early.
Having Ogbuehi back gives the Aggies options. He could return to his right tackle spot, or he could move to left tackle. If junior left guard Jarvis Harrison returns for his senior season, it wouldn't be surprising to see Harrison move to left tackle and Ogbuehi at right tackle. That would give Texas A&M a solid tackle duo once again.
Harrison (6-4, 325) played two games at left tackle when Ogbuehi was out with a groin injury. Matthews moved to Ogbuehi's right tackle spot as a result, and the coaching staff seemed to be pleased with the results.
Ogbuehi has started 30 games for the Aggies. He spent his freshman and sophomore years playing guard before moving to tackle in 2013. The Aggies have had good fortune in recent seasons with offensive tackles (Luke Joeckel [now with the Jacksonville Jaguars] and Matthews. Ogbuehi could be the Aggies' next first-round pick from the position in 2015.
But having him back in 2014 will be a boost for an offense that will be featuring a new starting quarterback to succeed Manziel. The Aggies are likely to have four of their five starters on the offensive line back for 2014.
"Cedric is a terrific athlete and one of the top offensive linemen in the country, and I am excited that he has decided to come back for his senior season," Sumlin said. "In addition to being a top football player, he is a great student and an even better person off of the field. He will be a great leader for our team."