Wednesday, November 21, 2012
SEC success opening doors for Aggies
By Sam Khan Jr.
There's one thing that's clear about Texas A&M's quick success in its first Southeastern Conference season. It has gotten the attention of recruits.
The Aggies already had 28 commitments before the season started but have added three 2013 commitments plus a 2014 commitment.
Juco linebacker Kenny Flowers is Texas A&M's only commitment since the season began.
Mesquite (Texas) West Mesquite safety Kameron Miles, a 2013 prospect who on Wednesday decommitted from Tennessee and switched his commitment from Texas A&M that night, was the first pledge the Aggies have landed since their landmark victory over then-No. 1 Alabama. Four days later, they added City College of San Francisco offensive tackle Jeremiah Stuckey.
Even before that win, he was already having positive feelings about the Aggies, who offered him a little more than a week ago because of their success. But the Alabama win certainly sent a message about how competitive the Aggies are in their first year in the league and will be in the future.
"I've been watching them since their close game against LSU and now beating Alabama," Miles said after committing to the Aggies. "For a school to be that successful in their first year in the SEC, that's an accomplishment. That really impressed me."
The Aggies have picked up two other commitments since the season began -- Stuckey and Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College linebacker Kenny Flowers who committed on Nov. 2. And they've remained in the hunt for several of their top remaining targets, including ESPN 150 members Ricky Seals-Jones, Justin Manning, Mike Mitchell and Isaac Savaiinaea. While the Aggies have made their impressions on each of those young men when they visited College Station, Texas, there's no doubt the on-field success has only helped their recruiting efforts.
"They're probably going to win Texas now," said Seals-Jones' father, Chester Jones, of the Aggies' momentum. "In the recruiting wars in the next four-to-five years, they'll probably be the top recruiting college in the state of Texas."
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In the 2014 class, one of their two current commitments was landed before the season -- Dallas Skyline cornerback and ESPN Watch List member Cedric Collins -- but the next one came in the midst of the Aggies' season, outside linebacker Josh Walker. Walker had offers from Oklahoma and Texas prior to committing to the Aggies, and A&M beating out both of those schools for a player could be a sign of the opinion recruits have of the Aggies.
And it isn't only the success that matters to recruits. The fact that the Aggies are even in the SEC carries a lot of weight. The league's reputation for producing NFL draft picks -- and the opportunity to play in the league that's widely considered the best in college football -- has had an impact.
"It matters a lot," Flowers said after he committed. "I know it's a good league. It's the best."
Combine that with the energy that new coach Kevin Sumlin and his staff have brought to the program, their ability to establish relationships in recruiting and the resources the Aggies have in terms of facilities and the game-day atmosphere has been a home run for the Aggies so far.
Sumlin said that the impact of the success has been felt already.
"Our phone's ringing off the hook at this point," he said.