Monday, November 12, 2012
Aggies' upset win resonates with recruits
By Sam Khan Jr.
Texas A&M's upset win over No. 1 Alabama sent shockwaves through the Southeastern Conference and the college football landscape.
For the Aggies to make their first-ever trip Bryant-Denny Stadium and defeat the favored, defending BCS champions sent a statement to the rest of the league that the Aggies are not here to be a doormat.
Ed Paris, a 2014 CB prospect, was impressed with A&M's win over Alabama, but knows it can't be the only thing affecting his decision.
The impact of the 29-24 victory wasn't just felt on the field for Texas A&M, it also caught the attention of recruits everywhere.
One of the Aggies' 2014 targets, Austin (Texas) Lake Travis running back Shaun Nixon, believes the message the Aggies' sent is a strong one.
"It says that if you want to win a championship, come over to Texas A&M," said Nixon, an ESPN Watch List member. "I think that's what they're going to do in a few years. I think they will."
Nixon has offers from five schools -- Baylor, Clemson, SMU, Texas A&M and Texas Tech -- and lists the Aggies as his top choice. He liked the Aggies well before this season began and they had success in the SEC, but winning has only helped, he said.
"That's really important," Nixon said. "That's also going to bring in top recruits that want to play, because Texas A&M is a good place to go. Them pulling off that win, that means they're hungry for a championship. That's what I'm looking for, a team that's hungry."
Others aren't ready to change their entire opinion of the program based on one victory. For some, like 2014 ESPN Watch List cornerback Ed Paris, it will take more than wins and losses to influence his decision.
"If the recruits are just worried about the score and if they win or lose, yeah, then it was a great game for recruits to see which school to go to," Paris said. "But if recruits are worried about all around education, fans, coaches, all that type of stuff, I'm not sure about that one."
Paris, who has more than 20 offers, including one from the Aggies, was impressed though.
"It surprised me a lot," Paris said. "When you hear Alabama's name, you think about them being No. 1 in the nation, an all-around unstoppable team and as for A&M, first year in the SEC to beat Alabama was impressive. It was very impressive. It was an all-around great game."
Ken Mitchell, father of ESPN 150 linebacker Mike Mitchell, said that the win was great but won’t change the perspective of Mike and his family. Mike has the Aggies in his top four along with Ohio State, Oklahoma and Oregon.
"A&M is A&M,” Ken Mitchell said. “Even if they hadn't beaten Alabama, which is a plus for everybody, it doesn't change anything for us in any way, shape or form. The decision won't be based on what their won-loss record is or whether they beat Alabama, but it was very nice for everybody. Even if they'd loss to Alabama, they've played great all year."
The win might have further stirred a change in the balance of power in the Lone Star State.
Chester Jones, father of top Aggies' 2013 target Ricky Seals-Jones, said he thinks it is the beginning of a shift in the balance of recruiting power in the state of Texas.
"Their recruiting is probably going to pick up," Jones said. "They're probably going to win Texas now. In the recruiting wars in the next four-to-five years, they'll probably be the top recruiting college in the state of Texas."
Jones said he thinks a win like that will lead many high-profile recruits to take a closer look at the program. Seals-Jones, who has the Aggies in his top two with LSU, was glued to the television watching Saturday's game, Jones said.
"They're going to have a lot of recruits that are going to want to come there now," Jones said.