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Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Top Texas A&M sleepers

By Sam Khan Jr.

Johnny Manziel
It's safe to say that Johnny Manziel has been a runaway success at Texas A&M despite being just a 3-star prospect.

Here's a look at some recruits who were surprises at Texas A&M.

No. 1 Johnny Manziel, quarterback, 2011: Coming out of Kerrville (Texas) Tivy, some wondered how Manziel would fare as a quarterback at the Division I level. He originally committed to Oregon but flipped to Texas A&M once then-Aggies' quarterbacks coach Tom Rossley convinced then-head coach Mike Sherman to offer. According to Manziel's high school coach, Mark Smith, A&M and Rice were the only two in-state schools to offer.

He was a three-star prospect and at 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, he was known more for what he could do with his feet than with his arm. He was ranked as the No. 39 quarterback in the country and the No. 97 prospect in the state, despite being an All-American and the state's player of the year as a senior. Now, Manziel is the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy, setting the SEC record for total yards in a season and taking the college football world by storm after leading Texas A&M to an 11-2 season. Safe to say the Aggies hit it out of the park with "Johnny Football."

No. 2 Ryan Swope, athlete, 2009: A running back from Austin (Texas) Westlake, he had plenty of versatility in his 6-0, 187-pound frame. He became a receiver at Texas A&M and eventually set the school's career receiving yardage record as well as setting marks for single-season catches, single-season receiving yards and career 100-yard games. He was ranked as the No. 116 athlete in the 2009 class, but did have offers from Big 12 teams Baylor and Texas Tech.

Damontre Moore
Damontre Moore went from a three-star recruit to being a potential first round NFL draft pick.
No. 3 Ryan Tannehill, quarterback, 2007: The 6-3, 195-pound quarterback was ranked 34th at his position coming out of Big Spring (Texas) High School. Though recruited as a quarterback, Tannehill spent his first two seasons at Texas A&M playing wide receiver (and a reserve quarterback) while Jerrod Johnson was starting. In 2010, Tannehill was inserted at midseason and helped lead the Aggies to a six straight wins. As a senior, he was 12th nationally in passing yards (3,744) and later became the No. 8 overall selection in the NFL draft and is now the starting quarterback for the Miami Dolphins.

Among those ranked ahead of Tannehill as a quarterback prospect in the class of 2007 are Ryan Mallett, John Brantley, Jarrett Lee and Nick Fanuzzi. Tannehill's other offers came from Houston, New Mexico State, TCU and Tulsa among others.

No. 4 Damontre Moore, defensive end, 2010: Coming out of Rowlett (Texas) High School, Moore was a three-star prospect and was ranked as the 48th-best defensive end in the country. Now he could be the first underclassmen taken in the 2013 NFL draft and is the top defensive end on the board. Moore was productive throughout his career, even when he was a backup to Von Miller as a true freshman, recording 5.5 sacks. His junior season was by far his finest, as he moved from the "joker" position to defensive end and recorded a team-high 85 tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss (fifth nationally) and 12.5 sacks (tied for ninth in the nation).

No. 5 Terrence Frederick, cornerback, 2008: Frederick was a late pickup in the Aggies' 2008 class, flipping to A&M just days before national signing day (he was originally committed to Louisville). Frederick didn't get much Division I attention until the final few months leading up to signing day in 2008. He found his way into the starting lineup as a true freshman, starting six games and wound up starting the remainder of his career. He logged 50 games, 45 starts (39 consecutive) and finished in the top 10 in school history in pass breakups for his career and for a single season.