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Friday, August 2, 2013
Aggie Snapshot: DE Julien Obioha

By Sam Khan Jr.

During the summer, GigEmNation will take a closer look at returning starters and other key players on the two-deep for Texas A&M -- excluding the Aggies' 2013 recruiting class -- that could make notable impact this fall in our Aggie Snapshot series. Starting with No. 1 De'Vante Harris, the series will follow the roster numerically through our final analysis of No. 95 Julien Obioha.

No. 95 Julien Obioha
Sophomore defensive end

Impact thus far: Obioha surprised observers by winning a starting job in fall training camp last year and wound up starting all 12 regular season games for the Aggies opposite Damontre Moore. Obioha finished with 25 tackles, a sack, 1.5 tackles for loss, six pass breakups, four quarterback hurries and a forced fumble. Obioha missed the AT&T Cotton Bowl with an injury that also kept him out of spring football.

Expectations for 2013: The 6-foot-4, 255-pound Obioha will start again this fall and moves to the rush end spot that was occupied Moore last season. With the most starting experience among the other players at the position, expectations will be high for Obioha this fall.

Best-case scenario in 2013: Can Obioha put together the kind of season that Moore did (12.5 sacks, 21 tackles for loss) a year ago? That's probably asking a bit much for a true sophomore, but his production should see a significant spike this season. Starting as a true freshman in the SEC is no easy task and after proving he can handle that, he should be able to take a significant step forward.

Worst-case scenario in 2013: If the back injury that kept him out of action in spring lingers, obviously that would be hindrance to Obioha. But also, not having a proven pass rusher like Moore opposite him means opposing offenses can pay more attention to Obioha in hopes of limiting his effectiveness. Even though he's a true sophomore, he'll be one of the more experienced players in a young front seven.

Future impact: Obioha has the chance to be a four-year starter, which is something when you're talking about playing in the SEC. If he continues to progress, he could emerge into an all-conference performer. His toughness and work ethic should carry him a long way in Aggieland.