Texas A&M Aggies: J.J. Gustafson

Opening spring camp: Texas A&M

February, 27, 2014
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Schedule: The Aggies begin spring practice on Friday and will go through the first week of April, while taking off spring break week in between. Because of the redevelopment project of Kyle Field, the Aggies will not have their annual maroon-and-white spring game.

What’s new: The Aggies have a new offensive coordinator (Jake Spavital, previously A&M's quarterbacks coach) and a new secondary coach (Terry Joseph, previously at Nebraska and replacing departed secondary coach Marcel Yates, who is now at Boise State). Aside from that, the coaching staff stayed stable and most of the newness will come on the field, as the Aggies face life post-Johnny Manziel, Mike Evans and Jake Matthews.

[+] EnlargeCedric Ogbuehi
AP Photo/Aaron M. SprecherWhoever Texas A&M names at quarterback will have Cedric Ogbuehi protecting him at left tackle.
On the move: Offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi moves from right tackle to left tackle to fill the void left by Jake Matthews. On defense, linebacker Darian Claiborne -- who started nine games at middle linebacker -- moves to his natural position of weakside linebacker.

New faces: Texas A&M had seven recruits who enrolled in January and who will be available for spring football: quarterback Kyle Allen, junior college offensive linemen Jermaine Eluemunor and Avery Gennesy, offensive lineman J.J. Gustafson, defensive tackle Zaycoven Henderson, receiver Speedy Noil and junior college receiver Joshua Reynolds.

Also, outside linebacker A.J. Hilliard -- a transfer from TCU -- will go through his second spring in Aggieland, but 2014 will be the first year he is eligible to play for A&M after sitting out the 2013 season due to NCAA transfer rules.

Question marks: Some of the biggest question marks going into spring practice are related to off-the-field issues. Head coach Kevin Sumlin hasn't publicly commented on defensive tackle Isaiah Golden and Claiborne, both of whom were arrested over the weekend on separate charges. Athletics department policy calls for them to be suspended immediately and indefinitely while things are sorted out, but how much time will they miss this spring? As for on the field, most of the questions exist on a defense that was last in the SEC in points allowed, yards allowed, rushing and red zone efficiency last season. Will the young defensive line show improvement? Will the secondary play, specifically from the safeties, get better? Can two new faces at linebacker help the cause?

Key battle: The main one everyone will watch is at quarterback, where senior Matt Joeckel, sophomore Kenny Hill and Allen will square off. At right tackle, expect the junior college transfers, Eluemunor and Gennesy, to compete for the starting job initially. There are receiver positions up for grabs and a host of candidates. There's a spot at strongside linebacker up for grabs as well.

Breaking out: With Mike Evans gone, there are a lot of catches and yards to be had. Only one starter returns at receiver (Malcome Kennedy), but look for one of the young up-and-comers to break out. That guy could be Ricky Seals-Jones, who missed most of last season with a knee injury that he suffered in the season opener against Rice. Seals-Jones is big (6-foot-5, 240 pounds), fast and can be a matchup problem wherever the Aggies put him. Also keep an eye at running back for potential breakout players. The team's two leading rushers the last two seasons -- Manziel and running back Ben Malena -- are gone, so someone has to get those carries. Tra Carson, Trey Williams and Brandon Williams will get the chance to prove their worth, and someone will emerge as the No. 1 back on the depth chart.

Don’t forget about: Deshazor Everett and De'Vante Harris. For much of last season, you could say Everett was the Aggies' best and most versatile defensive player, flip-flopping from cornerback to safety and vice versa. His versatility gives the Aggies options in the secondary. Harris showed significant improvement last season as a sophomore over his true freshman season in 2012, when he started right out of the gate. If those two remain at corner, their veteran presence will provide some stability in the defensive backfield, and both have shown the ability to be playmakers.

All eyes on: The coordinators. Mark Snyder had a strong first season as the Aggies' defensive coordinator in 2012, but last season's defensive performance had Aggies frustrated. Everyone, including Snyder and his staff, is looking for significant improvement from a group that will be a year older after having a dozen freshmen on the defensive two-deep depth chart at times last season. On offense, Spavital takes over as the play-caller, a duty he assumed before the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. He'll call the plays straight from the sideline and, as the quarterbacks coach, should have a symbiotic relationship with Manziel's successor. It will be interesting to see what wrinkles are added to the offense and what it transforms to under the 28-year-old's watch.

Texas K Wicker talks TAMU opportunity 

February, 11, 2013
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Cody Wicker missed his initial chance to impress Texas A&M.

GigEmNation signing day blog

February, 6, 2013
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Welcome to GigEmNation's live coverage of national signing day for the Texas A&M Aggies. We'll be with you throughout the day providing up-to-the minute updates on A&M's class of 2013.

Watch live coverage on ESPNU | 2013 Texas A&M recruiting class

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Positive signing day outlook for TAMU 

February, 6, 2013
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In a year's time, things have changed quite a bit for Texas A&M. Look no further than national signing day as evidence.

In 2012, much of the attention and concern regarding the Aggies' recruiting class heading into signing day was on whether the Aggies could hold on to one of their most notable commitments, ESPN 150 receiver Bralon Addison.

It didn't happen, as Addison flipped to Oregon and signed with the Ducks.

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Longtime TAMU commit to grayshirt 

February, 5, 2013
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A longtime Texas A&M commitment will not be signing a national letter of intent on Wednesday.


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Texas A&M junior left tackle Luke Joeckel was presented with an opportunity he couldn't pass up. He didn't.

[+] EnlargeJoeckel
Brett Davis/US PresswireTexas A&M's Luke Joeckel has been projected to be a top-five pick in the 2013 NFL draft.
The 6-foot-6, 310-pound winner of the Outland Trophy officially announced on Tuesday that he is bypassing his senior season and declaring for early entry into the 2013 NFL draft. Many projections have Joeckel going in the top five selections, and some even have him going first overall. He's the consensus top tackle on the draft board.

With the Jan. 15 deadline to declare approaching, only right tackle Jake Matthews remains among those highly-regarded draft-eligible A&M juniors who haven't officially announced a decision. Defensive end Damontre Moore declared before the AT&T Cotton Bowl that he's entering the draft.

Joeckel's loss is significant because he was a stalwart at left tackle. He was stellar in pass protection and solid in run blocking as well. All the reasons scouts like him as a potential NFL player are why he was an asset to the Aggies this season. He was durable and reliable. Scouts Inc.'s Kevin Weidl described Joeckel as having excellent footwork and awareness and called him a "smooth mover" who "adjusts well in space."

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Mastrogiovanni flips from OU to A&M 

January, 6, 2013
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The wave of momentum Texas A&M has in recruiting right now has seemingly become a tsunami, especially considering the Aggies' latest pull.

Jordan Mastrogiovanni
Bob Przybylo/ESPN.comESPN 300 linebacker Jordan Mastrogiovanni will join his teammate J.J. Gustafson in College Station.
ESPN 300 linebacker Jordan Mastrogiovanni, who has been committed to Oklahoma since June 14, has flipped his commitment to Texas A&M. The four-star inside linebacker confirmed the news to GigEmNation via text message on Sunday.

The 6-foot-2, 225-pound prospect from Dallas Jesuit is the No. 7 inside linebacker in the nation. He will join his high school teammate, J.J. Gustafson, a four-star offensive tackle at Dallas Jesuit who is also committed to Texas A&M.

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What if ... the tackles enter the draft? 

December, 7, 2012
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In trying to ensure depth at every position, coaches can often play the "What if?" game when it comes to recruiting. Expecting the unexpected can mean the difference between feeling comfortable enough to have a capable body step in and contribute at a position and scrambling to make sure any depth exists.

When it comes to their offensive tackles, Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin and his offensive staff are ready for anything. After the conclusion of the AT&T Cotton Bowl, junior tackles Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews will have a decision to make: Apply for early entry into the NFL draft or return to Aggieland for their senior seasons?

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Focus on '14: Offensive line 

November, 13, 2012
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Demetrius KnoxMiller Safrit/ESPN.comESPN Watch List offensive tackle Demetrius Knox is a coveted prospect.
GigEmNation is taking a weekly position-by-position look at the 2014 recruiting class as it relates to Texas A&M, whom the Aggies are targeting as well as 2013 commits and who on the roster will graduate. Today, we look at the offensive linemen:

2013 commits: OG Joas Aguilar (North Richland Hills/Birdville), OT J.J. Gustafson (Dallas/Jesuit), OT Ishmael Wilson (Dallas/Bishop Dunne).

Offensive linemen who will graduate: Patrick Lewis and Allen Woodum. Also, keep an eye on junior tackles Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews, both of whom will be likely NFL draft prospects.

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OU commit Mastrogiovanni visits A&M 

October, 21, 2012
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Dallas Jesuit inside linebacker Jordan Mastrogiovanni has heard plenty about the game-day experience at Texas A&M's Kyle Field. So along with a teammate, Dallas Jesuit offensive tackle and Texas A&M commitment J.J. Gustafson, Mastrogiovanni decided to experience it for himself to see if it lived up to the hype.

"I think it did," said Mastrogiovanni, an Oklahoma commitment. "I've heard so much about how loyal the fans are to their team and that proved to be true. When it became obvious that LSU was going to get the win there in the last couple of minutes, I didn't notice any of the fans leaving, which was pretty cool. They proved themselves to be really loyal team so I found that to be a pretty special quality, what the fans did to the players."

[+] EnlargeJordan Mastrogiovanni
Damon Sayles/ESPN.comFour-star LB Jordan Mastrogiovanni is solid with Oklahoma though he attended Texas A&M's game vs. LSU.
The ESPN 300 linebacker, who is ranked seventh at his position nationally, has been committed to Oklahoma since June. That hasn't kept the Aggies coaches from reaching out to him and inviting him to games. Texas A&M receivers coach David Beaty, linebackers coach Matt Wallerstedt and special teams coordinator Brian Polian have all been in contact with the four-star prospect, but he said he still has his heart set on Oklahoma right now.

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Visitors for LSU vs. Texas A&M 

October, 17, 2012
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A huge SEC West tilt is on tap Saturday at Kyle Field in College Station, Texas. That's when No. 18 Texas A&M hosts No. 6 LSU.

In addition to the expected sellout crowd, a healthy number of recruits should be in attendance, including some of the Aggies' top targets in the 2013 and 2014 classes.

Here's a list of recruits who are expected to be at the game Saturday. As the week goes on and we confirm more visitors (or those who change plans), we'll update the list.

  • 2013 WR Quincy Adeboyejo, Cedar Hill (Texas): No. 77 WR; Texas A&M commit
  • 2014 OLB Gyasi Akem, Broken Arrow (Okla.): (Arkansas State offer)

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A&M OT pledge done with recruitment 

October, 2, 2012
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DALLAS – Offensive tackle J.J. Gustafson (Dallas/Jesuit) had no other way to put it after Jesuit’s 56-24 home loss to Dallas Skyline on Friday.

“It sucked,” he said.

The Texas A&M commit was confident his Rangers could avenge last year’s 54-7 blowout loss to Skyline. Through most of the first half that seemed possible, with Jesuit hanging close at 14-14.


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Visitors for Texas A&M-Florida 

September, 4, 2012
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Plenty of eyes from around the country will be on College Station, Texas on Saturday afternoon as Texas A&M begins its first Southeastern Conference campaign against Florida.

Not only is the game of interest to college football fans, it's also going to be a hot spot for recruits who will be visiting Kyle Field and taking in the game.

Here's a list of recruits that are expected to be in attendance for the game on Saturday. As the week goes on and we confirm more visitors, we'll update the list. So far, here's who has been confirmed by RecruitingNation:

  • 2013 WR Quincy Adeboyejo, Cedar Hill (Texas): No. 77 WR; Texas A&M commit
  • 2013 OG Joas Aguilar, North Richland Hills (Texas) Birdville: No. 106 in ESPN 150; Texas A&M commit

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Current and future: Offensive line 

July, 31, 2012
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As fall practice and the 2012 season approaches, GigEmNation will take a look at where the Aggies stand currently and in the future at each position group. Today, we glance at the offensive line:

Current starters: Jarvis Harrison, Luke Joeckel, Patrick Lewis, Jake Matthews, Cedric Ogbuehi
[+] EnlargeTexas A&M's Jacke Joeckel
Mark J. Rebilas/US PRESSWIRETackle Luke Joeckel will anchor A&M's offensive line, which could be one of the best in the country.

This crop should be among the strongest starting offensive lines nationally, particularly at tackle with the combination of Joeckel and Matthews, a pair of future NFL draft picks. All five have starting experience and only one (Lewis) is a senior. The quintet has started a combined 92 games, with Lewis leading the way (35 consecutive starts). Ogbuehi had a good redshirt freshman season at right guard but missed some time because of injuries. Harrison started five games as a redshirt freshman last year, four of which came in place of an injured Ogbuehi.

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