Texas A&M Aggies: Jonathan Wiggins

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas A&M’s defense struggled across the board in 2013, and the Aggies can use all the help, and depth, they can get in order to improve in 2014.

That is probably more true at safety than any other position. It’s a spot the Aggies have found challenges when trying to maintain or add talent and depth, with the latest hurdle coming recently as spring practice opened.

The loss of safety Kameron Miles, whom the Aggies announced officially on Thursday had been dismissed from the team for unspecified reasons, isn’t cause for panic because as head coach Kevin Sumlin pointed out, Miles didn’t see the field at all last season.

[+] EnlargeClay Honeycutt
Juan DeLeon/Icon SMIClay Honeycutt is one of the returning players Texas A&M hopes will fill the open safety positions.
But it is cause for concern at position of need for the Aggies. This is one of the biggest challenges facing new Texas A&M secondary coach Terry Joseph this spring.

Safety is certainly a position where they need to see on-field improvement, both from the 2013 contributors who are returning this season (Clay Honeycutt, Howard Matthews and Floyd Raven) and the new bodies that could step in.

So while Miles -- an ESPN 300 recruit who signed in the 2013 class -- didn’t play (he redshirted after missing all of preseason training camp recovering from a knee injury), he certainly was a candidate to do so this season. Losing him is impactful, especially considering his potential and the rough end to Class of 2014 recruiting at the position.

Texas A&M had an ESPN 300 safety committed to them for months in Dylan Sumner-Gardner, but he switched his commitment to Boise State in early January after former secondary coach Marcel Yates left his post in Aggieland to accept the defensive coordinator position at Boise State. Even before Sumner-Gardner’s switch, the Aggies were still trying to add another safety to the 2014 recruiting class.

The loss made finding a safety even more urgent in the class. The Aggies long recruited ESPN 300 safety Steven Parker II (who signed with Oklahoma) and made a late run at ESPN 300 safety Mattrell McGraw (who signed with Oregon), not to mention other ESPN 300 prospects whom they recruited earlier in the process but decided on other programs.

The Aggies were able to land a safety late in the 2014 recruiting cycle when three-star athlete Donovan Wilson (Shreveport, La./Woodlawn) committed four days before national signing day and inked a letter of intent with the Aggies. He will enroll at Texas A&M for the fall semester, but whether he will be able to have an impact this fall is unknown until he arrives on campus.

Texas A&M has commitments from two elite safeties in the 2015 recruiting class in ESPN Junior 300 prospects Justin Dunning and Larry Pryor Jr., but that has no bearing on this fall.

What is known is that the Aggies need the three who played the most last season to improve and for others to contribute. One name Sumlin mentioned on Thursday was junior safety Devonta Burns, a 6-foot, 214-pounder who contributed mostly on special teams last season.

“Devonta Burns is having a really, really good camp,” Sumlin said. “He’s been around here a long time and really was a good special teams player for us from game three, four, five, on. It’s about time for him to start showing up and he has. You’ve got three guys back there [Honeycutt, Matthews and Raven] who have played a lot, not always well, but have played and are experienced and need to step up. I think Devonta is right in the mix with the other three guys.”

The Aggies also have the services of 6-3, 213-pound sophomore Jonathan Wiggins, a 2013 signee who saw most of his time on special teams last season. Beyond him, the options consist of mostly walk-ons such as Sam Moeller (last year’s 12th Man) or perhaps even someone like Shane Huhn, a transfer from UTEP who sat out last season per NCAA transfer rules.

Another potential option is using the secondary’s best player, senior cornerback Deshazor Everett, at safety. Everett has flip-flopped between cornerback and safety before, including on certain occasions last season when the Aggies needed the help. However, it appears that Everett is working exclusively at cornerback, and Sumlin said he doesn’t anticipate that changing, at least “Not right now.”

Everett said last week that he has seen improvement from the safety returnees, especially Matthews.

“He’s a different player now,” Everett said of Matthews. “He’s not lagging around or doing it his way. He’s playing hard, he’s going hard every play, he’s being vocal. That’s what we need at the back end from the safeties, because they have to communicate to everybody on the defense. He’s definitely changed.”

“Floyd is definitely understanding the defense more, and Clay has always been a smart player. With the new coaching change and the way we’re running it, it’s set up so that you can always make plays and always be in the right position, and that’s what we’re looking forward to.”

The Aggies’ secondary also have new blood in the form of Joseph, the former Nebraska secondary coach. The reviews for Joseph have been positive thus far, including from defensive coordinator Mark Snyder, who called Joseph a “technician” and “fundamentalist.”

Everett also has noticed his new position coach’s impact thus far.

“He’s a real vocal coach and he wants you to do it exactly the way he wants you to do it, and there’s no other way about it,” Everett said. “If you’re not going to do it his way, you’re not going to play, so you have to adjust to that and you have to go out there and do it his way.”

If Joseph has it his way, there will be more answers than questions at safety come August. Fortunately for the Aggies, three weeks remain in spring practice to find some.
Nebraska secondary coach Terry Joseph is weighing a move from Lincoln to Texas A&M, saying on Saturday that he had been offered a position to coach defensive backs for Kevin Sumlin.

Formerly the secondary coach and recruiting coordinator at Tennesssee, Joseph came to Nebraska before the 2012 season. He told the Lincoln (Neb.) Journal-Star that he needed to speak with Nebraska coach Bo Pelini after the visit this weekend to College Station.

“They offered me the job,” Joseph said to the newspaper. "It’s a lot of money, but I told Bo I would come back and talk to him before I took the job.

[+] Enlarge Stanley Jean-Baptiste
Bruce Thorson/USA TODAY SportsSenior CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste was part of a dramatically improved secondary under assistant coach Terry Joseph.
“Now, if you say, ‘It’s a lot of money and Nebraska isn’t going to match it?’ Then, yeah, it’s a done deal, because that’s what it comes down to, getting my contract extended and me getting a lot of money.”

How's that for a money quote?

Joseph earned $245,000 at Nebraska this year as part of a group that ranks third in the Big Ten in coaching staff pay. Former A&M secondary coach and co-defensive coordinator Marcel Yates, who left recently for Boise State, earned $308,200 on Sumlin’s staff.

Mitch Sherman, who covers Nebraska for ESPN.com, and A&M reporter Sam Khan discuss the situation:

How significant would the loss of Joseph rate for Nebraska?

Sherman: It’s a big deal. Under Joseph in two years, Nebraska ranked fourth nationally in opponent completion percentage. In 2012, it led the nation in that category. And in 2013, the Huskers ranked seventh in opponent third-down conversion rate in large part because of the work of his defensive backs. Cornerbacks Ciante Evans and Stanley Jean-Baptiste improved considerably under Joseph in addition to safety Corey Cooper, who developed into one of the Huskers’ top tacklers this year. In the Huskers’ TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl win over Georgia, cornerback Josh Mitchell intercepted a pass and recovered a fumbled punt return. And young players like LeRoy Alexander have shown signs of growth under Joseph’s watch. His secondary, over two years, easily rates as the most consistent area of a Nebraska defense that has undergone a transformation. Without him, the task to replace Evans and Jean-Baptiste turns much more complex.

Would the addition of Joseph rank as a big score for Sumlin and the Aggies?

Khan: Definitely. The secondary is an area that still needs improvement for the Aggies (all you had to do was watch the Chick-fil-A Bowl to figure that out), and the sooner the Aggies fill the void left by Yates, the better. But aside from on-field coaching, Sumlin puts a priority on guys who can recruit. Joseph clearly can. His background as a high school coach and a college assistant in the state of Louisiana is attractive to Sumlin and the Aggies because that's a state in which they're continuing to grow a presence. Several key defensive starters hail from "The Boot," and the Aggies are trying to go toe to toe with LSU and recently won a key battle in nabbing five-star athlete Speedy Noil. Joseph can likely help the Aggies efforts in recruiting that state.

How else has Joseph impacted Nebraska?

Sherman: He’s one of the Huskers’ top recruiters, landing prospects such as tight end Cethan Carter, defensive back Boaz Joseph and receiver Tre'Vell Dixon a year ago. Joseph helped land athlete Jaevon Walton and defensive backs Joshua Kalu and Trai Mosley in the unsigned 2014 class. His connections run deep in fertile Louisiana, where Joseph played baseball at Northwestern State and coached football in the high school ranks before a stint as the secondary coach at Louisiana Tech.

What would Joseph have to work with in Aggieland?

Khan: There's some depth in the defensive backfield at cornerback with starters Deshazor Everett and De'Vante Harris set to return in 2014. Behind those two are several young corners that were part of a large 2013 recruiting class haul, including Noel Ellis, Tavares Garner and Alex Sezer, all of whom saw playing time on either defense or special teams as true freshmen this season. Safety is another story. The Aggies do have returnees back there in Howard Matthews, Floyd Raven and Clay Honeycutt, but all of them struggled last season. Freshman Kameron Miles, who injured his knee in training camp and redshirted and 6-foot-3 freshman Jonathan Wiggins, who played in nine games mostly on special teams, should be ready to contribute come next season.

What would his absence mean for Nebraska?

Sherman: While never good to lose a coach in a lateral move, Sumlin is offering money the Huskers just may not want to match. Pelini is well connected and should find a solid replacement. But Joseph’s departure, inevitably, would raise questions about the staffers’ confidence in the stability at Nebraska after Pelini received a stay from the school’s administration at the close of a rocky regular season.

What would his impact mean at Texas A&M?

Khan: He would be a quality addition to the coaching staff and fulfills the requirements Sumlin looks for in assistants: someone who can be both a good on-field coach and a presence in recruiting. He has worked in the SEC and has a solid overall resume, so he should be a solid fit in Aggieland.
Deshazor Everett Thomas B. Shea/Getty ImagesTexas A&M's willingness to use starters such as safety Deshazor Everett (right) on special teams has allowed the Aggies to have one of the best units in the SEC.
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — When Alabama receiver and return specialist Christion Jones carried the ball out of the end zone on the Crimson Tide's first kickoff return against Texas A&M on Sept. 14, he was quickly faced with a host of defenders.

The first Aggie to make contact was cornerback Tramain Jacobs. Defensive back Toney Hurd Jr. followed him by wrapping up Jones for a tackle. If Hurd would have been unable to wrap him up, cornerback Deshazor Everett was nearby, and so was linebacker Steven Jenkins.

The common thread among the above names? They're all either regular starters or players who have started before for the Aggies.

Special teams -- kickoff and punt coverage units in particular -- are a place where many non-starters find their homes, and Texas A&M is no different. But the Aggies' coaching staff is also liberal about using its best players when the need arises.

The Alabama game was a prime example. With the threat of a return man such as Jones, who returned a punt and a kickoff for a touchdown in the Crimson Tide's season-opening win against Virginia Tech, Texas A&M special teams coordinator Jeff Banks wanted to ensure he had the best players available to prevent Jones from making a game-breaking play. The Aggies got the desired result, as Jones finished with 83 yards on four kickoff returns and just 5 yards on his one punt return.

"We're always going to use the best players," Banks said. "Coach Sumlin's an advocate of 'Jeff, you just tell me who you need and who you want and that's how we're going to do things.'"

Banks said offensive coordinator Clarence McKinney, defensive coordinator Mark Snyder or any of the other A&M assistants also have no qualms about the policy. Since he has been at Texas A&M, Banks said not one coach has said a word about who he can use or not use on special teams, whether it's in the return game or punt or kick coverage.

That luxury is something Banks, who is in his first year in Aggieland, hasn't always had in his career as a special teams coach.

"Usually you get a deal where it's 'Hey, take that guy off of there,' or 'Hey, don't use that guy,'" Banks said. "And here's my deal with that: That's fine. Because I try to be as flexible as I can because we're dealing with 60-80 people and players that have to go in and out, seniors, veterans, juniors, sophomores, freshmen, true freshmen, you've got to coach what you can get and get the best on the field.

"But you also have to be careful because if you practice them in training camp for 30 days and then you get them in the first week and someone says 'Oh no, he can't play on that many special teams,' now you're playing a guy with no experience.'"

So the planning has to begin in August when preseason training camp starts. Banks tries to get a feel for which newcomers have the size, speed or physicality to contribute, and the first week of camp is largely spent trying out numerous players in different roles to get a feel for who he can rely on. The rest of training camp is about getting those that are going to make his two-deep on special teams as many repetitions as possible so that he's comfortable with who is out there come the start of the season.

Playing offensive and defensive starters is nothing new for a Sumlin-coached team. It was something done regularly at Houston when he was there. One of the Cougars' special teams aces in their 12-1 season in 2011 was running back Michael Hayes, who played a major role in the Cougars' backfield, but could regularly be seen making tackles in punt coverage.

That attitude has carried over to Texas A&M. McKinney, who also coaches running backs, made it clear to his position group in the spring of 2012 that they would be expected to contribute on special teams. Players accepted the challenge, and Ben Malena and Trey Williams became key players on special teams.

Malena eventually emerged as the starting running back for the Aggies last season and remains that this season but can be seen on the kickoff return team making blocks and last season spent time covering kicks and punts at times, too.

"You have to realize that special teams wins and loses games," Malena said. "You need the best players out there, whether you're a starter or just a special teams guy. If you're the best player at that position, we need you on the field to help us win. I just took that to heart and will do anything for my team to win."

The example set by players with that attitude has an effect on the younger players, many of whom have a role on special teams. Many true freshmen such as Darian Claiborne -- who started at linebacker last week -- linebacker Shaan Washington, safety Jonathan Wiggins and cornerbacks Alex Sezer and Tavares Garner are already playing key roles on coverage units, and the example set by their elders is important.

"It's huge," Banks said. "They see Ben in practice, they see Jenkins in practice, they see those guys doing special teams drills at a high level. Howard Matthews, De'Vante Harris, Floyd Raven when he was healthy. That's huge. That's bigger than anything I can say. When they go out there and they give us great effort as a staff, that sells it and now you get the buy-in of the younger guys."

Banks said it helps increase the desire for the younger players to contribute, particularly in high-profile games.

"You see the Alabama game and go 'Man, I want to be out there,'" Banks said. "Tavares Garner's a prime example. He gets substituted in for Deshazor Everett and he's like 'Man, I know Deshazor's a veteran guy and he's going to make the play, but I want to be in there.' Then he gets in there and makes a tackle."

There's a balance to be struck, however. Playing starters constantly on coverage teams can fatigue them, especially if they're playing a large amount of snaps on offense or defense. So Banks is conscious to employ the personnel wisely.

"You can't wear a guy out because a Deshazor Everett or a Toney Hurd is so good at everything, you can't overuse them and start them on four special teams and expect them to play 60-80 snaps on defense," Banks said. "There's kind of a responsibility on my end, because I've gotten the leeway from the head football coach and the coordinators to use whoever we want. I think it's really important that you don't take advantage of that deal either."

Complementing players such as Sam Moeller, who has been the Aggies' special teams player of the week twice already this season and doesn't have a major role on defense, with some of these starters are what help the Aggies find a mix that Banks and Sumlin hope lead to one them having one of the best special teams units in the SEC.

"With Coach Sumlin being as awesome as he is about letting us use whoever we need to in order to be the No. 1 team, special teams-wise, in the conference, I think we've got a good mix of him and I of making sure we have the right guys on there, but also give an opportunity to guys who maybe aren't starting on offense or defense," Banks said.
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Silence isn't a word typically synonymous with a stadium hosting more than 86,000 rabid fans, particularly at Kyle Field, where Texas A&M is known to hold a tremendous home-field advantage.

But silence is a key word in describing some of the growing pains the Aggies had to go through in their season-opening win against Rice on Saturday, as they played 16 true freshmen, 11 of which were defensive players.

A&M coach Kevin Sumlin illustrated that point thusly:

"We had a couple situations where a couple guys actually froze up out there and wouldn't even open their mouths and couldn't get lined up," Sumlin said after Saturday's 52-31 victory. "The D-line said they couldn't hear and then one of them admitted to me "Coach, I just didn't say anything. I was just standing there.'"

Not exactly what a coach is looking to hear from defensive players, particularly when facing a no-huddle offense. Communication, especially in those situations, is key for a defense.

[+] EnlargeRicky Seals-Jones
AP Photo/Eric GayFreshman wide receiver Ricky Seals-Jones made an impact in his college debut, hauling in a 71-yard touchdown pass.
But that was the position the Aggies were put in, missing eight players to start the game, six on defense -- including five defensive players who were listed as starters on the week's depth chart -- because of suspensions. There were true freshmen playing in every defensive position group, plus some at receiver. That doesn't include a handful of redshirt freshmen and junior college players who were making their debuts as well.

The Aggies coaches did what they could to prepare their newcomers, but some lessons are only learned the hard way.

"It's like anything else," Sumlin said. "As a coach, you try to prepare guys for all situations, but until the live bullets are flying, you don't know. It'll get better as it goes on, but I think the experience that we gained from today will help us down the road, a bunch. Particularly [in the front seven] because that's where most of the guys are gone."

The struggles were clear. As the defense tried to find its footing, Rice showed the ability to move the ball with ease. The Owls finished the game with 509 total offensive yards, including 306 rushing. The last time they gave up that many offensive yards was in their marathon battle against Louisiana Tech last October (615) and they haven't allowed that many rushing yards since a 66-28 drubbing at the hands of Oklahoma on Nov. 8, 2008.

True freshman played on the defensive line (Jay Arnold, Isaiah Golden, Daeshon Hall and Hardreck Walker), at linebacker (Darian Claiborne, Jordan Mastrogiovanni, Shaan Washington) and defensive back (Noel Ellis, Tavares Garner, Alex Sezer Jr. and Jonathan Wiggins).

"There's no way to duplicate the tempo and the emotion [of a game]," Sumlin said on Tuesday. "You know what you're doing, but the pressure to perform in that environment can be very, very difficult on a young guy, and that's what experience is all about."

Offensively, the Aggies were much better off. Even though Matt Joeckel made his first career start at quarterback, he's a junior who has spent more than a year practicing in the offense and he had at least seen some game time. Center Mike Matthews, who received high praise from Sumlin on Tuesday, also played in games and traveled with the team last season.

The true freshmen who saw the field for the first time on offense were all receivers: Ricky Seals-Jones, Jeremy Tabuyo, LaQuvionte Gonzalez and Ja'Quay Williams. But because there were more experienced players surrounding them on Saturday, not to mention Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel entered the game in the third quarter, the transition was smoother for the Aggies' offense.

In total, 21 newcomers saw the field for Texas A&M on Saturday, many in significant roles. Plenty will log significant time this Saturday against Sam Houston State, as four players received two-game suspensions and won't be back until Sept. 14 against Alabama. With a signing class of 31 players in February, there was no question the Aggies were going to need some of the newcomers to contribute. By being forced to play so many in the first game, Sumlin feels like it could be a positive later in the season.

"[It's] a real, real learning experience," Sumlin said. "I think for those guys, that's going to pay dividends for us down the road."
When it comes to defensive backs, the class of 2014 is a strong one in the Lone Star State.

And Texas A&M is doing quite a job locking down several as commitments, adding two more to their 2014 haul on Saturday in the form of ESPN Watch List safety Dylan Sumner-Gardner and Forney (Texas) North Forney athlete Armani Watts.

Position breakdown: Defensive backs 

February, 27, 2013
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Deshazor EverettAP Photo/Dave MartinDeshazor Everett's interception against Alabama will go down in A&M lore.

Having the same combination of players in the secondary from week to week wasn't a common occurrence for Texas A&M in 2012.

Whether it was an injury or simply trying fit the right pieces into the right places, the defensive backfield was an area where the Aggies moved a lot of pieces.

The unit had its ups and downs but returns plenty of experience for 2013.


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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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ESPN 300 DE Prevot flips to Oregon 

February, 6, 2013
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Torrodney PrevotSam Khan Jr./ESPNESPN 300 defensive end Torrodney Prevot pulled a bit of a surprise by announcing for Oregon on Wednesday. Prevot had been committed to USC and was considering Texas A&M.
HOUSTON -- For the last two weeks, ESPN 300 defensive end Torrodney Prevot has kept everyone guessing.

College coaches. The media. Even his own high school coaches and teammates. Prevot has been the silent star, at least when it came to his recruitment.

Wednesday, the silence was broken. Prevot is headed to Oregon.

The former USC commitment from Houston Alief Taylor ended his recruitment in dramatic fashion, announcing that he's signing with the Ducks in front of family, friends, coaches and teammates during a ceremony at Alief Taylor High School.

Prevot said that he changed his mind even today and that he considered signing with each of his three finalists: USC, where he has been committed since July, Texas A&M and Oregon.

"When I woke up this morning, I just kept praying," Prevot said. "I honestly didn't know what to do."

Prevot, who is the No. 236 player in the ESPN 300 and the 19th-ranked defensive end in the country, took an official visit to Oregon on the weekend of Jan. 18. His final visit was on the weekend of Jan. 25 to Texas A&M.

The four-star prospect was to visit Notre Dame on the final weekend before signing day, but canceled the trip. He had seen enough. Some thought Prevot would wind up with the Aggies, since that was his last visit. He was among those that thought that.

"Today I thought I was going to A&M," Prevot said. "Today I thought I was going to USC, today I thought I was going to Oregon."

It was an emotional day for Prevot, who had tears in his eyes after announcing his decision. He said that even as he walked down the hallway at Alief Taylor to the theatre, where the signing ceremony was taking place with four other teammates who were signing with BCS conference schools: Duke Ejiofor (Wake Forest), Trevorris Johnson (TCU), Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (Oklahoma) and Jonathan Wiggins (Texas A&M).

Even with the coaching change at Oregon, Prevot said he has confidence that things will be good in Eugene. He said he got a good vibe from fellow Ducks when he went on his official visit.

"Just the players and the people around me, I felt comfortable with them," Prevot said. "Bralon Addison, Chance Allen, I just felt comfortable with them. I felt like everything was right."

Prevot said he sat down with his family on Tuesday night and scored how he felt about several aspects of each of his three finalists, giving a three for the one he liked the best and a one for the least. At the end of tallying, all three schools were tied at 28.

In the end, Prevot said he wanted to be different and not follow a crowd.

"I don't like following a crowd because it's not cool," Prevot said. "I don't want to just be another guy in the crowd. I want to step away and be different."

“What is the impact of Prevot’s decision?”


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Coach's take: Jonathan Wiggins 

February, 4, 2013
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"Coach's take" is a series which allows GigEmNation to offer readers a closer look at the incoming recruits in Texas A&M's 2013 class by visiting with someone who coached the player or coached against him. Today, we take a look at Houston/Alief Taylor safety Jonathan Wiggins by visiting with his head coach, J.D. Jordan.


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Jonathan WigginsSam Khan Jr./ESPN.comBy signing day, nearly a year will have passed since Jonathan Wiggins committed to Texas A&M.

"Introducing the class" is a series in which GigEmNation conducts a Q&A session with each of the incoming recruits in Texas A&M's 2013 class to give readers a closer look at each recruit individually. Today, we visit with Houston/Alief Taylor safety Jonathan Wiggins.

Wiggins is a 6-foot-3, 200-pound safety who committed to Texas A&M early. He gave the Aggies his pledge on Feb. 19, 2012. A three-star prospect, Wiggins is ranked No. 33 nationally among safeties. He helped lead Alief Taylor to an 8-4 record and a second-round appearance in the Texas Class 5A Division I state playoffs, where it fell to eventual state finalist Houston/Lamar.

In 2012, Wiggins finished with 111 tackles (61 solo), six tackles for loss, nine pass breakups, seven forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Here's our Q&A with Wiggins, who completed his official visit to Texas A&M on Sunday:


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Torrodney PrevotTom Hauck for ESPN.comTexas A&M has a chance to impress in-state DE Torrodney Prevot who has been committed to USC since July.
There will be no shortage of recruits on the Texas A&M campus this weekend.

From longtime commits who are finally taking their official visits, to one visitor from the class of 2013 who is committed elsewhere and several notable members of the 2014 class.

One of the notable names that will visit is expected in town today: 2014 offensive tackle Braden Smith.

The ESPN Watch List prospect from Olathe (Kan.) South High School will be touring the campus today in advance of Mondo Challenge college track and field meet taking place on campus. Smith's sister, Megan, is a thrower for TCU which is competing in the event.


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With a crowd of more than 87,000 on hand, a national television crew in the house, ESPN's "College GameDay" providing buildup, and the anticipation for Texas A&M's first Southeastern Conference game, Saturday's season opener was a memorable moment for many Aggies.

It seems the same can be said for the recruits in attendance, many of whom were wowed by the scene in College Station, Texas, that day, despite A&M's 20-17 loss to Florida.

[+] EnlargeShaun Nixon
Max Olson/ESPN.comClass of 2014 running back Shaun Nixon said he 'felt like putting pads on' during his trip to Texas A&M.
One 2014 running back was so enamored that he nearly committed to the Aggies right on the spot.

"I talked to [running backs] coach [Clarence] McKinney before the game and he was all stoked to see me," said Austin (Texas) Lake Travis running back Shaun Nixon. "He was like 'When you going to commit?' He said 'I don't even have to say anything. Just wait until the game starts.' Sure enough, the game started and right then and there, I felt like I should commit.

"But then I texted my coaches and got their opinion and everything and they said, 'You should just wait it out and see how things go.' "

While Nixon didn't pledge before leaving Aggieland, he did leave feeling good about the Aggies and his relationship with McKinney and the staff.

"That was my first [A&M] game," Nixon said. "All I can say is that the fans were crazy, the players were crazy, everyone was pumped up. That's the moment that I'll never forget. My first A&M game against Florida, and I can't wait to go back and see another one.

"I felt like putting pads on and going out there and playing against [the Gators]."

Nixon has five offers, with Baylor, Clemson, SMU and Texas Tech joining Texas A&M on the list. Is it safe to say that the Aggies have the edge after Nixon's recent visit?

"Yeah, I would say that," Nixon said. "Right now, all my schools are equal. Texas A&M, I just have a better relationship with everybody there. I've talked to them the most. I would say Clemson would come next because I've been talking to Coach [Chad] Morris a lot. I really can't rank them right now. They're all great schools."

Nixon took in Baylor's season opener against SMU and enjoyed it and said he may try to get to a Clemson game before the season is over. As for A&M, he said the Aggies have given him plenty of attention.

"You know after they offered me they kept continuing to show up and letting me know that they want me to come play," Nixon said. "I've got a bunch of letters from them. They're showing a lot of love and showing that I could be a potential starter when I get there. It's been great."

Prevot still USC solid, but listening to Aggies
Texas A&M hosted 20 of its 28 commitments in the 2013 class for the Florida game. But the Aggies also hosted some uncommitted 2013 and 2014 players and even a couple of committed players, including 2013 Houston Alief Taylor defensive end Torrodney Prevot, who is committed to USC.

Prevot joined Alief Taylor teammates Jonathan Wiggins (2013 Texas A&M commit) and Chris Hardeman (2014 LSU commit) for the trip and said he enjoyed his time in College Station.

"Just the whole entire game and the entire experience," Prevot said. "I was just walking and I saw A&M fans and they were like 'Oh, that's Torrodney Prevot,' and stuff like that. So that was pretty cool just to know that they know me and stuff like that and they're following me."

And the Aggies haven't given up on recruiting Prevot. While he says he's still 100 percent to USC, there's a part of him that's listening to Texas A&M.

"It feels pretty good to know that they're still recruiting me even though I'm committed with the USC Trojans," Prevot said. "It's good to see that they're not giving up. I'm pretty much sold on USC right now, but I'm listening. I'm sold, 100 percent [on USC], but then I hear the little voice just talking on my shoulder."

Prevot is being recruited by Texas A&M recruiting coordinator and running backs coach Clarence McKinney. Prevot said the new feel around the program, with the new coaching staff and offensive and defensive schemes, has his attention.

"Probably just the opportunities that are coming up," Prevot said. "They're basically just starting a new program. That's really another thing to listen to."

But Prevot said he is still keeping in regular contact with the USC coaches and still feels good about the Trojans.

"We're pretty close," Prevot said. "I've been talking to a lot of my teammates and we're all trying to get down there for the Oregon game. We're all going to be down there just chilling. I keep in contact with the coaches and stuff and we're really building a relationship, so I'm going to stick with them."

Wiggins, Hardeman enjoy trip
Wiggins and Hardeman were in College Station with Prevot taking in the Texas A&M-Florida game.

Wiggins, who has been to several Texas A&M games, said it was good to see such strong representation from the 2013 class of commitments.


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Visitors for Texas A&M-Florida 

September, 4, 2012
9/04/12
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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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Jonathan WigginsSam Khan Jr./ESPN.comTexas A&M commitment Jonathan Wiggins is looking forward to the upcoming season and to being an Aggie, as he is solid to Texas A&M.
HOUSTON -- Injuries haven't been kind to safety Jonathan Wiggins (Houston/Alief Taylor).

He missed significant time in 2011 with a foot injury and missed spring football with a high ankle sprain. But the 6-foot-2, 195-pound Wiggins has been working this summer to prepare for the fall grind.

"I've just been working on getting back to 100 percent," Wiggins said after a recent practice with his team. "Just bonding with my team and getting all that team chemistry back."

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HOUSTON -- Not much has changed for Reggie Chevis since he pledged to Texas A&M.

The Houston/Sharpstown linebacker has been working out, preparing for the 2012 season and keeping in regular communication with the two Aggies coaches that recruited him: running backs coach Clarence McKinney and linebackers coach Matt Wallerstedt.

"I talk to my recruiting coach and position coach every day or every other day," Chevis said. "I'm very close to them and I have a good relationship with those guys."

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