Texas A&M Aggies: Justin Dunning

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There are those who believe the rivalry between Texas and Texas A&M is dead because the two programs are no longer in the same conference.

[+] EnlargeKendall Sheffield
Sam Khan Jr./ESPNTexas and Texas A&M are both after Kendall Sheffield, the No. 2 CB in the nation.
Those people are misguided. And emphatically incorrect.

Two words in February by new Texas head coach Charlie Strong helped light a new spark in the rivalry between two of the most respected programs in the Lone Star State. When asked about A&M’s recruiting methods -- which includes coach Kevin Sumlin making player visits in a helicopter dubbed the “Swagcopter” -- Strong said the Longhorns didn’t need to be a “gadget program,” as the university and its prestige still was enough to attract recruits.

The rest of the spring and the upcoming summer will be perfect opportunities to gauge where both programs stand among some of the elite athletes who are still uncommitted. Which school will dominate in recruiting the 2015 class?

Dallas NFTC notebook 

April, 5, 2014
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DeSOTO, Texas -- Rain flirted with the Dallas Nike Football Training Camp on Saturday, but held off long enough for seven athletes to earn invitations to The Opening this summer.

Quarterback Kyler Murray, linebacker Malik Jefferson, wide receiver DaMarkus Lodge, offensive lineman Patrick Vahe (Texas commit) and defensive backs Justin Dunning (Texas A&M commit), Will Sunderland Jr and P.J. Mbanasor. all earned golden tickets after stellar performances at DeSoto High School. Murray, Jefferson, Lodge, Vahe and Sunderland were named camp MVPs of their respective positions.


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ESPN Junior 300 safety Larry Pryor Jr. (Sulphur Springs, Texas/Sulphur Springs) has had a favorite for quite some time. All he needed was the offer.

When Pryor picked up an offer from Texas A&M last weekend, it wasn’t a matter of if he would commit to the Aggies, but when would it happen.

Thursday evening, the No. 91 player in the ESPN Junior 300 made it official, verbally committing to Kevin Sumlin and the Aggies to become the program’s seventh commit of the 2015 class. Pryor chose Texas A&M over offers from Texas, Baylor, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Arkansas and several other programs.


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Shifting power: Texas 

January, 23, 2014
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Texas A&M has gone through and overcome a major case of the “you can’ts.”

You can’t leave the Big 12 and compete in the SEC.

You can’t win with Kevin Sumlin, a coach off a successful stint at Houston in mid-major conference play.

You can’t outrecruit your archrival Texas. You can’t win. Period.

For every negative critique, Texas A&M has managed to silence the doubters. With everything positive that’s happened with the Aggies the last two seasons, this year’s recruiting class may be the biggest accolade next to winning back-to-back bowl games under Sumlin. With 21 commits – including 10 ESPN 300 players -- Texas A&M has the No. 2 recruiting class in the nation, just behind Alabama.


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Terry Joseph is leaving Nebraska to join the Texas A&M coaching staff.

Joseph spent two seasons under Bo Pelini as the secondary coach, helping the Huskers rank fourth nationally over that time in opponent pass-completion percentage.

Two sources close to the situation confirmed the move.

Nebraska cornerbacks Josh Mitchell and Daniel Davie thanked Joseph on Twitter after learning from the coach of his decision. Also on Twitter, A&M recruit Justin Dunning, a safety from Whitehouse, Texas, applauded Joseph’s hiring.

At Texas A&M he will replace Marcel Yates, the co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach who left recently for Boise State.

Joseph interviewed with A&M coach Kevin Sumlin on Saturday and told the Lincoln (Neb.) Journal-Star that he was offered “a lot of money” but that he needed to confer with Pelini before finalizing the decision.

Joseph earned $245,000 at Nebraska in his final year. Yates was paid $308,200 at A&M.

A Louisiana native, Joseph coached high school football in the state and played baseball at Northwestern (La.) State before coaching stops at Louisiana Tech and Tennessee.

He’s known as a strong recruiter. This change moves him closer to area with which he is familiar.

His departure leaves Nebraska to search for its fourth secondary coach in five years.

Aggies nab ESPN Junior 300 DB 

November, 10, 2013
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So many people were assuming that Justin Dunning (Whitehouse, Texas/Whitehouse) would make the SEC his home because he would follow one of his close friends on the gridiron.

True, the ESPN Junior 300 safety liked SEC football, and true, he decided to play in the SEC. To say that a friendship ultimately proved to be the deciding factor, however, was slightly misleading.

Nevertheless, Dunning on Sunday ended his recruiting process with a verbal commitment to Texas A&M. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound safety, ranked No. 127 in the ESPN Junior 300, became the fifth member of the Aggies’ 2015 recruiting class. Dunning was in College Station, Texas, over the weekend for Texas A&M’s final home game of the year against Mississippi State.

He revealed why he made the choice.


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Summer recruit wrap: Texas A&M 

July, 23, 2013
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Texas A&M's final one-day camp of the year wrapped up on Sunday and the start of fall practice is fewer than two weeks away for the Aggies. The summer has been a busy one on many fronts, but here's a look at five things we learned on the recruiting front about Texas A&M this summer:

1. The Aggies got their quarterback


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LEANDER, Texas -- Take one look at 2015 ESPN 300 safety Justin Dunning on the football field, notice his size and build, and it's natural to peg him at the position he currently plays or even at linebacker, a position he could grow into in the years to come.

But while with his Whitehouse (Texas) High School teammates at the Texas state 7-on-7 championships last week, the 6-foot-3, 195-pound Dunning showed another set of skills that he has, doing it in an impressive manner.


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With the unveiling of the inaugural 2015 ESPN 300 on Tuesday, there are several names on the list that are desired by Texas A&M. One player the Aggies already landed and they're hard at work trying to get many of the below names on board. Here's a look at A&M's 2015 commit and top targets in the ESPN 300.

1. TE Jordan Davis (Houston/Clear Lake)
6-foot-4, 247 pounds
ESPN 300 rank: 219


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The RN Top 10 will appear throughout the camp and combine season and rank prospects based strictly on their on-field performance at that particular event. It does not reflect their overall prospect rankings.

LEANDER, Texas -- The annual Texas state 7-on-7 championships featured nearly 50 Division-I commits and 10 members of the ESPN 300, so finding 10 standouts for the week was not a difficult task.

Lots of big-name recruits were left off this top 10, and some surprise names snuck into the list thanks to big-time performances during the three-day event.

10. Del’Michael High

Mesquite (Texas) Horn | WR | 6-foot-2, 180 pounds

Teammate Jarrison Stewart has received more interest from recruiters, but it was High who impressed us more at state. He’s a big-bodied target who caught nearly everything thrown his way and was the go-to guy on one of the better offenses in the tournament. High is not receiving much recruiting interest, but there’s no doubt he’s got talent.


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Texas A&M held its second one-day camp of the month on Sunday at the Coolidge Grass Practice Fields in College Station, Texas and there was plenty of action during -- and after -- the camp when it came to recruiting. Among the highlights:

Aggies offer 2014 OT

La Grange (Texas) High School offensive tackle Zachary Ledwik has seen his recruiting stock skyrocket recently. A week ago, Texas offered the 6-foot-5 prospect and on Sunday, Texas A&M became the latest team to offer Ledwik. He weighed in at 273 pounds and with a handful of power conference offers already (Arizona State, Baylor, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Oregon State and Texas Tech are the others), he's finding that his decision will be a difficult one. Ledwik will return to Texas today for a visit and after that's complete, he said he plans to schedule an unofficial visit to return to Texas A&M.


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The self-dubbed "Fab Five" of East Texas 2015 recruits won't be all together this weekend but three of them will be and they'll be visiting Texas A&M.


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Every Wednesday, Sam Khan Jr. will take a quick-hit look at some of the top recruits and storylines facing Texas A&M recruiting for the week.


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Every Wednesday, Sam Khan Jr. will take a quick-hit look at some of the top recruits and storylines facing Texas A&M recruiting for the week.


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TYLER, Texas -- East Texas often is considered one of the nation’s most underrated areas in finding elite talent when it comes to college football recruiting. Sunday featured the inaugural East Texas Sports Network combine, which showcased more than 100 players from East Texas.

The event took place at the Accelerate Performance Enhancement Center (APEC) training facility, which has trained professionals such as quarterback Graham Harrell, running back Kendall Hunter and pro baseball pitchers Phillip Humber and Josh Tomlin.


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National recruiting reporter Jeremy Crabtree breaks down the top three recruiting tugs-of-war for uncommitted four- and five-star recruits.
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