Texas A&M Aggies: Keaton Sutherland

If you follow Texas A&M recruiting via social media, you've probably seen the hashtag by now.

#WRTS

Four letters that have become the rallying cry of Aggie recruits, coaches and fans alike. Their meaning? "We run this state."

That's the way the Aggies feel right now when it comes to the state of Texas A&M recruiting, and considering the recruiting prowess they've shown during the Kevin Sumlin era, and particularly this recruiting cycle, it's difficult to debate that point.

A state once ruled in recruiting by Texas and coach Mack Brown in the mid-2000s has seen the balance of power shift roughly 100 miles eastward to College Station, Texas. In the Longhorns' heyday, it seemed as if they could land any in-state prospect they wished and right now, it almost seems as if the Aggies are enjoying that fortune themselves.

This week has illustrated that to a certain extent. Thursday was a big day for the Aggies as they landed two prospects out of Texas high school football power Cedar Hill High School: ESPN 300 receiver DaMarkus Lodge and outside linebacker Richard Moore.

Earlier this week, the Aggies also scored pledges from four-star offensive tackle Keaton Sutherland and three-star linebacker Landis Durham. That's not to mention that earlier this month, they landed four-star defensive tackle Kingsley Keke and last month received a commitment from ESPN 300 WR Kemah Siverand and perhaps their most impactful recruit of the cycle, five-star quarterback Kyler Murray.

Texas A&M is on quite the recruiting roll.

The Aggies' class, which is ranked No. 3 in the ESPN Recruiting Nation class rankings, holds 17 commitments, nine of whom are in the ESPN 300, and the class has 13 prospects with four-star-or-higher ratings. The Aggies hold commitments from the Lone Star State's No. 1 quarterback (Murray), receiver (Lodge), tight end (Jordan Davis) and defensive tackle (five-star prospect Daylon Mack).

Two of the state's top three players are committed to the Aggies and three of the top eight. And when it's all said and done, the Aggies could finish with four of the top five and five of the top 10 in Texas if their pursuit of cornerback Kendall Sheffield and linebacker Malik Jefferson falls their way. Neither has plans to announce his destination anytime soon, but the Aggies are strong players for both, and if that were to happen, the Aggies would lay claim to the state's top player at six different positions.


That would be a rough fate for the Aggies' chief recruiting rival (though no longer on-field rival) Texas and new coach Charlie Strong, who is already feeling the effects of A&M's success. But in reality, this isn't about Texas for the Aggies. It's about building a team and program that can compete and succeed long term in what many consider to be the country's toughest conference, the SEC.

With the Lone Star State being such fertile recruiting ground, the competition for talent will always be fierce. Whether it's Texas, a surging Baylor program that is reaching unprecedented success under Art Briles, a young, energetic, charismatic staff led by Kliff Kingsbury at Texas Tech, TCU's presence in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex or staving off out-of-state schools such as Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and other national powers, it's impossible to get every prospect desired from the large pool of talent Texas provides. But snagging most of the desired prospects bodes well for the future.

Texas A&M must continue to produce on-field success this fall -- let's not forget, the Aggies' 20-6 run in their first two seasons as SEC members and the visibility provided by having a Heisman Trophy winner are significant factors why the Aggies are such an attractive option to recruits right now. And teenagers can be fickle, making recruiting an unpredictable roller coaster until pen meets paper on the first Wednesday in February.

But if the Aggies can hang on to the high-level prospects they've already gained pledges from and continue recruiting at their current pace, the effects could be felt well beyond the state's borders, throughout SEC country and across the nation in years to come.
video
The commits just keep on coming for Texas A&M.

After receiving big news earlier Thursday that they landed ESPN 300 receiver DaMarkus Lodge, the Aggies capped the afternoon with a second commitment as Lodge's teammate at Cedar Hill (Texas) High, outside linebacker Richard Moore, will join him in Aggieland.

video The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today’s offerings: Notre Dame’s recruiting efforts for 2015 suffered a major setback when ESPN 300 quarterback Blake Barnett decommitted. So where do the Irish turn now at the quarterback spot? Plus, could Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas’ loss be Arkansas’ gain?


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Editor's note: This is the second part in a weeklong series of predictions for Texas A&M spring football practice, which begins on Friday.

Texas A&M will have roughly the next six weeks to get better on the field during spring football practice.

But the Aggies will also utilize this time to ensure they continue to improve their talent level in future years. Where the 2014 recruiting class left off, the 2015 recruiting class has picked up. Spring practice is a time to improve the current team, but it's also an important time for the future of the Aggies.

And if the last month is any indication, the Aggies will continue their positive recruiting momentum in the coming weeks.

Texas A&M is coming off a successful junior day on Sunday, its second in the 2015 cycle. The event drew several elite visitors, including ESPN Junior 300 prospects DaMarkus Lodge, Derrick Dillon, Xavier Lewis and Holton Hill. The Aggies landed a commitment from three-star prospect Deshawn Capers-Smith on Sunday and extended offers to several prospects, including Dillon, offensive tackle Keaton Sutherland, and 2017 wunderkind and LSU commit Dylan Moses.

With eight commitments in the 2015 class, seven of which are ESPN 300 prospects, the Aggies are having a strong showing on the recruiting trail.

When spring practice begins on Friday, Texas A&M is hoping to build buzz off of something it did last year. The Aggies' spring debut will be accompanied by Texas disc jockey DJ Double R, who performed live at the Aggies' "Friday Night Lights" scrimmage last April.



That night the Aggies hosted dozens of recruits, several of which they would eventually land commitments from. Among those who eventually committed to Texas A&M were 2014 ESPN 300 linebacker Otaro Alaka, 2015 ESPN Junior 300 running back Rodney Anderson Jr., 2014 ESPN 300 defensive end Myles Garrett, 2014 defensive end Jarrett Johnson and 2014 ESPN 300 safety Dylan Sumner-Gardner, though Sumner-Gardner eventually decommitted and signed with Boise State.

The effect of having a live DJ spinning tunes from the Aggies' equipment truck created a buzzworthy atmosphere at Kyle Field that had recruits talking and certainly helped their efforts in landing some big-name recruits. If that buzz can be created again, it would be a positive for head coach Kevin Sumlin and his staff.

The Aggies could land their next 2015 commitment in the near future. Texas offensive line commitment Connor Lanfear visited Texas A&M for the Aggies' first junior day in January and will make a return visit on Friday for the Aggies' first spring practice. Though he recently attended Texas' junior day, Texas A&M appears in good position of possibly flipping Lanfear's commitment to the maroon and white with his affinity for the SEC, noting that A&M's league membership is a "large pull" for him. He even said his high school classmates at Buda (Texas) Hays Consolidated are asking quite a bit about the Aggies.

“I’ve got a lot of pressure from everyone all over the school," the three-star offensive tackle said. "They’re pressuring me a little bit. 'That maroon looks pretty good on you,’ stuff like that. Everyone is talking about it at Hays, that's the talk right now: 'Where are you going?'"

As spring football progresses, the Aggies will have numerous opportunities to host recruits for unofficial visits. Don't be surprised to see them capitalize on some of those chances to continue to build what is shaping up to be a strong 2015 recruiting class.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Blue Chip Battles: ESPN 300 Update
National recruiting reporter Jeremy Crabtree breaks down the top three recruiting tugs-of-war for uncommitted four- and five-star recruits.
VIDEO PLAYLIST video

SEC SCOREBOARD

Thursday, 8/28
Saturday, 8/30
Sunday, 8/31