Texas A&M Aggies: Shane Tripucka

Position breakdown: Special teams 

February, 28, 2013
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While there was one area where inconsistency reigned, special teams overall were solid for Texas A&M in 2012.

The kick and punt coverage units were good, and the Aggies were solid in the return game, particularly on punt returns. Punting was an area where the Aggies were solid as well.

Chat wrap: Who fills Moore's shoes?

February, 8, 2013
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GigEmNation writer Sam Khan Jr. chatted with readers on Friday about Texas A&M football and recruiting. Here's the full transcript of the chat. Topics covered included Johnny Manziel, 2013 recruits that could have instant impacts and the future outlook, both in recruiting and on the field. Here's an excerpt from Friday's chat:

Mike (Sarasota): Sam, Although no one could truly fill those shoes, which of the incoming recruits do you see filling in the best for Damonsta Moore.
Sam Khan Jr.: I don't expect someone will be able to fill that production in 2013, but long term, Daeshon Hall has the kind of athleticism and body that makes me believe that he can eventually have that kind of impact.

Payton (Katy, TX (Title Town)): Hey Sam,What is your impression with the way Sumlin has re-staffed his coaches? We lost a few class guys, but I think picked up some great recruiters and very respectable coaches.
Sam Khan Jr.: Payton, I loved the hire of Jake Spavital. It's someone who he has worked with before, knows the style of offense the Aggies use and is young and energetic. Plus he can recruit. I'm hearing great things about Jeff Banks, the new special teams coach. He was a former punter himself and got two nice specialists as preferred walk-ons (Shane Tripucka, the Under Armour All-American punter) and Cody Wicker, a kicker from Dallas Jesuit. And Mark Hagen came in as a proven recruiter from Indiana and has been a recruiting coordinator before. Clearly, Sumlin understands how important it is to bring in players.

Will (SA): Do you think the new rules to recruiting will help or hurt the A&M recruiting, after doing so well this year
Sam Khan Jr.: I think it remains to be seen how it affects everyone but the relaxed rules on contact I think are a plus for the Aggies because Sumlin hires a staff of guys that hustle. The assistants are workhorses and if you give them a chance to build better relationships through more contact, I think the Aggies will capitalize on it.
Under Armour All-American punter Shane Tripucka had several schools to choose from. But something about Texas A&M just felt right.

So on Thursday, he committed to the Aggies.

Shane Tripucka
Scott Drucker/IntersportThree-star punter Shane Tripucka will be a preferred walk-on at Texas A&M.
Tripucka, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound punter from Allen (Texas) High School, will join the Aggies as a preferred walk-on next season after informing head coach Kevin Sumlin and special teams coach Jeff Banks that he's A&M-bound.

"A&M, I talked to the coaches, I know they want me," Tripucka said. "They come down and see me, they call me all the time. It really felt like a good place to be....It feels like a great place to play football and a great choice for me."

Tripucka had a scholarship offer to Sam Houston State and had preferred walk-on opportunities to Texas, Texas Tech and Boston College.

Tripucka attended an A&M kicking camp over the summer and was originally recruited by former Aggies' special teams coach Brian Polian. Banks picked up where Polian left off when Polian left to become Nevada's head coach, making Tripucka one of his first calls.

"Both special teams coaches knew what they were doing," Tripucka said. "They knew about the position and cared about having good special teams and good kickers because it was important to them.

"When coach Polian left to Nevada, coach Banks called me right away. He just went from there and he was great and I really like him because he's a coach who has been in my situation before, being a punter. He knows what he's talking about and the technical parts of punting and kicking and I just really liked him."

At Allen, Tripucka was part of a team that won the Texas Class 5A Division I state championship this year. He averaged 42 yards per punt for the Eagles and his father Chris, who played for Boston College, said opponents have no punt return yardage against Shane in two seasons because of his consistent hangtime.

"It takes a huge weight off my chest," Tripucka said. "For the last two years, I've been working my butt off to get noticed by these schools. To finally have a decision, it makes you feel a lot better."

Tripucka is the second specialist in the 2013 class to receive a preferred walk-on opportunity at Texas A&M. Dallas/Jesuit kicker Cody Wicker, teammate of Texas A&M linebacker signee Jordan Mastrogiovanni, accepted an opportunity to be a preferred walk-on at Texas A&M as a placekicker according to his coach, Brandon Hickman.

Hackenberg, Olsen earn UA Game starts

January, 3, 2013
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Black Team offense

Quarterback: Christian Hackenberg (Penn State)

Running back: Alvin Kamara

Receiver: Alvin Bailey (Florida), Robert Foster (Alabama), Damore'ea Stringfellow (Washington)

Tight end: O.J. Howard (Alabama)

Offensive tackle: Darius James (Texas), Denver Kirkland

Offensive guard: Grant Hill (Alabama), Joas Aguilar (Texas A&M)

Center: Hunter Bivin (Notre Dame)

Captains: Kelvin Taylor, Hunter Bivin, Robert Nkemdiche, Ben Boulware

Black Team defense

Defensive end: Robert Nkemdiche, Elijah Daniel

Defensive tackle: Greg Gilgmore (LSU), Kennedy Tulimasealii (Hawaii)

Inside linebacker: Ben Boulware (Clemson)

Outside linebacker: Alex Anzalone (Notre Dame), Matthew Thomas

Safety: Keanu Neal (Florida), Leon McQuay III

Cornerback: Vernon Hargreaves III (Florida), Tarean Folston (Notre Dame)

Black Team special teams

Long snapper: Tyler Kluver (Iowa)

Kicker/punter: Sean Covington (UCLA)

White Team offense

Quarterback: Kevin Olsen (Miami)

Running back: Keith Ford (Oklahoma)

Receiver: Laquon Treadwell, Ryan Green (Florida State), Jalin Marshall (Ohio State)

Tight end: Hunter Henry (Arkansas)

Offensive tackle: Derwin Gray (Maryland), Dorian Johnson (Pittsburgh)

Offensive guard: Patrick Kugler (Michigan), David Dawson (Michigan)

Center: Scott Quessenberry (UCLA)

White Team defense

Defensive end: Carl Lawson (Auburn), Joey Bosa (Ohio State)

Defensive tackle: Henry Poggi (Michigan), Kelsey Griffin (South Carolina)

Inside linebacker: Reuben Foster, Yannick Ngakoue

Outside linebacker: Trey Johnson

Safety: Max Redfield, Antonio Conner

Cornerback: Gareon Conley (Ohio State), Shaq Wiggins (Georgia)

White Team special teams

Long snapper: Brendan Turelli

Kicker: Ryan Santoso (Minnesota)

Punter: Shane Tripucka

Captains: Ryan Green, Hunter Henry, Patrick Kugler, Reuben Foster

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