Texas A&M Aggies: Shaun Ward

Aggie Snapshot: LB Shaun Ward 

July, 1, 2013
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During the summer, GigEmNation will take a closer look at returning starters and other key players on the two-deep for Texas A&M -- excluding the Aggies' 2013 recruiting class -- that could make notable impact this fall in our Aggie Snapshot series. Starting with No. 1 De'Vante Harris, the series will follow the roster numerically through our final analysis of No. 95 Julien Obioha.

No. 40 Shaun Ward
Junior linebacker


For newcomers or players who are stepping into new roles, spring football is an important time to develop and get acclimated to their surroundings.

The same can be said for new coaches.

Texas A&M has three new position coaches this spring -- special teams coordinator and tight ends coach Jeff Banks, linebackers coach Mark Hagen and quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator Jake Spavital.

Banks, who filled the void left by new Nevada head coach Brian Polian, brings plenty of experience to the table, especially since Banks was an all-conference punter himself at Washington State.

"We talked about replacing Brian with a guy who's just as capable, and Jeff is that," Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin said. "He's got a wealth of experience, he's a former kicker/punter. He can be a technician and can help our guys. I think he's brought a different kind of scheme in all four phases. He's had the ability to keep their interests. Sometimes, change is good."

Sumlin said through the first nine practices, he is seeing some improvement from kicker Taylor Bertolet, who showed inconsistency during his redshirt freshman season in 2012. Bertolet was 13-of-22 on field goals (59.1 percent) and 67-of-74 on point-after-touchdown kicks last year.

"Just like quarterbacks and receivers, they have the opportunity to continue their craft all summer," Sumlin said. "So that will be an ongoing work. But definitely there's been some improvement, particularly with Taylor."

Tommy Sanders
Courtesy of Butler C.C.Junior college transfer Tommy Sanders is getting plenty of work at linebacker for Texas A&M.
Plenty on Hagen's plate: Hagen has a unique challenge. None of the linebackers who has taken snaps with the first team this spring were regular starters last year. The one returning starter of the group -- weakside linebacker Steven Jenkins -- is out this spring with a torn labrum.

"He's got a bunch of young guys," Sumlin said. "He's got Donnie Baggs, who has not played a whole lot of football around here at Texas A&M. He's got two guys who should be going to the prom next month at linebacker in Brett Wade and Reggie [Chevis]. And then he's got a junior college transfer [Tommy Sanders], who just got here. I don't talk to him much because he's busy. His plate's full; he's running around, he's meeting, he's chasing guys all over the place."

"You throw Shaun Ward in there and guys who haven't played a bunch. With Jenkins out, that's given all those guys a lot of turns, [including] Nate Askew, who we moved from wide receiver."

Sumlin said he's seen some positive signs from Hagen and his young linebackers.

"It's really good for a new coach because those guys aren't used to doing a lot of things," Sumlin said. "He has a lot of energy and obviously those guys have made really good strides during the course of spring."

Askew making progress: One of the many new faces at linebacker is one that was on offense last year: Nate Askew.

Before the spring, Askew moved to linebacker from receiver. Sumlin said he's seen Askew make improvement during the spring.

"It's going good," Sumlin said. "Some good, some bad. He's been over there nine practices in pads and the great thing about it has been his attitude and how he's approached the position, how he wants to get better, how he hasn't shied away from contact."

At 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, Askew brings size and athleticism to the position.

"He's one of the top athletes on this whole team," Sumlin said. "He can really, really help us if he continues to get better the way he's gotten better the last couple of weeks."
Cameron ClearDenzel Wright With his size, tight end Cameron Clear would add a different dimension to the Aggies' offense.
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas A&M kicked off spring practice for the 2013 season on Saturday and with it comes new players in new roles, new expectations and plenty of other changes.

Many of those changes could be seen on the initial 2013 depth chart released by head coach Kevin Sumlin. There are some absent names because of injuries and there's a long way to go before definitive statements can be made, but it certainly gives us some players and things to keep an eye on moving forward. Among them:


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Position breakdown: Linebacker 

February, 26, 2013
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The Texas A&M linebacker corps served as a backbone for the Aggies defense in 2012.

With a trio of upperclassmen as starters, including two senior leaders in Sean Porter and Jonathan Stewart, it was one area the Aggies defensive coaches didn't have to worry too much about.

Brett Wade
William Wilkerson/ESPN.comCould early enrollee linebacker Brett Wade play as a freshman in 2013?
With Porter and Stewart having graduated and looking toward NFL futures, the Aggies will have two new bodies to line up next to the lone remaining starter of the group, Steven Jenkins.

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Current and future: Linebackers 

August, 8, 2012
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As 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 linebackers.

Current
On the depth chart: Donnie Baggs, Steven Jenkins, Sean Porter, Michael Richardson, Jonathan Stewart, Shaun Ward


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