Texas A&M Aggies: Matt Wallerstedt

This week, GigEmNation looks back at five decisions that helped define Texas A&M's 2012 season. These moments could be on or off the field or could have even come before the season, so long that they had a lasting impact on the Aggies' 2012 campaign. Today, we look at our pick for No. 4, the hiring defensive coordinator Mark Snyder

[+] EnlargeDamontre Moore
Stacy Revere/Getty ImagesDamontre Moore led an Aggies defense that got a boost from new defensive coordinator Mark Snyder.
One of the biggest question marks for Texas A&M heading into its first Southeastern Conference season was on defense.

In particular, the Aggies' defensive line was a concern. After spending two years in a 3-4 alignment and recruiting for that, Texas A&M moved to a 4-3 this season even though depth wasn't plentiful, specifically on the defensive interior. The coaches stated that as a concern, as well as the possibility of having to play younger players early in physical league like the SEC.

Jeremy Tabuyo 'committed 100 percent' 

December, 20, 2012
Sometimes it all feels like a dream for Honolulu Saint Louis School receiver Jeremy Tabuyo.

The visits to the campus of a major college football program. The visits from that program's coaches. The chance to play for a team that has a high-powered offense and was often the talk of the nation in 2012.

Forgive Tabuyo if he has to pinch himself.

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Reggie Chevis is all business now 

December, 19, 2012
Houston Sharpstown linebacker Reggie Chevis isn't worried about missing out on any of the things that come with your final semester of high school.

He has been to the prom. He has his eyes set on a bigger dance now, one that starts with the letters BCS.

The 6-foot-2, 240-pound four-star linebacker, who has been committed to Texas A&M since June, took his official visit to campus over the weekend and while he was there, began preparing for his arrival, which will be in mere weeks.

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Grading the positions: Linebackers 

December, 13, 2012
In the weeks leading up to Texas A&M's bowl game, GigEmNation will take a look back at how the Aggies performed position by position and give each group a grade based on that performance. Today, we look at the linebackers.

GradeHighlights: This was one of the most experienced position groups on the team, with seniors (Sean Porter, Jonathan Stewart) and a junior (Steven Jenkins) starting. Stewart led the group in tackles with 72 (good for second on the team). Porter was a leader and a playmaker (5.5 tackles for loss) and brought a sense of urgency to the defense and the team, which was important to the Aggies' success. Jenkins (70 tackles, five tackles for loss) was also a playmaker who came up big on several occasions. Sophomore Donnie Baggs, who played in 11 of 12 games and started one, was a capable reserve who earned the trust of the coaching staff. He collected 4.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks in part-time duty.

Lowlights: Jenkins was suspended for a game for a "violation of team rules" over the summer. He ended up sitting out the Louisiana Tech game. There were some games where stopping the run was an issue (the Aggies yielded 219 yards on the ground to LSU, 165 to Louisiana Tech and 159 to Mississippi come to mind).

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Q&A: OT commit Jeremiah Stuckey 

November, 20, 2012
Texas A&M added to its 2013 recruiting class on Sunday when it scored a commitment from City College of San Francisco offensive tackle Jeremiah Stuckey.

The 6-foot-6, 280-pound prospect spent the weekend in College Station on an official visit to Texas A&M. The experience was significant enough for him to make a pledge and cancel previously scheduled visits to other schools that had offered him, including Mississippi and Oregon.

Recruited by linebackers coach Matt Wallerstedt, Stuckey will have three years of eligibility left and four in which to play them, leaving the door open for a redshirt season if he needs it. The 18-year-old is the third offensive tackle prospect in the Aggies' 2013 class and GigEmNation's Sam Khan Jr. caught up with Stuckey to get his thoughts:

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Weekend rewind: Texas A&M 

November, 19, 2012
Texas A&M turned much of its recruiting attention to junior college prospects over the weekend, hosting four juco prospects for the Aggies' game against Sam Houston State. It was Texas A&M's first home game since Oct. 20, and the Aggies made it a productive one, scoring a commitment from one of those prospects in attendance, City College of San Francisco offensive tackle Jeremiah Stuckey.

Stuckey, who is 6-foot-6, 280 pounds, will be a mid-year transfer and will join the Aggies in time for the spring semester. That means he will have four years to play three seasons at Texas A&M.

"One thing I'll say is that I really liked the whole community [in College Station] and everything," Stuckey said. "I felt like everyone there was really friendly and it could definitely be somewhere I could go and fit in and feel welcome."

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Texas A&M has added to its 2013 class.

The Aggies received a commitment from City College of San Francisco offensive tackle Jeremiah Stuckey, who made an official visit for the Sam Houston State game. Stuckey, who is 6-foot-6, 280 pounds, will be a mid-year transfer as a full-qualifier, joining the Aggies in time for the spring semester. Stuckey, who confirmed the news via text message to GigEmNation, will have four years to play three.

The 18-year-old Stuckey had offers from Mississippi, Nevada and Oregon in addition to Texas A&M and was recruited by Aggies linebacker coach Matt Wallerstedt. Playing offensive tackle in a spread offense for City College of San Francisco, he appears to be a good fit for the Aggies and can help with depth at the tackle position should one or both current junior tackles Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews, decide to declare for the NFL draft.

Stuckey played his high school ball at Pacifica (Calif.) Terra Nova. He and his City College of San Francisco teammates are 9-1 and will play American River College in the Northern California Football Association championship game on Saturday.

Stuckey is the 31st commitment for Texas A&M in the 2013 class.

Aggies land juco OLB Kenny Flowers 

November, 2, 2012
Texas A&M has made sure that Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College outside linebacker Kenny Flowers knew that he was a priority.

[+] EnlargeKenny Flowers
Courtesy of Hutchinson C.C.Kenny Flowers committed to Texas A&M over offers from Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Kansas State and West Virginia.
The constant contact and effort that the Aggies put into recruiting the 6-foot-2, 228-pound prospect paid off in a big way Friday, when he called the coaches to commit to Texas A&M.

Flowers made the commitment on Friday afternoon and the December graduate is excited to be joining the program in a couple of months. He chose the Aggies over offers from Arkansas, Kansas, Kansas State and West Virginia. It was Texas A&M's aggressiveness in its pursuit that made the difference.

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Brett Wade excited to get A&M jumpstart 

November, 1, 2012
Brett WadeWilliam Wilkerson/ESPN.com Texas A&M four-star linebacker commit Brett Wade has excelled for Kennedale (Texas) High School and can't wait to enroll at Texas A&M in the spring.
Since Kennedale (Texas) High School reached the district portion of its schedule, the defense has been good. Really good.

Texas A&M commit Brett Wade has been a part of that dominance. The four-star inside linebacker led off district play with a three-interception game against Springtown (Texas) High School on Oct. 12, a 48-17 win for Kennedale. In the last two games, the Wildcats haven't allowed a single point and in the last three games, they've outscored their opponents 193-17.

"It's been going really good, honestly," Wade said. "The last two games we've played, the total offense between [our opponents] is 8 yards. In all of district, which is three games, we've forced 13 turnovers."

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Emerging LB Otaro Alaka on Aggies' radar 

October, 25, 2012
One of many 2014 prospects who were present at Kyle Field when Texas A&M took on LSU last week was Houston Cypress Falls outside linebacker Otaro Alaka.

The 6-foot-3, 196-pound Alaka has been picking up momentum in recruiting this fall. He recently added offers from Mississippi and Northwestern to add to offers he already had from Arkansas, Baylor, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Several other in-state schools are showing interest in Alaka, including Texas, Texas Tech and Texas A&M.

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Q&A: Texas A&M commit Alex Sezer 

October, 3, 2012
LIVINGSTON, Texas -- If there's one thing that becomes abundantly clear when watching Orange (Texas) Little Cypress-Mauriceville running back Alex Sezer, it's that he has speed.

Livingston (Texas) High School found that out first hand when it faced Sezer and the Bears on Friday in the two teams' first district game of the season. In the second quarter after his team came up with a big turnover, Sezer capitalized by breaking free for a 50-yard touchdown run. Once he got into the secondary, nobody was catching him.

Despite a 42-35 loss to Livingston, Sezer put up a productive night for Little Cypress-Mauriceville. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound athlete ran for 131 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries in the defeat and visited with GigEmNation afterward.

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Kenny Flowers enjoys A&M official visit 

September, 24, 2012
As kickoff approached, Kenny Flowers took in the atmosphere at Kyle Field. The Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College outside linebacker got a pretty good feeling inside as players came onto the field and the crowd of more than 86,000 roared in the heart of College Station, Texas.

"It felt good," he said. "I felt like I wanted to be in pads and making tackles out there."

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Q&A: Aggies OL target Caleb Benenoch 

September, 12, 2012
KATY, Texas -- Last weekend was both frustrating and memorable for Katy (Texas) Seven Lakes standout Caleb Benenoch.

Caleb Benenoch
Max Olson/ESPN.comCaleb Benenoch has narrowed his list to five schools.
The 6-foot-6, 321-pound Benenoch, who is ranked 19th nationally among offensive guards, aggravated a right high-ankle sprain injury he suffered in the preseason and couldn't finish his team's thrilling 45-42 triple-overtime win over Friendswood (Texas) Clear Brook.

But the win was memorable and the next day, Benenoch was in College Station, Texas, taking in the festivities as Texas A&M opened its Southeastern Conference era against Florida. GigEmNation caught up with Benenoch to get his thoughts on the trip and where he is in the recruiting process.

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LB Reggie Chevis still solid with A&M 

August, 16, 2012
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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Aggies LB Porter learning, leading

August, 15, 2012
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- When a team changes it's scheme on one side of the ball or the other, there is often a significant learning curve involved.

Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin compares it to the adjustment a true freshman has to make in his first year of college football.

"The 'What to do' stage that every freshmen goes through figuring out what to do, transferring the playbook to the field," Sumlin said. "And then there's the 'How to do' stage, which comes down the road instead of just running to where the line is in the playbook. Now there's an adjustment, 'Now what do I do? How do I do it?' And for every player there's that adjustment with a new scheme."

[+] EnlargeSean Porter
Troy Taormina/US PresswireLinebacker Sean Porter was a first team All-Big 12 selection last season while leading Texas A&M in sacks.
As the Aggies get acclimated to a 4-3 alignment under new defensive coordinator Mark Snyder after spending the last two seasons in the 3-4, senior linebacker Sean Porter appears to be adjusting better than most. The 6-foot-2, 230-pound Porter, who was a first-team All-Big 12 selection last season, has made it a point to spend more time studying his playbook and seek out extra time with coaches in order to understand the intricacies of the new scheme.

"I'm really getting used to the defense," Porter said. "I've been up there with Snyder a lot during the summertime and I sat in on a few coaches meetings with him and I really got to get in his head a little bit during the summertime. So it was good for me. I think I've got the defense down pretty well me and J-Stew (senior linebacker Jonathan Stewart)."

He also appears to be developing into a leader. Sumlin wanted to see some guys become more vocal on defense and Porter is doing that. Linebackers coach Matt Wallerstedt sees the effort Porter is putting in not only to himself, but to his teammates.

"I know he wants to perform well against the best competition in the country in the SEC and get us jump-started in this league and win a bunch of ballgames and get us to a championship," Wallerstedt said. "Really for him, he's the one that's been driving the whole thing for the linebacking corps and pushing everybody not just on the field but with the film study and getting in there with those younger guys."

In order to do that, Porter has to have an increased attention to detail. Being a senior is not something that the preseason first-team All-SEC pick has taken lightly this fall.

"I have to make sure I get in the film room and that I relay all the little things that I pick up on the field to the younger guys," Porter said. "I think that senior leadership is going to be a big deal this year. As seniors we can see things that maybe a younger player can't see because we've been out there a couple more times. I think it's just stuff like that: senior leadership, film room, putting in extra reps in the weight room, extra runs after practice, things like that that will make us a little bit better and that'll get us a few more wins."

Last season, he led the Aggies with 9.5 sacks, but Porter -- who will play the 'Sam' (strongside) linebacker position this season -- said he's not concerned with his sack total this year, only with wins.

His grasp of what the Aggies are doing defensively should help that pursuit.

"We're at the point where we've got more and more guys doing that across the board," Sumlin said. "Sean understood it quicker and I think he's been able to become a leader quicker because he just understands things and he's able to communicate with our coaches.

"We're going to need his leadership to get through camp and not only get through camp but through this season. He's doing everything we've asked him to do."


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