Texas A&M Aggies: Texas A&M football

LEANDER, Texas — One of the most discussed teams over the weekend at the Texas state 7-on-7 championships was Lufkin (Texas) High School.

And one of the most noticeable players for the Panthers throughout their stay in the tournament was Texas A&M receiver commit Jamal Jeffery.

The 2014 prospect turned in one of the top performances of the weekend, hauling in pass after pass and several touchdowns over the Panthers' 5-1 run, which saw them eliminated in the quarterfinals by Arlington (Texas) Bowie.

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 -- who 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. 70 Cedric Ogbuehi
Junior offensive tackle



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Aggie Snapshot: DT Kirby Ennis 

July, 5, 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. 42 Kirby Ennis
Senior defensive tackle



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Texas A&M has 14 commits in the 2014 class, and the Aggies have done a good job of addressing needs at multiple positions. With seven months left until signing day, they are still pursuing plenty of players. Here's five positions where they could use another player or two in the class:

Defensive end: The Aggies are pursuing multiple defensive ends in the 2014 class and at the top of their want list is ESPN 300 defensive end Myles Garrett (Arlington, Texas/James Martin), the No. 1 prospect in Texas. They also have an offer out to ESPN 300 prospects Qualen Cunningham (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton) and Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell) among others.

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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



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BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Kyle Allen was so good this weekend at the Elite 11 finals that it almost worked against him.


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Aggie Snapshot: P Drew Kaser 

June, 28, 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. 38 Drew Kaser
Sophomore punter



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Aggie Snapshot: LB Donnie Baggs 

June, 27, 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. 36 Donnie Baggs
Junior linebacker



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It wasn't long ago that the terms "BCS Championship Game" and "Texas A&M" in the same sentence would seem absurd. To some, it still might.

[+] EnlargeManziel
John David Mercer/US PresswireHeisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel is one of the reasons expectations are so high in College Station.
But after a successful inaugural season in the SEC, producing the Heisman Trophy winner, finishing ranked in the top five for the first time in more than 50 years and being projected to start the season in the top five -- with said Heisman Trophy winner in tow -- has at least brought the idea into the conversation for some Aggies.

Every team has its own goals and standards that it feels it needs to meet to achieve ultimate goals. But there's certain criteria that has been consistent in recent years, criteria that every BCS champion has met since 2006, according to ESPN's Mike Rothstein.

If those criteria were to hold true again this season, what are the Aggies' chances of meeting them? Let's take a look:


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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. 35 Tyrell Taylor
Junior defensive end



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Texas A&M future power rankings 

June, 18, 2013
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It's a good time to be an Aggie. Considering where Texas A&M was in late 2011 -- in the midst of a 7-6 season, one in which the Aggies began the season ranked in the preseason top 10, in the middle of a coaching change and with the whole world wondering whether they knew what they got themselves into by going to the SEC -- things right now look pretty darn good.

After an 11-2 debut season as an SEC member, a Heisman Trophy winner at quarterback, a dominating win over Oklahoma in the AT&T Cotton Bowl and a top-10 recruiting class in 2013, Texas A&M has picked up a ton of momentum and appears to be at the beginning stages of realizing the potential that lay in College Station, Texas, all along.


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We're in the dog days of the offseason, where every little comment or development gets overanalyzed or takes on a life of its own. So why not overanalyze some comments Texas A&M athletic director Eric Hyman made in jest at the Brazos County A&M Club Coach's Night, an alumni event on Thursday night on campus? He made a joke that went like this, according to the San Antonio Express-News: “What do the moon and Texas A&M have in common? They both control the Tide.”

TideNation's Alex Scarborough: First of all, I'm a little disappointed in Hyman for not getting more creative with his joke. It's good for a chuckle, I suppose, but a half-hearted one at that. There's better material out there to draw on, if you ask me. He could have at least incorporated Nick Saban being the devil into it, like everyone else has done this offseason.

That brings me to my next point: Why even make the joke at all? I'm sure Kevin Sumlin really appreciated him providing the bulletin board material because, you know, Alabama certainly needed fuel to add to its fire. The motivation for revenge might not have been enough. Remember the "never again" poster from Alabama's heartbreaking loss to Cam Newton and the Auburn Tigers in 2010? The Tide have dominated the last two Iron Bowl contests, winning both by a combined score of 91-14. I've got to believe there's a similar poster being constructed now for Texas A&M with Hyman's quote as its centerpiece.

But Sam, when we look at last year's game and Hyman's analysis of the Aggies being able to "control the Tide," do you think there's some truth in it? I look back at the first quarter and agree, but after that I'm not so sure.

[+] EnlargeJohnny Manziel
AP Photo/Dave MartinAlabama won't need much more motivation against Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M this fall.
GigEmNation's Sam Khan: I think Sumlin agrees with you, even if just a little bit, since he said, "No pressure, Eric. Thank you," when he took the podium. You're right in that the Crimson Tide don't need any additional motivation but I wouldn't overestimate how much that matters. Sumlin is a pretty good motivator himself and I'm sure he'll play up the fact that the whole world expects the Tide to exact revenge on Sept. 14.

As for "controlling the Tide," I do think there's some truth in Hyman's quote. Did the Aggies dominate the game from start to finish? No. Against a team as talented and as deep as Alabama, that's nearly impossible to do. But the Aggies took it to Alabama as well as anybody else has in quite some time with the strong first quarter and a huge last scoring drive. Defensively, the Aggies were solid and opportunistic, coming up with some huge turnovers. Yes, the Tide were one play away from winning, should Deshazor Everett not pull off the interception on fourth-and-goal, but the Aggies win was far from luck or anything of the like.

Here's my question for you, Alex, when it comes to the Crimson Tide. Everyone talks about how Saban and Co. have all offseason to prepare for Johnny Manziel. But it stands to reason that Manziel will improve from Year 1 to Year 2. My question is, how much better prepared are the Crimson Tide going to be for the Aggies' offensive tempo, which seemed to give them significant trouble? Do they face anybody else that plays at that pace?

Scarborough: Therein lies the rub, Sam. You're right about Alabama having all offseason to prepare for what Manziel and the different Texas A&M offensive weapons can do, but until it learns to better handle the uptempo style of play itself, it's a major question mark whether the Tide can consistently handle offenses like the Aggies. After all, Sumlin won't be alone in running the fast-paced spread against Alabama. Virginia Tech will likely push the pace in the season-opener and Ole Miss will definitely look to force the defense's hand in Week 4. Kentucky, Tennessee and Auburn will all do the same later on in the schedule as well.

There's no doubt, though, that the biggest challenge to Alabama's defense will be Texas A&M. Even with Luke Joeckel no longer protecting Manziel's blindside and Kliff Kingsbury no longer calling plays, it's hard to imagine the Aggies offense being anything other than dangerous. And it all comes back to what Manziel can do with his feet. Saban and defensive coordinator Kirby Smart can use every minute of the offseason studying film to better prepare for the Aggies, but there is almost no way to stop what Manziel does best: improvise. All Alabama can hope to do is preach containment up front and pray that someone can wrap up the speedy quarterback when the time comes.

That brings me to my final question, Sam: In light of the recent success of the two programs and the buzz suddenly growing around the rematch thanks to Hyman's comments, do you see Alabama-Texas A&M becoming the best rivalry in the SEC West over the next few seasons? As long as Sumlin is around, I imagine Aggies fans are confident in the direction of the program and its ability to compete with the likes of Alabama.

Khan: I think you answered the last question with six key words: "As long as Sumlin is around." The program is moving upward right now and as long as he's in the captain's chair, I think that will continue. Will it become the best rivalry in the SEC West? Perhaps. I think LSU vs. Texas A&M has great rivalry potential also and Alabama-LSU is probably the best one currently going. I think in order for A&M-Bama to be considered "the best," the Aggies will have to pass LSU, which they haven't done yet. The Aggies lost to LSU last year and finished tied with them in the standings. Bama-LSU games have had a national title feel to them; the Aggies will have to legitimately get into the BCS title game chase for that to start happening against Bama. But there's no doubt that by beating the Tide last year, the Aggies have the Crimson Tide's attention.

That brings me to my last question for you: How much do you think Alabama and its fans care about A, what Hyman said; and B, what the Aggies are doing between now and Sept. 14. The Crimson Tide won the national championship. Are the Aggies really that big of a deal to Bama?

Scarborough: To answer your second question first, everything that happens in the SEC is a big deal to Alabama fans. You might think that not much gets to Tide fans these days, but you'd be wrong. Apathy is not something that sits well in these parts. It's partly the environment in the state, with no professional sports franchises to distract the attention away from college football,and partly the attitude Saban has fostered in these parts where even the most minute of details matter. There's interest in anything even tangentially connected to Alabama, even something as innocuous as an athletic director's comment to what amounts to a semi-private gathering of alumni.

That brings me back to whether Alabama fans care about what Hyman said. They most certainly do. The sting of that defeat still doesn't sit well with the Crimson Tide faithful, even though a national championship came after. But the part that I think bothers fans most is the manner in which he said it. Don't tell me Hyman didn't know he would be quoted or that he didn't know exactly what he was saying. He's been doing the job long enough to know a comment like that would come out.

But at the end of the day, as you've said, Sam, this all boils down to a symptom of the offseason where even comments made in jest are overanalyzed. Hyman would probably like to have what he said back, and Sumlin would, too, but overall it was harmless and only serves to make a budding rivalry just a little more entertaining. And as fans of college football, what's really so wrong about that?
If you want evidence as to why Texas A&M has one of the best recruiting classes in the nation, look no further than the latest ESPN 300.

Last season, the Aggies -- who had college football's No. 8 recruiting class -- hauled in 10 players in the 2013 ESPN 300.


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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. 20 Trey Williams
Sophomore running back


Impact thus far: As a true freshman, Williams was the team's primary kickoff returner last season and also shared carries in the backfield with Ben Malena and Christine Michael.


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SEC's DLs, LBs strong at combine

February, 21, 2013
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Several of RecruitingNation's SEC sites will look this week at the players headed to the NFL combine, which begins Friday in Indianapolis, and other predraft camps. Today: Defensive linemen and linebackers.

Texas A&M Aggies


Texas A&M's defense was a question mark coming into the 2012 season, but those questions were answered definitively as the Aggies became a solid defensive squad, thanks in large part to three players who will be participating in the combine:
  • DE Damontre Moore (Position rank: No. 4)
    Strengths: Explosiveness and production. Moore was a handful for opposing offensive tackles this year because of his quickness and explosiveness as a pass-rusher. He has good speed for his size and position; that could be seen against Mississippi State when he chased down receiver Chris Smith from behind on a 42-yard completion. He was near the top nationally in sacks and tackles for loss.
    Weaknesses: He can be too aggressive in his pursuit occasionally, although he has good instincts. A year ago, inconsistency might have been a concern and there also might have been character questions because of an arrest for marijuana possession before his sophomore season, but neither appear to be issues now. He seems to have matured and has become a consistent, day-in and day-out player under Kevin Sumlin.
    Comparison: Todd McShay compared Moore to Atlanta defensive end John Abraham. They have similar frames (both are 6-4, Abraham is about 15 pounds heavier than Moore's 248), and both are quick and fit well as 4-3 defensive ends.
  • OLB Sean Porter (Position rank: No. 12)
    Strengths: He's durable, reliable and became a leader for the Aggies. Showed good speed when serving as a pass-rusher in 2011. He is quick and can close quickly. Good instincts, versatile talent.
    Weaknesses: Doesn't excel in coverage, though he has showed improvement in that area. Could be a more physical player and more consistent overall.
    Comparison: Lance Briggs. About the same height as Porter, though a little bigger in weight, Briggs has good range and is a playmaker. It might be too much to say Porter will be at the level of Briggs (seven-time Pro Bowl player), but he should fit in nicely as a versatile starting weakside linebacker for someone.
  • LB Jonathan Stewart (Position rank: No. 16)
    Strengths: Smart player with good size for his position. Shows good instincts as he's often around the ball. Was one of the leaders on A&M's defense this year.
    Weaknesses: Not a dominant playmaking presence. Has speed but not tremendously explosive.
    Comparison: Kirk Morrison. Stewart should be a solid, though not flashy, linebacker in a 4-3 scheme which is what Morrison has been throughout his career with Oakland and Buffalo. Both are of similar size and frame.
-- Sam Khan Jr., GigEmNation

Florida Gators


The heart of the Gators’ 2012 defense will participate in the combine today. DT Sharrif Floyd, whose stock is rising rapidly as he is projected to be taken as high as No. 3, had a fantastic season and anchored UF’s front. He dominated Florida State’s front, and his mixture of size, strength and quickness has scouts drooling. ILB Jon Bostic started every game the past two seasons and was UF’s leader on defense. Nobody was more dependable than Bostic. OLB Jelani Jenkins was limited in 2012 because of a broken finger, a strained hamstring and a broken foot, but when healthy he’s a solid player. OLB Lerentee McCray was forced into action at the buck position (hybrid end/linebacker) because of the injury to Ronald Powell. He didn’t produce big numbers but was a high-effort, high-motor guy.

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