Texas A&M Football: Isaac Savaiinaea Opens Options, Essential Pick-Up for Aggies
Texas A&M had, for the most part, an all-around exciting recruiting weekend. With head coach Kevin Sumlin snaring a new commit in top-notch Houston DT Hardreck Walker, and rumors that four-star Hawaiian LB Isaac Savaiinaea had decommitted from Stanford, the prospect waters were restless in College Station.
Even though Savaiinaea emerged on Sunday to dispel the speculation of his leaving the Cardinal, the young linebacker was able to confirm that he has decided to "leave [his] options open and see other schools and compare all of them."
According to multiple sources including 247Sports, Savaiinaea's top universities under consideration are UCLA, Notre Dame and Texas A&M, along with current program of choice, Stanford.
For Sumlin and assistant coach Brian Polian, news of the linebacker's options opening up is huge, especially with him visiting College Station late this September during the Arkansas home matchup. The addictive atmosphere along with SEC competition may be enough to convince the Hawaiian that Texas, not the west coast, is the place for him to take his deadly defensive talents.
With the Aggies losing out on Louisiana linebacker product Melvin Jones to LSU just last week, Savaiinaea becoming "available" days later almost adds an eerie aura to the situation. However, picking up the Hawaiian's commitment is essential for multiple reasons besides the massive amount of skills he possesses.
Below presents the rationale for Sumlin heavily targeting Savaiinaea over the course of the remaining time his "options are open."
Linebacker Unit Requires "Key" Athlete
As A&M now officially resides in the SEC, per July 1st, the program is in dire need of building a new linebacker corps. With only three commits from in-state prospects Reggie Chevis and Brett Wade as feel as Louisiana native Darian Claiborne, Savaiinaea's addition would assist in producing one of the jewel units of the A&M's 2013 class.
The 6'3" 235-pound inside linebacker out of Punahou High School ranks as the second best at his position by 247Sports, making him a valuable asset for any up-and-coming defense. For those of you who missed that last line, the Hawaiian owns a top five national position ranking by one of the largest recruit analysis sites in the country.
And Texas A&M remains in his top four programs under consideration.
For the Aggies' inaugural season within the SEC, senior LB Sean Porter will be leading the A&M defense against the shock-and-awe offenses of Arkansas, Missouri, Auburn and Florida. Porter, who is projected as a first-round NFL draft pick, represents the "key" player on this year's defensive squad.
During the 2010-11 season, second-overall selection Von Miller held that role. Over the course of the late 1990s, A&M's stud linebacker was future Dallas Cowboy Dat Nguyen.
Savaiinaea's Commitment to A&M is...
Great defenses have even stronger leaders, and Savaiinaea will have the opportunity to sit in at the position from the beginning of his tenure at the program.
Advancement of the A&M National Brand
With Walker's commitment Sunday evening Claiborne's coming on Tuesday, Sumlin bolsters his stunning 2013 recruiting class to 23 total prospects, bolstering the Aggies above top-ranked Michigan. However, of those 23 recruits, 21 hail from the state of Texas with the other two making their way from neighboring Louisiana.
Despite Sumlin's attempts to establish strong connections in Florida, California and multiple other fertile recruiting grounds, the young head coach has been unable to snare a nationally-known out-of-state prospect.
If the Aggies were to gain Savaiinaea for their 2013 class, A&M's football program might plant palm trees around the athletic complex so as to make the Hawaiian feel more at home. However, the young linebacker would represent much more than just another defensive prospect the Aggies need to compete in the SEC.
He would represent access. You might be wondering, access to where?
Access to the national recruiting stage.
For decades, elite football programs have continually expanded outside their "usual" recruiting bounds, pushing outwards so as to show their dominance to the rest of the country. For example, Michigan and Alabama hold five and six top-notch prospects, respectively, from outside their geographic footprint.
The Aggies hold none.
Snaring Savaiinaea would go to prove that A&M is successfully pushing their national brand into every top recruit's home in the country. While Texas would continue to remain A&M's main recruiting ground, just as Alabama holds onto the deep south and Michigan the Midwest, the expansion of their presence in the college football world serve to allow the program longevity as a future power.
Start Journey towards College Football's Elite
While Texas A&M may not have shown its prowess as a contender on the field under Kevin Sumlin just yet, establishing one's program as a recruiting power is the first step in gaining access to the "elite" club in college football.
Since A&M's fall from the glory of the 1980s and 1990s, no head coach has been able to reestablish the Aggies as a contender on the national stage. Soon playing second fiddle to the recruiting prowess of Mack Brown and Texas, many fans began to wonder if A&M would ever find a way out of the rut the program had fallen into.
Using the SEC realignment as a springboard, new head coach Kevin Sumlin has seemingly produced the correct formula for success on the recruiting trail. Picking up Savaiinaea would continue to add to the golden mixture that is A&M's 2013 class, allowing the rest of the college football powerhouses to view the Aggies as now being a legitimate threat.
Savaiinaea's commitment would be the first stepping stone in Sumlin and his powerful recruiting staff skyrocketing A&M to the status of a respected member of the elite club that sits atop the sport.
For Texas A&M, stealing the Hawaiian linebacker from Stanford will present an extremely difficult dilemma for the remainder of the recruiting season. However, if the Aggies pull off the "upset," the overall gain would be beyond significant for the program as a whole.
With the SEC move made official Sunday, July 1st, no time is more ripe than now for A&M to dig their boots into the dirt and begin digging for another huge commitment; this time from four-star LB Issac Savaiinaea.
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