Texas A&M Football: 7 Recruits Most Likely to Start as Freshmen
The Texas A&M football team just completed one of the best seasons in its program's history. This senior-led team is about to experience massive turnover on their roster, which will create opportunities for multiple incoming freshmen to start in 2013.
In 2013 the Aggies won 11 games for only the fourth time in school history. Their 41-13 victory over Oklahoma marked their first victory in the Cotton Bowl since 1988.
The Ags are going to lose 10 senior starters to graduation and two starters are leaving early for the NFL draft. Along with this turnover in the program comes opportunity for the younger players on the team and the incoming recruits to earn a starting spot.
Multiple members of the 2013 recruiting class will be counted on to start as freshmen. This is a look at which recruits are most likely to start for the Aggies in 2013 as they make a run at the Southeastern Conference and a national title.
WR JaQuay Williams
JaQuay Williams highlights from junior year in high school
The Aggies lose three of their four starting receivers to graduation. The only returnee will be Mike Evans. That means there are two spots available in the slot and there is one outside receiver position open.
JaQuay Williams was one of the top receiver recruits in the 2012 class who originally committed to Auburn. He was not able to qualify academically and went to prep school.
Williams is already in Aggieland and will participate in spring practice. He will have the jump on his fellow classmates at the wide receiver position since they will not be in College Station until June.
Expect Williams to use his 6'3", 205-lb body and 4.5 speed to win the starting spot at outside receiver. He has excellent body control in the air and excels at high pointing the ball. Williams should be a tremendous headache for opposing defensive coordinators.
The Aggies are bringing in a veritable basketball team as receivers in the 2013 recruiting class. They currently have five receivers committed who stand 6'3" or taller. Williams should have an immediate impact in 2013.
WR Ricky Seals-Jones
Ricky Seals-Jones is ranked as the No. 1 athlete in the nation by Rivals. He is currently listed at 6'5", 225-lbs with 4.5 speed in the 40. Seals-Jones is a freak athlete who has played wide receiver, quarterback, defensive end and safety in high school.
He will play receiver for the Aggies in 2013. He is a matchup nightmare because few teams can find a defensive back who can match up with a 6'5" athlete with receiver speed.
Seals-Jones is raw at receiver because he has been playing mainly quarterback in high school. He will improve once the Aggies get him on campus in June. Do not be surprised to see him starting in the slot as an inside receiver in 2013. He will be a nightmare for opposing defenses in the red zone.
DT Isaiah Golden
Sophomore highlights of DT Isaiah Golden
Spencer Nealy is graduating, which leaves a hole at defensive tackle. The Ags are not bringing in any junior college defensive tackles and have suspect depth on the interior defensive line.
They have a tremendous need for freshmen to step in and play immediately at defensive tackle and nose tackle. Golden should be able to help at both positions.
He is currently 6'2", 305 lbs and possesses the strength to play right away in the SEC. Golden is one of the more talented defensive tackles to be recruited to Aggieland in quite some time.
He may start for A&M at nose tackle or defensive tackle. Kirby Ennis did a good job at defensive tackle down the stretch, but he may not be able to hold off a talent like Golden.
DT Justin Manning
Sophomore highlights of Justin Manning
Dallas Kimball defensive tackle Justin Manning has been a sought after recruit since his sophomore year. Many thought that he would follow in his brother's footsteps to Oklahoma, but Manning spurned the Sooners and verbally committed to Texas A&M.
Manning has been a dominant defensive tackle for Kimball, much like his brother DeMarcus Granger was. He uses his rare combination of strength of quickness to split double teams and disrupt the opposing offense.
His quickness will serve him well at A&M. Manning is currently 6'2", 285 lbs. He has the size to play in the SEC in 2013. Whether or not he starts will depend on how much weight Polo Manukainiu and Alonzo Williams are able to add in the offseason.
If both Williams and Manikainiu are still around 270 lbs in the fall, they will be expected to play defensive end in 2013. If they are between 280 and 290 lbs then they will see time at defensive tackle. Even if Williams and Manukainiu add the weight, they may still get beaten out by Manning who looks like a future NFL defensive tackle.
Manning has the makings of an elite collegiate defensive tackle. He will see playing time in 2013, but whether it is as a starter or a backup with be up to him.
S Kameron Miles
Junior highlight of Kameron Miles
Steven Terrell is graduating, which leaves the Aggies with a hole at the safety position. The Ags are bringing in three safeties in the 2013 class in Victor Davis, Jonathan Wiggins and Kameron Miles.
Miles appears to be the most ready to play right away. At 6'2" and 205 lbs he is physically ready for the SEC right now. Whether or not Miles will be able to start depends on how fast he can pick up Mark Snyder's defense.
If Miles is able to comprehend the system right away, then he should start from day one. He looks like an NFL safety right now although he is only a senior in high school. Miles should team up with Howard Matthews to give the Aggies one of the most imposing safety duos in the country.
CB Tavares Gardner
Tavares Garner playing 7-on-7
Dustin Harris will graduate, leaving an opening at one of the cornerback positions. De'Vante Harris started at corner in 2013 before he struggled against Ole Miss and was replaced by Dustin Harris.
The job would seem to be De'Vante Harris' to lose, but competition is on the way. Tavares Garner has great size for a corner at 6'0" and 170 lbs. He is already about 10 lbs heavier than De'Vante Harris.
The SEC is primarily a running league. If you do not want to play physically as a defensive back in this league, you will find yourself on the bench. Up until this point, De'Vane Harries has not shown a willingness to stick his nose in there and make plays against the run.
Garner has very good cover skills. If he shows the willingness to be physical on defense, then he can leap ahead of De'Vante Harris and earn a starting spot on the 2013 defense.
PR Laquvionte Gonzalez
Dustin Harris is graduating as the best punt returner the Aggies have had since Aaron Glenn was on campus in the early 90s. Harris' departure opens up a spot at punt returner.
Laquvionte Gonzalez from Cedar Hill is one of the most electrifying football players in the state of Texas. He is dynamic with the ball in his hands. He is small at only 5'8" tall, but he has surprising strength and legitimate 4.4 speed.
Gonzalez will see playing time at slot receiver as a true freshman in 2013. Expect the Aggies coaches to look for ways to get him the ball in space. He and Johnny Manziel should make the Aggies the must-watch team of the season.
Look for the coaches to put Gonzalez at punt returner. His ability to make plays in space will be a huge weapon on special teams.