Texas A&M Football: Projecting the Aggies' 2013 2-Deep Depth Chart

Michael Taglienti@@miketag98Featured ColumnistJanuary 16, 2013

Texas A&M Football: Projecting the Aggies' 2013 2-Deep Depth Chart

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    The Texas A&M football team will lose 12 starters off the 2012 squad that shocked the nation by going 11-2 in their inaugural season in the Southeastern Conference. The 2013 version of the Aggies will be a younger but deeper squad.

    The 2012 Aggie team was lucky enough to go through the season with only one major injury. Senior safety Steven Campbell ended his career because of issues related to concussions. The Ags did not have the depth in place to deal with multiple injuries and, luckily, did not have to.

    In 2013, the A&M football team will be able to lose a few starters without it adversely affecting play. They will have a quality two-deep at every position and will be able to go three- and four-deep with quality players at some positions.

    This is a look at the projected 2013 Texas A&M depth chart.


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    Starter: Johnny Manziel

    Backup: Matt Davis

    Johnny Manziel returned for his sophomore year after becoming the first freshman in college football history to win the Heisman Trophy. He accounted for 5,116 total yards and 47 touchdowns, which is impressive when you take into consideration that he did not really start playing within the offense until halfway through the season. 

    Manziel improvised throughout the first half of the year. He should be better in 2013 because he has a better understanding of the offense.

    Jameill Showers was the second-team quarterback in 2012, but he is expected to graduate early and transfer to a school where he can start at quarterback immediately. Matt Joeckel was the third-team quarterback in 2012.

    Matt Davis redshirted during the 2012 season. With the Aggies tweaking their spread offense to better fit Manziel's talents, Aggie fans should expect to see Davis jump ahead of Joeckel because he will be a better fit in the Ags' offense than Joeckel.

    Davis looks like a linebacker at 6'2", 210 lbs. His scrambling ability should be a big asset to the offense.

Running Back

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    Starter: Ben Malena

    Backup: Brandon Williams

    This is the deepest position on the Texas A&M roster. The Ags boast four running backs who could start for any FBS team on their roster.

    Ben Malena will be the starter after starting the majority of the games in 2012. Malena rushed for 808 yards and eight touchdowns while averaging 5.9 yards per carry. He was named the special teams MVP because he was such a great blocker on special teams. Malena also caught 11 passes for 111 yards and a touchdown. 

    Brandon Williams was the star of the 2012 spring practices and arguably the best offensive player on the team during the spring. He had to sit out the 2012 season after transferring from Oklahoma to be closer to his child.

    Brandon Williams may be the fastest player on the Texas A&M team. At 6'0", 192 lbs, he is thin enough to have earned the nickname "Slim" from his teammates. His running style is reminiscent of former SMU star Eric Dickerson.

    He has the kind of talent to be the best running back in the SEC, but he needs to cut down on the fumbles that plagued him during his freshman season at Oklahoma.

    Trey Williams played in every game for the Aggies in 2012 and rushed for 376 yards and five touchdowns. The true freshman accounted for over 1,000 all-purpose yards.

    Trey Williams should improve after a year in Larry Jackson's strength and conditioning program. He should come back in 2013 as a faster, stronger running back.

    Tra Carson sat out the 2012 season after transferring from Oregon. At 6'0", 227 lbs, he is a bruising runner who should see the field when the Aggies are in the red zone. Expect Carson to fill the role of departed senior Christine Michael and to get a lot of the carries when the Aggies are in short-yardage situations.

    The Aggies would be in great shape at this position with any two of the players listed above. The fact that they have all four available gives the Ags arguably the deepest backfield in the nation.

Tight End

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    Starter: Cameron Clear

    Backup: Nehemiah Hicks

    Tight ends were not used very often in the Aggie offense in 2012. The position had a total of nine catches for 77 yards in 13 games. That should change in 2013 with the addition of Cameron Clear to the team.

    The addition of the 6'6", 285-pound Clear from Arizona Western Community College should be a boon to the Aggies' running game. He is an outstanding blocker who should help establish the edge in the running game.

    With Clear on the field, the Aggies will have more options in the red zone. Defenses will have to worry about the running threat from the Ags' running backs and Manziel, and the possibility that Clear could slip into the end zone with his 6'6" height makes him a matchup nightmare for defenses.

    Hicks is a plus athlete at tight end who can stretch defenses with his speed. He needs to be more consistent with his hands in order to gain trust from his coaches.

Wide Receivers

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    Starter: Mike Evans

    Backup: Derel Walker

    Starter: Malcome Kennedy

    Backup: Laquvionte Gonzalez

    Starter: Sabian Holmes

    Backup: Ricky Seals-Jones

    Starter: JaQuay Williams

    Backup: Edward Pope

    The Aggies lost three starting receivers to graduation. They do return their leading receiver in Mike Evans, who was one of the best in the nation. Evans completed his freshman year with 82 receptions for 1,105 yards and five touchdowns. He will compete for All-SEC honors in 2013.

    Derel Walker was brought into Aggieland as an insurance policy in case Ryan Swope left early for the NFL. Swope stayed his senior season and did a solid job as a backup with eight receptions for 85 yards.

    Malcome Kennedy has been one of the Aggies' more reliable receivers during his two years as a player. He will be a redshirt junior in 2013 and should finally get the opportunity to show what he can do. As a backup in 2012 he had excellent numbers, with 26 receptions for 285 yards and two touchdowns. 

    Laquvionte Gonzalez will be a true freshman in 2013. He is an electrifying athlete who should see action immediately in the slot and as a punt returner.

    Sabian Holmes saw some action in 2012 as a backup at the slot receiver position. He drew rave reviews during summer workouts but was unable to put it together in the fall. Holmes needs to be more consistent catching the ball, but he should be the starter at one slot position in 2013.

    Ricky Seals-Jones is the top-rated athlete in the 2013 recruiting class, per Rivals. He played quarterback and safety in an injury-shortened senior season at Sealy (TX) High School. He is raw as a wide receiver but should see the field right away. Expect the Aggies to move him around the field, but he should see the most action as an inside receiver from the slot position.

    JaQuay Williams is already on campus and working out with his teammates. The 6'3", 205-pound receiver spent a year at Fork Union Military Academy getting his academics in order. Williams has amazing body control and excels at high-pointing the ball. He should be an instant impact receiver for the Aggies in the SEC.

    Edward Pope is a 6'4" receiver who arrived on campus at 170 lbs. He redshirted in 2012 so he could add weight. He should be a weapon for the Aggies in 2013.

    Do not be surprised to see incoming freshmen Kyrion Parker and Tony Stevens compete for playing time at wide receiver right away.

Offensive Line

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    LT Starter: Jake Matthews

    Backup: Germain Ifedi

    LG Starter: Jarvis Harrison

    Backup: Nathan Gutekunst

    C Starter: Mike Matthews

    Backup: Ben Compton

    RG: Kimo Tipoti

    Backup: Shep Klinke

    RT Starter: Cedric Ogbuehi

    Backup: Germain Ifedi

    The Aggies lost the best offensive lineman in the country when Luke Joeckel declared early for the NFL draft. Center Patrick Lewis graduated after starting on the offensive line for the past four years.

    When Jake Matthews decided to forgo the NFL draft and a likely first-round selection (h/t CBSSports.com), the Ags' prospects on the offensive line improved dramatically. Matthews will take over Joeckel's left tackle spot and try to improve his draft status.

    Matthews will be backed up by redshirt freshman Germain Ifedi. The freshman was impressive enough to make the traveling squad in 2012 but, because of Joeckel's good health, was not asked to give up his redshirt.

    Jarvis Harrison started all 13 games at left guard in 2012. The redshirt junior should be one of the more dominating offensive linemen in the SEC in 2013. Nathan Gutekunst redshirted in 2012 and should offer the Ags quality depth in 2013.

    Mike Matthews will take over for Lewis at center. He backed up Lewis in 2012 and did a solid job. Matthews should be the Aggies' starting center for the next three years.

    Ben Compton played as a true freshman at nose guard when the Aggies were running the 3-4 defense under Tim DeRuyter. He moved over to the offensive line in 2012 and was a backup offensive guard. Expect him to slide over to center in 2013 and offer a physical presence behind Matthews.

    Kimo Tipoti arrived on campus in 2012 30-40 pounds overweight. He spent 2012 redshirting and getting into shape. Tipoti is one of the most dominant guards to come out of Texas high school football in recent memory.

    Tipoti should start for the Aggies in 2013 and give them a very physical presence inside. Shep Klinke has starting experience at offensive guard for the Aggies. He should be a quality backup in 2013.

    Cedric Ogbuehi will move from right guard to right tackle in 2013. He will play left tackle in the NFL one day, but for now he will take over Matthews' spot at right tackle. Expect him to move to left tackle in 2014 when Matthews moves on to the NFL.

    Jeremiah Stuckey was brought in from junior college to give the Ags depth at offensive tackle. He should back up Ogbuehi in 2013. Do not be surprised to see Ifedi follow in Ogbuehi's footsteps at right tackle, and then at left tackle in 2015.

    Incoming offensive guard Joas Aguilar has the size and strength to play immediately in the SEC. Whether he plays or redshirts in 2013 will depend on how far along his skills are when he arrives on campus.

Defensive Line

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    SDE Starter: Julien Obioha

    Backup: Polo Manukainiu

    DT Starter: Alonzo Williams

    Backup: Justin Manning

    NG Starter: Kirby Ennis

    Backup: Isaiah Golden

    WDE Starter: Brandon Alexander

    Backup: Tyrone Taylor

    The Aggies will lose Spencer Nealy and Damontre Moore from the 2012 defensive line. Nealy graduated, and Moore declared early for the NFL draft, where he is expected to be a first-round selection.

    Julien Obioha started 12 games in 2013, but his current status is up in the air because of an apparent back injury that kept him out of the Cotton Bowl. If he is unable to recover from the injury, expect Alonzo Williams to start over at strong-side defensive end, like he did in the Cotton Bowl.

    Polo Manukainiu redshirted during the 2012 season. At 6'5", 260 lbs, he should be able to help the Aggies at defensive end in 2013. Expect him to see extensive playing time at DE when the Ags go to an odd-man front.

    If Williams does not play defensive end, then expect him to start at defensive tackle in 2013. During the offseason, he should be able to get his weight up to around 280 lbs,  which is big enough to start on the interior in the SEC.

    Incoming freshman Justin Manning has the size and speed to play immediately when he arrives in Aggieland. The 6'2", 285-pound recruit is one of the top-rated defensive tackles in the nation, per Rivals.

    Kirby Ennis started at nose tackle in 2012. He had 24 tackles with two tackles for loss and a sack. He should be a leader on the 2013 defensive line.

    Incoming freshman Isaiah Golden should back up Ennis. At 6'2", 305 lbs with great strength, he should be fine in the SEC as a freshman. Do not be surprised to see incoming freshman Hardreck Walker compete for playing time on the interior in 2013 as well.

    Brandon Alexander is the prototypical 4-3 defensive end. He is 6'6", 240 lbs and should start for the Ags on the weak side in 2013. He spent much of 2012 in the coaches' dog house but evidently made encouraging strides in the weight room.

    Tyrone Taylor redshirted in 2012 and should be ready to contribute this season. With a year in the weight room, Taylor should be up around 6'3" and 240 lbs, enabling him to help the Ags in pass-rushing situations.

    Jordan Points is a member of the 2013 recruiting class and an early enrollee. If he can add some good weight to his 6'4" frame, he may see some time at defensive tackle or strong-side DE this season.


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    WOLB Starter: Steven Jenkins

    Backup: Kenny Flowers

    MLB Starter: Donnie Baggs

    Backup: Reggie Chevis

    SOLB Starter: Tommy Sanders

    Backup: Tyrell Taylor

    Other than wide receiver, linebacker was the position most affected by graduation. Sean Porter and Jonathan Stewart both graduated after helping carry the defense in 2012. The linebackers made up for a lot of weaknesses on the defensive line and were very underappreciated as a unit.

    Steven Jenkins returns at weak-side outside linebacker. He had 78 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and two sacks in 2012. He should be one of the leaders of the defense in 2013.

    Kenny Flowers is a junior college recruit who will participate in spring practice. He will get a look at all three linebacker positions but will likely end up in a backup roll on the outside.

    Donnie Baggs started against Louisiana Tech and played extensively in the nickel defense in 2012. He has been an outside linebacker for the past two seasons, but he may move inside in 2013. He has great speed, so do not be surprised to see him remain outside if the junior college recruits do not perform. Baggs had 27 tackles with 4.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks in 2012. He has tremendous speed and should come into his own in the upcoming season.

    Reggie Chevis is a member of the 2013 recruiting class and is currently on campus. He will participate in spring practice. Chevis has the instincts to play middle linebacker, and at 245 lbs, he is big enough to take on SEC athletes right now.

    Tommy Sanders is a junior college recruit who has tremendous speed. He should be able to take over Sean Porter's vacated spot on the strong side. Like Chevis and Flowers, Sanders will also participate in spring practice.

    Tyrell Taylor saw some playing time in 2012, recording six tackles with 1.5 tackles for loss and a sack. He should provide quality depth for the Aggies.

    Texas A&M fans should expect incoming recruits Darian Claiborne and Ed Williams to compete for playing time in 2013. If Michael Richardson is able to overcome his neck injury, he will compete for the starting spot at strong-side OLB.

Defensive Backs

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    CB Starter: Deshazor Everett

    Backup: Tavares Garner

    CB Starter: De'Vante Harris

    Backup: Tramain Jacobs

    FS Starter: Howard Matthews

    Backup: Kameron Miles

    SS Starter: Toney Hurd Jr.

    Backup: Floyd Raven Sr.

    Everett started for the Aggies in 2012 and is the best defensive back on the team. He may be the best football player the Ags have on defense. He can play either corner or safety with equal efficiency. He had 56 tackles with three tackles for loss and two interceptions in 2012. Everett should compete for All-SEC honors in 2013.

    Tavares Garner is a member of the 2013 recruiting class. At 6' tall, he will remind a lot of people of former Abilene Christian cornerback and current Houston Texans safety Danieal Manning. Garner has that kind of build.

    De'Vante Harris started seven games of the 2012 season. He was an opening day starter as a true freshman, but he struggled in the Ole Miss game and lost his starting spot. Harris' coverage skills are fine, but he struggles tremendously in being physical and coming up to play the run. If he does not tackle and play the run better in the spring, then he may not see any playing time in 2013.

    Tramin Jacobs is not quite as good in coverage as Harris, but he is more physical. If the coaches grow wary of Harris' soft play, then expect Jacobs to take over as the starter.

    Howard Matthews played as well as any Aggies defensive back down the stretch. He should come into his own as a junior in 2013.

    Kameron Miles is 6'2", 195 lbs and physically read to play in the SEC right now. He will be in Aggieland in June, and he should see the field immediately on special teams and as a backup safety.

    Toney Hurd Jr. saw extensive playing time in 2012. He has a knack for making big plays, recording 67 tackles with four tackles for loss and a game-winning interception in 2012. Hurd Jr. played mostly in the nickel in 2012, but he has earned his starting spot for 2013.

    Floyd Raven Sr. should move from backup cornerback to free safety in 2013. Raven is as talented as any defensive back on campus, but he does not like to play within Mark Snyder's defensive system. When he learns to play within the defense, then he could end up as a starter.


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    K: Taylor Bertolet

    P: Drew Kaser

    KR: Trey Williams

    PR: Laquvionte Gonzalez

    The Ags return two of their specialists from 2012. Bertolet returns as the placekicker, and he will need to be more consistent on extra points. When a kicker can make three out of four attempts from 50-plus yards yet miss multiple extra points, he has some technique issues.

    Drew Kaser will finally have his shot at punter. He, too, needs to work on his consistency. Kaser can kick a 70-yarder and then follow it with a 25-yard punt. Kaser needs to learn how to be consistent.

    Williams and Gonzalez should give the Aggies one of the best return games in the SEC.