The 2013 Texas A&M Aggies need to replace 12 of their 22 starters on offense and defense. If the Aggies want to have a successful second season in the Southeastern Conference, multiple members of the 2013 recruiting class are going to have to see immediate playing time.
In 2012 Aggies head coach Kevin Sumlin showed that he was not afraid to play true freshmen in significant roles. When the Ags faced Florida in the season opener, two true freshmen lined up as starters.
Julien Obioha started all 12 games of the regular season at defensive end before an injury forced him to miss the Cotton Bowl. Fellow freshman Alonzo Williams started in Obioha's place against Oklahoma.
De'Vante Harris started at cornerback against the Gators. He started seven total games in 2012. Harris will compete for the starting cornerback spot in 2013 that became available with Dustin Harris' graduation.
Some coaches claim they will play the best players no matter their experience, but Sumlin lives it. He has shown that he does not care what the player's classification is, the best man will play.
The fact that Sumlin will start true freshmen has paid off on the recruiting trail where Sumlin is expected to sign a top 10 class on Wednesday.
This is a look at five members of the 2013 class who will likely start as freshmen.
There may not be another freshman in the Aggies' 2013 class more physically ready for the SEC than Golden. He checked into the U.S. Army All-American game at 6'2" and a lean 305 lbs.
Golden is extremely strong and has surprising quickness for his size. He was a dominant player in high school and has the size and strength to play immediately in college.
The only question for Golden is whether he will be offering depth in a backup role, or if he will be the starter?
Spencer Nealy was the Ags' starter at defensive tackle in 2012. His graduation along with Kirby Ennis' recent legal issues means there is ample opportunity for playing time in the interior of the Aggies' defensive line.
Golden should be able to take advantage of that opportunity and see immediate playing time in 2013.
Unless otherwise noted, all heights and weights were obtained by the author during interviews with the respective recruits.
Justin Manning is one of the top defensive tackle recruits in the nation. He will team with Golden and fellow freshman recruit Hardreck Walker to give the Ags depth on the line for years to come.
Manning, at 6'2", 275 lbs., is more of a finesse player than Golden. Golden is more apt to bull rush through you, while Manning will beat you off the snap and be in the backfield before the opposing lineman knows what happened.
Like Golden, the only question with Manning is whether he will be a backup or starter in 2013? He is going to play and he is going to help the team.
Because of his quickness, Aggie fans should expect to see Manning play some defensive end. A&M defensive coordinator Mark Snyder employs an odd front.
Kameron Miles is a 6'2", 195-lb. safety with surprising range for his size. He will compete for playing time immediately in a secondary that lost safety Steven Terrell to graduation.
Tony Hurd Jr. had a great year as a nickelback in 2012. He is the favorite to take over Terrell's starting spot in 2013. Expect Hurd to be listed as the starter coming out of spring practice.
Miles will be in College Station in June to go through summer workouts with the team. With his unique combination of size and speed, he should rocket up the depth chart once Fall practice begins in August.
Mark Snyder likes to adjust the starting lineup of his defense to better match up with the opposing offense. Do not be surprised to see Miles get the start at safety over Hurd when the Ags face predominantly running offenses like Vanderbilt and LSU.
Jordan Points is somewhat of a forgotten man on the defensive line in the 2013 class. His high school teammate Jay Arnold has received more recruiting acclaim. He does not have the size or national hype of Manning or Golden.
What Points has that none of the aforementioned players have is an extra semester on campus with the A&M coaches. Points graduated high school a semester early and is currently in Aggieland participating in the offseason strength program with the rest of the team.
He will participate in spring practice where he will get extensive reps on the defensive line as the coaches look for answers for the 2013 season.
Points is listed at 6'4", 255 lbs. By the time the Fall rolls around he should be close to 270 lbs. He will compete for playing time at strong-side defensive end and on the interior at defensive tackle.
With an extra semester to prepare, Points could conceivably be the starting strong-side defensive end when the Ags kick off against Rice on August 31.
Like Jordan Points, middle linebacker recruit Reggie Chevis was an early enrollee and is already on campus. That is huge for Chevis because there is currently a vacancy at the middle linebacker position with the graduation of Jonathan Stewart.
Chevis is a physical presence in the middle at 6'2" and around 240 lbs. He has the size and strength to hold up against SEC running games right now.
The question is whether he can master Mark Snyder's scheme and beat out Donnie Baggs who is the favorite to start at MLB in 2013.
Much like with Kameron Miles, Aggie fans should not be surprised to see Chevis start at middle linebacker when the Ags face predominantly running teams.
Snyder will move players all over the place to gain an advantage for his defense. If Chevis is stronger against the run than Baggs, then A&M fans will see Chevis play extensively against rushing offenses.