Texas A&M RB Ben Malena
Texas A&M has made quite an impression on the SEC since joining the conference from the Big 12 before the 2012 season.
Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel, 11 wins and one of the most dynamic offenses in the country tends to do that.
Despite high hopes for SEC and national championships in Aggieland for the 2013 season, head coach Kevin Sumlin still has plenty of work to do this offseason filling holes in the roster left by graduation and early entry.
So what will the new-look Aggies look like in 2013?
While the offense stole all of the headlines, the Aggie defense played a big part in their success. Damontre Moore and his 85 tackles, 21 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks is gone. But if returning starter on the strong side Julien Obioha can return healthy on the defensive line, he can provide a solid foundation for defensive coordinator Mark Snyder to build off of.
The pass rush won't be the same without Moore, and one of the biggest issues this spring is finding out if Brandon Alexander, Tyrone Taylor or someone else will step in on the weak side of the line and become a force.
Linebacker and secondary are two areas of concern, but the returns of outside linebacker Steven Jenkins, safety Toney Hurd, Jr., and cornerbacks Deshazor Everett and De'Vante Harris provide a solid foundation for the Aggies.
On the other side of the ball, Sumlin, Clarence McKinney, Jake Spavital and the rest of the offensive coaching staff are going to have a field day creating mismatches with all of the weapons Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel will have at his disposal.
We all know about Manziel; but throw in running backs Ben Malena, Oklahoma transfer Brandon Williams, speedster Trey Williams and Oregon transfer Tra Carson and the Aggies may have the most dynamic backfield in college football.
Two established wide receivers are gone, but leading receiver Mike Evans—who's 6'5"—will be joined by five wide receivers in the class of 2013 given four stars or more by 247Sports.com—three of whom are 6'3" or taller.
Will Texas A&M win the SEC West in 2013?
That's sick, and a nightmare for opposing defensive coordinators who will have to respect the weapons outside. That will translate to acres of running room for Manziel and those talented running backs.
Sure, losing left tackle Luke Joeckel hurts, but Jake Matthews staying in College Station is a major boost for the offensive line and Cedric Ogbuehi will be fine moving outside to right tackle.
Texas A&M has all of the weapons to make a run at the crystal football in 2013. Plus, with a schedule that gives it two tune-ups before hosting Alabama and bye weeks before road trips to Ole Miss and LSU, the schedule is rather manageable.
The best may be yet to come for Texas A&M.