Texas A&M Football: Ranking the 5 Best Offensive Weapons for the Aggies
The Texas A&M Football team had one of the best offenses in the nation in 2012. With multiple weapons from that offense returning in 2013, the Ags should be prolific on the offensive side of the ball once again.
The Aggies return their leading passer, rusher and receiver from the 2012 squad. The also have a couple of running backs eligible who sat out the 2012 season due to NCAA transfer rules.
Aggie head coach Kevin Sumlin showed in 2012 that he will play freshmen if they are the best at their position. Despite the returning talent on the Aggie offense, Texas A&M fans should expect to see some of the freshmen assume some big roles in 2013.
This is a look at the top weapons on the Aggie offense in 2013. A weapon is not simply someone who puts up tremendous numbers, but someone that the opposing coaches have to adjust the game plan for.
WR Mike Evans
Mike Evans was the Ags' leading receiver in 2012. He had 82 receptions for 1,105 yards and five touchdowns during his redshirt freshman season.
Evans did not play varsity football in high school until his senior season. He took up football because he was not receiving the scholarship offers he wanted in his main sport of basketball.
Evans used his 6'5", 220-pound frame to physically dominate smaller defensive backs. He should continue to improve as a receiver as he gains more experience at football.
In 2013, Evans will compete for All-SEC and All-American honors. He will be one of the top receivers in the nation.
RB Ben Malena
Ben Malena is the one of the most underappreciated offensive players in the nation. Malena rushed for 808 yards and eight touchdowns in 2012.
He also caught 18 passes for 118 yards and a touchdown. Malena's pass blocking is the area he really excelled in. He is as good at picking up the blitz as any running back in the conference.
There are other backs on the Aggies roster who are flashier than Malena. There are bigger and faster running backs on the team, but none are as complete of a back as Malena.
With Trey Williams, Brandon Williams and Tra Carson taking carries, it is unlikely that Malena will break 1,000 yards rushing in 2012. He may not put up the numbers to merit All-Conference of All-American attention in 2013, but he will be a player that every opposing defensive coordinator will focus on stopping.
RB Brandon Williams
Aggie fans will finally get the opportunity to see Brandon Williams when it counts in 2013. Williams transferred to A&M before the Spring semester in 2012.
Williams spent his freshman season at Oklahoma, where he rushed for 219 yards on 46 carries during the 2011 season. He has explosive speed and great size, at 6'0", 200 pounds.
While most opposing coaches and fans will concentrate on stopping Aggie quarterback Johnny Manziel in 2013, Williams may prove to be the most explosive player on the field.
With his speed, he is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. He has never had an official carry for the Aggies, but he should prove to be one of the best offensive players on the team in 2013.
TE Cam Clear
Cameron Clear is a 6'6", 270-pound JUCO transfer from Arizona Western Community College who enrolled at A&M early and participated in spring practice. Clear played well throughout the spring and impressed the coaches and his teammates with his blocking.
Clear is a mismatch in the passing game because of his size. He will be a huge target for Johnny Manziel down the seam with his 6'6" frame.
The area where Clear will most stress defenses is with his blocking. In 2012, when the Aggies got into the red zone, they would often line up Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews next to each other and bring in Joseph Cheek to play tackle on the opposite side of the line.
They did this because they did not have a dominant blocker at tight end so they would use Joeckel and Matthews to secure the edge. In Clear, they will have a dominant blocker who can seal the edge and still remain a receiving threat in the red zone. His blocking should open up more possibilities for the offensive coaches in the running game.
It should allow offensive coordinator Clarence McKinney to experiment with running the zone-read and option out of various one and two tight-end formations. Clear will be a major asset to the Aggie offense even if he never catches a pass.
QB Johnny Manziel
Johnny Manziel is the most dangerous football player in the nation right now. He passed for 3,706 yards and rushed for 1,410 yards during the 2012 season.
Manziel did what people said would never be done when he won the Heisman as a freshman. The scary thing for opposing defensive coordinators is that Manziel may be even better in 2013.
With more weapons at running back like Brandon Williams and Trey Williams, opposing defenses will not only be able to concentrate on Manziel's rushing. Manziel now has a better understanding of Kevin Sumlin's offense, so teams should not be able to contain him by simply closing down the rushing lanes and forcing him to pass.
Manziel now knows where to go when he sees certain coverages, rather than simply scrambling around and improvising. He knows where the hot receivers are.
The 2013 season will reveal a more complete quarterback under center for Texas A&M, and that should be a frightening prospects for all opposing defenses.