All eyes will be on Johnny Manziel to lead the Aggies next season, but depth at every position should take a bit of the spotlight off of him.
The 2012 season brought tons of wealth to Texas A&M (11-2, 6-2 SEC) by way of a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback and a Cotton Bowl victory over Oklahoma.
Armed with the No.4 rated offense in the nation, the Aggies are loaded with depth at seemingly every position and are one of the early favorites to win the 2013 national title.
With all of that depth comes competition however, and there a few players who will be fighting for starting roles come college football season.
Alonzo Williams, DT
As of April 5 the Texas A&M depth chart lists Williams as the starting defensive tackle for the Aggies. Williams appeared in only four games last season, racking up five tackles. Williams is svelte in the trenches at 6'4" and 248 pounds, but his newly earned starting position will be heavily challenged this season.
Jordan Points, the 6'4" 255-pound lineman out of Rockwall, Texas brings a little more speed to the tackle position than Williams. Although Points was only rated the No.65 defensive tackle in the Class of 2013, his 54 tackles and seven sacks reveal he has some explosiveness. Williams hasn’t had a lot of time to show what he’s got, but for Texas A&M its about getting to the ball as quickly as possible and Points would give them a boost if Williams doesn’t.
Ben Malena, RB
Not many people are speaking enough about the solid arsenal of backs that the Aggies possess, with Ben Malena at the top of the heap. Malena appeared in all 13 games for the Aggies last season as the primary back, rushing for 808 yards and eight touchdowns. Malena also averaged an impressive 5.86 yards per carry last season. He is clearly deserving of a starting role as a senior this season, but Brandon Williams could challenge him for that role.
Williams is a speedy sophomore back who transferred from Oklahoma after the 2011 season to be closer to his Brookshire, Texas hometown. He rushed for a solid 219 yards on 46 carries for the Sooners in his freshman season and has looked impressive this spring according to Bleacher Report's Michael Taglienti's stock report article on the Aggies. Malena should beware of Williams, a 5-star high school prospect from the Class of 2011 looking to make waves.
Howard Matthews, DB
Matthews is currently the starting strong safety for the Aggies defense that gave up an average of 21.8 points per game last season, good enough for No. 26 in the nation. He amassed 58 tackles and broke up six passes in the middle of the field for the Aggies but based on performance, one of his teammates could be vying for his position.
Toney Hurd Jr., the senior from Missouri City, Texas finished last season with 67 tackles, good enough for fourth on the team. Hurd is a bigger hitter than Matthews and seems to get to the ball much quicker in open space.
Taylor Bertolet, K
As a freshman last season, Bertolet struggled to make field goals as the primary guy, converting on only 13 of his 22 attempts. He also missed seven extra points which raises some concern as to how detrimental he could be to the chances of the Aggies in close games. He doesn’t have a clear challenger to his starting role, but if he doesn’t improve mightily this season, expect Texas A&M to find someone, anyone who can make kicks.
All eyes will be on "Johnny Football" this season, but look for the Texas A&M Aggies to flourish on both sides of the ball with competition at every position.