The Texas A&M football team is having another top-10 season on the field in 2013 and also a top-10 year on the recruiting front. Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin and his staff are continuing to bring in the right kind of players to Aggieland to help build an elite program in the Southeastern Conference.
Recruiting is the lifeblood of a college football program. The top teams continuously bring elite talent into their program in order to consistently produce the best product on the field.
When Sumlin arrived at Texas A&M in 2012, he observed that the Aggies were deficient in talent in certain areas. Former head coach Mike Sherman recruited plenty of skill position talent to College Station, but there was a dearth of quality defensive linemen.
The Aggies did not have the kind of defensive playmakers in the program, particularly in the front seven, to compete with the elite teams in the SEC. Games are won in the SEC in the trenches, and Texas A&M did not have the defensive line depth to stand up to SEC offenses.
When Sumlin was hired, he brought in defensive coordinator Mark Snyder to switch the Aggies from the 3-4 to the 4-3 defense. That created an even greater need for numbers on the defensive line.
Sumlin, Snyder and the entire staff have set about solving that issue through recruiting. They brought in the No. 9-ranked recruiting class in 2013, which includes six defensive linemen and six linebackers.
That was a good start for Sumlin and the program, but they need to continue to stack the front seven with talent. The Aggies' poor defensive results in 2013 are a direct result of a differing defensive philosophy while Mike Sherman was the head coach.
Sherman wanted long, fast players capable of playing in space against the spread offenses of the Big 12. Sumlin and Snyder need bigger players who can hold up at the point of attack. The Aggies have a particular need of pass-rushers who can make a difference off the edge in Snyder's 4-3 attack.
Most Important Commits
The Aggies received the biggest commit of the 2014 class when Arlington (Texas) Martin defensive end Myles Garrett decided he wanted to play football for Texas A&M. Garrett is exactly the type of defensive player that the Aggies need to bring in if they want to compete for SEC and national titles.
Garrett is a 6'4", 240-pound pass-rushing terror off the edge. He is an elite defensive end recruit who would be starting on the weak-side for A&M were he eligible to play today.
Garrett had 8.5 sacks in one game. He is the top-ranked recruit in the state of Texas and the kind of recruit that the Aggies had to land if they want to beat Alabama and LSU on the field.
LaPorte (Texas) High School linebacker Hoza Scott was one of the earliest commits of the 2014 class. The outside linebacker recruit gave his verbal pledge to the Aggies in December 2012.
Scott has the size, at 6'2" and 230 pounds, and speed to compete in the SEC right away. He will help the Aggies defense when they play against the more physical offenses in the SEC.
There are currently some academic questions surrounding Scott, but if he can qualify to enter A&M, then it will be a huge boost to the 2014 class.
|2014 Texas A&M Top Verbal Commits|
|Kyles Allen||5-star||Pro-style QB||6'2.5"||185|
While the Aggies need the most help on defense, the offense cannot be ignored. Sumlin and his staff landed the player who may follow Johnny Manziel as the leader of the offense in quarterback recruit Kyle Allen.
Allen is a 5-star recruit ranked as the No. 1 quarterback and No. 22 overall player in the country by 247sports.com. He is an early enrollee, who will graduate high school in December and participate in spring drills with the Aggies in 2014.
No one can tell you definitively whether a quarterback will be a success or failure in college. In Allen's case, he has the arm talent and the ability to move around, which projects well in Sumlin's spread offense.
It says a lot about Sumlin and the Aggies' national profile that they were able to go into Arizona and gain a pledge from the top quarterback recruit in the nation.
Top Remaining Targets
The Aggies have a top-10 ranked class committed, but they still need to address a few areas of need, including adding more depth in the trenches.
You need to be three-deep on both sides of the ball if you want to be an elite team in the SEC. Right now, the Aggies do not even have quality starters on the defensive line.
|Texas A&M 2014 Top Recruiting Targets|
They need all the help they can get on both the offensive and defensive lines. Aggie fans should expect the Aggies coaches to pursue multiple defensive and offensive linemen during the run up until signing day.
Top among these remaining targets is defensive lineman Gerald Willis from Edna Karr High School in New Orleans. Willis is a 5-star defensive lineman, who is ranked as the No. 26 overall player in the nation.
Willis has explosive quickness off the line of scrimmage. His incredible quickness has some projecting him as a defensive end in college, while others believe he will be a defensive tackle.
He is the type of player who develop into an elite interior pass-rusher in the SEC. The Aggies' main competition for Willis are LSU and Alabama.
Willis' teammate Speedy Noil, who is also one of the Aggies' top remaining targets, is a quarterback for Karr. Noil has explosive speed and projects as an elite slot receiver at the collegiate level.
Noil is rated by 247sports.com as a 5-star recruit and is the top-ranked wide receiver in the nation. He will add an instant element of speed and playmaking ability to wherever he lands in college.
As is the case with Willis, LSU is the Aggies' main competition for Noil's signature. The Tigers have shown a willingness to throw the ball in 2013, which will make Noil's home-state team tougher to beat.
The Aggies need help on the offensive line also. They need to add some players to take over when Jarvis Harrison graduates in 2014.
Braden Smith is one of the Aggies' top targets on the offensive line. He is a 6'6", 290-pound guard prospect from Olathe, Kan.
Smith is ranked as a 4-star prospect and is the No. 9 offensive guard in the nation, according to 247sports.com. He is a naturally big player who moves very well for a man his size but does not have the elite feet of a tackle prospect.
Smith could come to Aggieland, redshirt as a freshman and then start for the Aggies at guard in 2015. If the Aggies signed Smith, it would be yet another example of them spreading their national brand.
The Aggies have commits from a top-10 class. They need to sign their commits and five or six more top recruits if they want to have a legitimate shot at an SEC title going forward.
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