Texas A&M Football Recruiting: Updates on 2014 Commits and Targets
Bleacher Report brings constant news, updates and analysis on Texas A&M's 2014 recruiting class, ranging from the quarterback position to the secondary. Each section will be consistently updated through national signing day this February.
*All rankings and information courtesy of 247sports.com.
Following Texas' hiring of former Louisvile head coach Charlie Strong to replace the retired Mack Brown, four-star defensive tackle Zaycoven Henderson decommitted from the Longhorns. The next day, Henderson flipped to Texas A&M, adding yet another top-tier defensive line prospect to the 2014 class.
Kyle Allen, 5-star pro-style quarterback; 6'2.5", 185 lbs
2013 Stats: 186-of-272 for 2,535 yards, 29 touchdowns and 10 interceptions
Once the nation's top quarterback prospect commits, the need to recruit further at the position takes a back seat to other positional wants across the board. Ranked as the 15th overall player nationally and the top quarterback, Allen serves as a jewel commitment for A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin and should immediately compete for the starting role once Johnny Manziel moves on to the NFL (whether that be this or next season).
Varshaun Nixon, 4-star all purpose back; 5'9", 185 lbs
2013 Stats: 252 carries for 1,741 yards and 24 touchdowns; 30 receptions for 359 yards and 3 touchdowns
Considering Texas A&M's slew of young talent at running back, including sophomore studs Trey Williams, Tra Carson and Brandon Williams, the A&M coaching staff has not attacked the position on the recruiting trail heavily. Nixon acts as an ideal kickoff and punt returner due to his experience in those roles, and any further additions at running back would mark a surprise.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Joshua Reynolds, 3-star wide receiver; 6'2.5", 185 lbs
2013 Stats: 44 receptions for 782 yards and 12 touchdowns
Jamal Jeffery, 3-star wide receiver; 5'9", 168 lbs
2013 Stats: 28 receptions for 413 yards and 4 touchdowns
Speedy Noil, 5-star wide receiver; 5'10.5", 176 lbs
Frank Iheanacho, 4-star wide receiver; 6'7", 220 lbs
2013 Stats: 44 receptions for 652 yards and 16 touchdowns
After recruiting the nation's top wide receiver class last offseason, Sumlin and his staff have been somewhat picky with offers to wideouts. As such, top-flight talents Speedy Noil and Frank Iheanacho remain the key players left on the board, and the Aggies are in the running for both.
At the Jan. 2 Under Armour All-America Game, Noil announced his decision to join A&M over fellow SEC West powerhouse LSU, per gigem247.com.
Meanwhile, Iheanacho committed to the Aggies just days later, sealing his offer during the Army All-American Bowl. The monster wide receiver will allow the Aggies another dangerous threat at the position, especially with Mike Evans bolting for the NFL sometime in the next two seasons.
Braden Smith, 4-star offensive guard; 6'6", 290 lbs
Nick Gates, 3-star offensive guard; 6'4", 270 lbs
Jermaine Eluemunor, 4-star JUCO offensive tackle; 6'5", 300 lbs
Avery Gennesy, 4-star JUCO offensive tackle; 6'5", 307 lbs
Zach Ledwik, 4-star offensive tackle; 6'4.5", 271 lbs
Koda Martin, 3-star offensive tackle; 6'6.5", 245 lbs
Kealvin Davis, 3-star offensive tackle; 6'4.5", 247 lbs
Over the course of the past few seasons, A&M has established a reputation for excellence at the offensive line, with notable athletes Luke Joeckel, Jake Matthews and Cedric Ogbuehi having traveled through the program.
Unfortunately for Sumlin, his predecessor, Mike Sherman, was key in their recruitment, but the second-year head coach is looking to continue Sherman's legacy by snaring top talent at the position.
As such, the Aggies already have five prospects locked down and three more possible commitments in the works. Junior college talents Eluemunor and Gennesy look to be immediate-impact-type athletes, while Martin, Ledwik and Davis have definitive development required.
Myles Garrett, 5-star defensive end; 6'4", 240 lbs
2013 Stats: 88 total tackles, 39 tackles for loss, 20.5 sacks
Qualen Cunningham, 4-star defensive end; 6'4", 220 lbs
DeShawn Washington, 4-star defensive tackle; 6'3", 277 lbs
Jarrett Johnson, 4-star defensive end; 6'3", 226 lbs
Zaycoven Henderson, 4-star defensive tackle; 6'1", 280 lbs
Following a rough season at the defensive front, the A&M coaching staff has shown a focused attack on picking up pass-rush-type defensive linemen. The results have been stud prospects Myles Garrett and Qualen Cunningham committing to the Aggies, giving the opportunity for immediate improvement in the quarterback pressure department.
Additions of DeShawn Washington and Jarrett Johnson will prove key as well, as they will give further depth to a unit desperately in need of it.
Edwin Freeman, 4-star outside linebacker; 6'0.5", 212 lbs
Kenny Young, 4-star inside linebacker; 6'2", 220 lbs
Hoza Scott, 4-star outside linebacker; 6'2", 225 lbs
Josh Walker, 4-star outside linebacker; 6'1", 220 lbs
With the emergence of Darian Claiborne this past year, a freshman who led the entire defense in tackles during the regular season, the Aggies have shown that, indeed, the best players will play, no matter experience. Both Hoza Scott and Josh Walker will have the same opportunity in terms of immediate impact, as each will provide superb talent to challenge the current group.
Kenny Young remains an unlikely commitment, considering the pressure for him to join in-state power LSU in Baton Rouge, but Edwin Freeman sits torn between A&M and longtime rival Texas. The addition of either—or both for that matter—would be huge for the linebacker corps.
Steven Parker, 4-star safety; 6'2", 188 lbs
Mattrell McGraw, 3-star safety; 6'0", 183 lbs
Nick Harvey, 4-star cornerback; 5'9", 175 lbs
Armani Watts, 4-star safety; 5'10.5", 179 lbs
Cedric Collins, 3-star cornerback; 5'10", 175 lbs
The A&M secondary struggled mightily this season despite owning top talent across the board with Deshazor Everett, De'Vante Harris and Noel Ellis. The coaching staff showed an obvious focus in going after some of the nation's best at both safety and cornerback, and in picking up Nick Harvey, were able to secure a solid future for the unit as a whole.
With sophomore punter Drew Kaser up for the Ray Guy Award and kicker Josh Lambo finding his rhythm midway through the season, the Aggies have been quiet in recruiting special teams athletes.