Texas A&M National Signing Day: 4 Takeaways from the Aggies' Class

Michael Taglienti@@miketag98Featured ColumnistFebruary 4, 2014

Texas A&M National Signing Day: 4 Takeaways from the Aggies' Class

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    Eric Gay/Associated Press

    The Texas A&M football coaches are going to sign a top-five recruiting class on national signing day. Aggie head coach Kevin Sumlin and his staff have done an excellent job of addressing the needs on the team. 

    Recruiting is the lifeblood of a football program. Before a team can be great on the field, they need to be great on national signing day. 

    College football recruiting is not an exact science. No one can predict with certainty whether a 17-year-old kid is going to want to attend class in three years. However, it is possible to identify kids even at that young age who have the talent to play in the NFL. 

    The Aggies were able to sign some of those "can't miss" prospects. Now the fans have to be patient and let the coach develop all these recruits into a winning football team on the field. 

    This is a look at some things we have learned from the 2014 signing class. 

Texas A&M Is the Big Dog When It Comes to Recruiting in Texas

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    Dave Martin/Associated Press

    Texas A&M head football coach Sumlin has taken over recruiting in the state of Texas. This was never more evident than in 2014 when the Aggies took two of Texas' highest ranked recruits away from the Longhorns. 

    Sumlin was able to convince Zaycoven Henderson and Otaro Alaka to switch their commitments from Texas to Texas A&M. In doing so, A&M added some much-needed depth to their defense while taking two of the highest ranked recruits in Texas' class away from them. 

    The Aggies are the only team in the state who is bringing in a top-15 recruiting class, according to 247sports.com. Sumlin is landing the elite prospects in the state like Myles Garrett and adding elite out-of-state prospects like Kyle Allen

    Sumlin and his staff have been able to parlay the Aggies' presence in the SEC into making College Station the place to be for top recruits in Texas. 

Kevin Sumlin Will Identify and Address Needs

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    Nothing is more frustrating to football fans than watching a team make the same mistakes year after year. When Sumlin took over as head coach at A&M, he identified the issues on the team and set about fixing them. 

    Sumlin knew the Aggies had to get bigger and better on the defensive line. He signed six defensive linemen in the 2013 class. The Aggies struggled to establish a pass rush and had poor safety play in 2013. 

    Sumlin and the A&M staff signed three defensive ends and two safeties in the 2014 class. They will be able to generate a pass rush from their front four in 2014. They will also have more depth at safety. 

    The Aggies return both starters at defensive end and both starters at safety in 2014. Aggie fans should not be surprised to see none of those four players starting the opening game against South Carolina in August. Texas A&M has had a talent upgrade at both positions. 

The Aggie Defense Will Be Better in 2014

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    The 2014 version of the Texas A&M defense will be a much improved group over the 2013 defense. The 2013 defense was one of the worst in the country

    The Aggies had one of the worst pass-efficiency defenses in the country in 2013 because they could not get pressure on the quarterback from their front four. That will change in 2014. 

    The top defensive end in the country will sign with the Aggies on national signing day when Myles Garrett puts his pen to paper. Garrett is an explosive pass-rusher off the edge. He registered 20.5 sacks as a senior including 8.5 sacks in a single game.

    Garrett tied the Under Armour All-Star game record with four tackles for loss. He will see playing time immediately in 2014 and will impact games from the defensive end position. 

    The Aggies are also adding defensive ends Qualen Cunningham and Jarrett Johnson. The three will combine to improve the defensive end play for the Aggies by leaps and bounds. 

    An improved pass rush coupled with more experience at the defensive tackle position will lead to a much better defensive line play in 2014. More pressure from the front four and more athleticism at the safety position will result in a much better pass defense in 2014. 

The Offensive Train Will Keep on Rolling

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    Aggie WR Speedy Noil at The Opening
    Aggie WR Speedy Noil at The OpeningSteve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

    The Aggies lost multiple All-Americans from their 2013 offense. The 2014 offense will still be explosive because Sumlin and his staff continue to bring elite talent to Aggieland. 

    Sumlin added multiple instant impact players on the offensive side of the ball in the 2014 class. Kyle Allen was ranked as the No. 1 quarterback in the country by 247sports.com and is currently on campus working out with the team. 

    Speedy Noil is the top-ranked wide receiver in the country and is also on campus working out with the team. He will use his explosive speed to compete for the starting spot at slot receiver opposite from Malcome Kennedy.

    Frank Iheanacho is a matchup nightmare for defensive coordinators. The Aggies lost Mike Evans to the NFL but have found a recruit who followed in Evans' basketball to football footsteps in Iheanacho. Like Evans, Iheanacho will use his imposing 6'6" frame to outmuscle opposing defensive backs. 

    Iheanacho will see playing time for the Aggies at wide receiver in 2014. He and 2013 recruit Ricky Seals-Jones will form an imposing receiving duo against SEC secondaries in 2014. 

    The Aggies signed junior college offensive linemen Jermaine Eluemunor and Avery Gennesy to compete for the open right tackle position. They will provide depth on an offensive line that will again be one of the better lines in America.