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Senior QB Matt Joeckel is among those vying to replace Johnny Manziel as Texas A&M's quarterback.
Offense was not Texas A&M’s problem last fall. Behind 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, the Aggies could score with anyone. Manziel threw for 4,114 yards with 37 touchdowns against 13 interceptions, adding 759 yards rushing and nine rushing scores.
A&M finished fifth nationally in scoring offense (44.2 points per game), seventh in passing offense (353.3 yards per game) and fourth in total offense (538.4 yards per game).
But too often, the Aggies found themselves needing to outscore opponents. A&M yielded 32.2 points per game (95th nationally) and finished 109th in total defense, allowing 475.4 yards per game.
A young defense lost only two starters in safety Toney Hurd, Jr. and linebacker Steven Jenkins, but has been hampered by injuries and other issues this season. Rising sophomores Jay Arnold and Daeshon Hall have been sidelined by shoulder surgeries.
Starting defensive tackle Isaiah Golden and linebacker Darian Claiborne were suspended following arrests for marijuana possession and a noise violation, respectively. Claiborne also missed the Chick-fil-A Bowl following an arrest for marijuana possession.
In addition, sophomore safety Kam Miles, a projected starter, was dismissed from the team following a violation of team rules.
Defensive end signee Myles Garrett was rated as the nation’s No.1 end recruit by 247Sports, and defensive tackle early enrollee Zaycoven Henderson has stood out in spring drills. But questions abound.
Coach Kevin Sumlin and offensive coordinator Jake Spavital must also find Manziel’s replacement from rising senior Matt Joeckel, rising sophomore Kenny Hill and true freshman early enrollee Kyle Allen.
Hill has been suspended indefinitely following a recent arrest for public intoxication.
Joeckel, a pocket passer, started A&M’s opener last fall against Rice when Manziel was suspended and served as Manziel’s backup for the rest of the season. Allen was rated by 247Sports as the nation’s No. 1 dual-threat quarterback and No. 10 overall prospect.
If the Aggies can answer their quarterback and defensive questions, there are offensive weapons. Redshirt freshman wideout Ricky Seals-Jones was a 5-star recruit and caught a 71-yard touchdown pass in his first game last fall before suffering a knee injury that led to a redshirt.
He’ll be a top candidate to fill the void left by star Mike Evans, who left after his redshirt sophomore season for the NFL draft.