Texas A&M Football Recruiting: 4 Former Blue-Chippers Who Will Shine in 2014
The cycle continues for the Texas A&M football program as players graduate and move on to the NFL, while new recruits are brought in to try to replace the departed talent. The Aggies have multiple top recruits who will break out and make a name for themselves during the 2014 season.
Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin and his staff have done a tremendous job of adding talent to the program since they arrived in December of 2011. The Aggie coaching staff has signed consecutive top 10 recruiting classes.
The Aggies are building the kind of depth needed to compete at an elite level in the SEC. In order to consistently compete on the field with LSU and Alabama, you need to be three deep at every position.
In 2012, the Aggies' first season in the SEC, they had great starters but nothing behind them on the depth chart. In 2013 their depth improved, but it was a very young team. In 2014 they should have improved depth and better experience across the board.
The Aggies are still going to be a young team, but the experienced gained during the 2013 season should pay off on the field in 2014.
This is a look at some former blue-chip recruits who will become difference-makers in 2014.
The single biggest issue facing the Aggie defense in 2013 was their lack of a pass rush from the defensive line. Daeshon Hall saw playing time as a true freshman in 2013. The 6'6", 243-pound defensive end flashed pass-rushing skills but did not have the requisite girth to hold up on the edge against SEC offensive linemen.
Hall was a 4-star recruit who was ranked as the No. 15 overall player in Texas by 247Sports when he signed with Texas A&M. He played in all 13 games as a true freshman and had 29 tackles with three tackles for loss and an interception.
Hall has a nice burst at the snap and was able to apply pressure from the edge in 2013. He just needs to add some size and strength in order to take his game to the next level.
Hall had surgeries on both of his shoulders, so he missed all of spring practice. He could have used that time in the weight room to build his upper-body strength, but he should still be better on the field in 2014.
The presence of Myles Garrett on the field should force teams to focus their attention away from Hall and allow him more opportunities to get to the quarterback. A year of experience under his belt and more talent throughout the defense should combine to allow Hall to make a bigger impact in 2014.
Ricky Seals-Jones appeared ready to have a breakout season as a freshman in 2013 before injuries forced him to the sideline. The 6'6", 230-pound wide receiver caught three passes for 81 yards and a touchdown in his first collegiate game against Rice.
A knee injury forced him off the field during the second game of the season, and he will take a medical redshirt for the year. Seals-Jones has the size and speed to be a mismatch for the defense no matter where he lines up.
He is too big for a defensive back to cover and too fast for a linebacker to keep up with. If he can stay healthy, he will probably only be in College Station for two more seasons because his skill set is very valued in the NFL.
The Aggie coaches experimented with Seals-Jones at tight end and H-back during the spring. They will move him all over the field in 2014 in order to get him the ball.
Seals-Jones was a 5-star athlete, according to 247Sports, and ranked as the No. 2 athlete in the country when he was in high school. Aggie fans should expect Seals-Jones to catch at least 40 passes and score eight touchdowns in 2014.
Trey Williams entered the A&M program in 2012 with high expectations. He was a 5-star recruit who was ranked as the No. 2 all-purpose back in the country by 247Sports.
Williams has had a positive impact on the field but has been held back by injuries and a lack of emphasis on the running game in 2013. Williams averaged 7.0 yards per carry in 2013 and scored six touchdowns, but he only had 58 carries.
Aggie running back coach Clarence McKinney called the plays in 2013. However, he often ignored the running game. He was demoted at season's end and now Jake Spavital is the offensive coordinator for the Aggies.
If Spavital features the running backs more as expected, then Williams will have a breakout year. If he can get closer to 100 carries on the season, then Williams will rush for 600 to 800 yards and have a major impact on the offense.
Williams is a junior, and it is time for him to deliver on his high school hype. As long as he can stay healthy and the coaches give him the ball, he should be one of the more explosive offensive weapons in the SEC in 2014.
DeVante Harris was a 4-star recruit who was ranked by 247Sports the No. 9 cornerback in the nation. The 5'11", 170-pound athlete has struggled with consistency and the physical play of the SEC since arriving on campus.
He has started at corner for two years but has yet to deliver the game-to-game performance expected out of a recruit of his pedigree. Harris has the kind of talent to play on Sundays, but he has yet to put it together for an entire season of Saturdays.
As Harris enters his junior season, the time for excuses is over. He is now one of the veterans on the team and has 24 games of experience under his belt.
Harris had 54 tackles with an interception in 2013. He improved on his tackling and was solid against the run. In 2014 he needs to take the next step in his development, become more consistent against the pass and play at an All-SEC level.
With improved pressure from the front seven in 2014, the Aggie secondary will not have to cover for five and six seconds like it did in 2013. This should help Harris and the rest of the Aggie defensive backs.
In 2014 he will put it all together on the field and become the player the Aggies thought they were getting when they recruited him out of Horn High School in Mesquite, Texas.