Texas A&M Football: Recapping the Biggest 2014 Offeseason News so Far
It has already been an eventful 2014 offseason for the Texas A&M football team. The Aggies have had a lot of good news and some bad as the clock ticks down toward August 28.
There are a little over two months left until the Aggies kick off the 2014 season against South Carolina. The Aggies are not the same team they were at the end of May.
There have been dismissals and additions to the 2014 team. There has been a big swing toward the positive in recruiting momentum.
The Aggies have had an eventful month since finals ended. This is a look at the biggest stories during the offseason up to this point.
Golden and Claiborne Dismissed
The biggest news of the offseason up to this point has been the dismissal of starting linebacker Darian Claiborne and starting nose guard Isaiah Golden from the team. Claiborne and Golden were both charged with aggravated robbery for an incident involving a drug deal.
Claiborne and Golden were both sophomore starters who were among the best defenders on the team. Claiborne in particular was a very good linebacker with excellent instincts. He was arguably the best defender on the team in 2013 when he led the Aggies in tackles during the regular season.
Golden has the talent to play on Sundays and was going to be a big part of the Aggies' future plans on the defensive line. He registered 32 tackles with three tackles for loss as a true freshman in 2013.
The loss of these two starters is a pronounced blow to the Aggies' front seven. The Aggies have potential replacements for Golden on the defensive line in sophomore Hardreck Walker and true freshman Zaycoven Henderson.
The picture is much more murky at outside linebacker where Claiborne was expected to be a fixture for years to come. Aggies fans should expect senior Donnie Baggs to get a chance to prove he can get the job done. If Baggs is not up to the task, then A.J. Hilliard will likely start against South Carolina.
Kyler Murray Commits
The best news of the offseason came on May 28 when 5-star quarterback prospect Kyler Murray committed to Texas A&M. Murray is the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the nation according to 247sports.com.
The 5'11", 170-pound signal-caller accounted for 107 total touchdowns during his sophomore and junior seasons of high school. He is such a versatile playmaker that he carries a lot of weight in this recruiting class.
Multiple recruits are expected to follow Murray to Aggieland. Wide receiver Kemah Siverand committed to the Aggies one day after Murray made his pledge.
With Murray's pledge, the Aggies gained a top-flight offensive playmaker who resembles the departed Johnny Manziel. They assured their offense will remain explosive in the future and increased the chance of them landing another top-rated recruiting class.
Aggies Add DE Darrell Jackson
The Aggies coaches continued their relentless effort to improve their pass rush with the surprise addition of Darrell Jackson to the 2014 recruiting class. He is a 6'5", 227-pound defensive end from Blinn junior college.
Jackson went to Blinn as a 6'4" safety prospect but quickly grew out of the position. He redshirted at Blinn in 2013 and caught the attention of the Aggies coaches who were watching the 2014 spring practices in Brenham, Texas.
The Aggies offered Jackson, and he signed on the spot. He has four years of eligibility left. Aggies fans should expect him to contribute on special teams in 2014 and possibly in pass-rushing situations.
The addition of Jackson is just a sign that the Aggies coaches recognize when they have a problem and will make every effort possible to fix it. It is in a similar vain to head coach Kevin Sumlin's move to name Jake Spavital the offensive coordinator before the bowl game.
The Aggies had a top-five offense under offensive coordinator Clarence McKinney. However, Sumlin knew the offense was not firing on all cylinders, so he made the change to be even better. Sumlin will not settle for great; he wants extraordinary.
Aggies Continue to Own DL Recruiting in Texas
Head coach Kevin Sumlin and the Aggies continued their recruiting dominance of the defensive tackle position in the state of Texas. Shortly after Isaiah Golden was dismissed from the team, the Aggies received a verbal pledge from defensive tackle Kingsley Keke.
The 6'3", 290-pound defensive tackle was a second pledge at the position in the 2015 class. The Aggies had already received a commitment from 5-star defensive tackle Daylon Mack.
You win in the SEC by winning the battle in the trenches. Ever since Sumlin took over in Aggieland, the Aggies have done a great job of adding talented depth to the defensive line. That has continued in the 2015 class with the commitments of Mack and Keke.
The Aggies have recruited Jay Arnold, Justin Manning, Hardreck Walker, Zaycoven Henderson and DeShawn Washington to play defensive tackle. They have scooped up all of the top defensive tackle talent in the state. That trend appears to be continuing in the 2015 class.