Texas A&M Football: Predicting the Depth Chart Heading into Fall Camp
The Texas A&M football team will have more depth in 2014 than it has had during its first two seasons in the SEC. The 2014 campaign will mark the first time the Aggies will be two-deep at almost every position.
In order to be an elite team in the SEC you need to be three-deep at every position. The physical nature of the league means that no one will go the entire season without losing starters to injury.
This issue is especially apparent on the offensive and defensive lines. You need to be strong up front in order to win games in the SEC. That means that you need to be able to rotate defensive linemen throughout the game and not experience any drop-off on the offensive side when there are injuries.
The Aggies are not three-deep yet, but they are getting closer. Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin and his staff have done an excellent job of bringing in talent to Aggieland. The fans will begin to see the results on the field in 2014.
This is a look at what the Aggies depth chart will look like when they head into fall camp.
The quarterback position is still up for grabs. True freshman Kyle Allen left spring practice listed on top of the depth chart with sophomore Kenny Hill behind him.
Allen and Hill were even in their competition during the spring, but Hill's suspension following an arrest for public intoxication pushed him back on the depth chart. They will both be given a chance to win the starting position during fall camp.
Hill completed 16 of 22 passes in 2013 for 183 yards and a touchdown. He has a year of experience on Allen. Hill also offers the Aggies a running component that Allen does not.
Allen and Hill have spent the summer playing in seven-on-seven games with their teammates. Allen will enter fall camp listed as the No. 1 quarterback, but the starter for the 2014 season will not be decided until halfway through camp.
The Aggies have three excellent junior running backs returning in 2014. Trey Williams, Tra Carson and Brandon Williams all return after having solid sophomore years in 2013.
Carson will enter fall camp as the starter at running back. He is the best blocker of the three. He can run the ball and catch passes, but his blocking is what sets him apart.
Trey Williams and Brandon Williams both have the speed to score every time they touch the ball. They are both adept at catching the ball out of the backfield and both can line up in the slot when asked.
The Aggies are three-deep at running back and will enter the 2014 season with as much talent there as any team in the country not named Alabama.
Expect Carson to enter fall camp atop the depth chart, followed by Trey Williams and then Brandon Williams.
The Aggies have four receivers in their base formation. The two starters on the outside will be Ricky Seals-Jones and Josh Reynolds. In the slot, Malcome Kennedy and Speedy Noil will enter fall camp as the starters.
Aggie fans should not expect much movement at these positions. Those four receivers are the best on the Texas A&M roster, and it is doubtful that anyone will overtake them before the season opener.
Backing up those four will be Edward Pope and Kyrion Parker on the outside, with Sabian Holmes and LaQuvionte Gonzalez in the slot.
True freshmen Frank Iheanacho and Jamal Jeffery will be given a look during fall camp. Iheanacho will likely find his way on the field in the red zone. Do not be surprised to see the 175-pound Jeffery redshirt in order to gain weight.
The tight end position is a relatively easy one to sort out for the Aggies. Cameron Clear returns for his senior season and is the only legitimate tight end the Aggies currently have on their roster.
He will be listed as the No. 1 tight end when fall camp begins. Junior Brandon Alexander will be listed as the backup, but he is a converted defensive end who will mostly be used on special teams.
Aggie fans should not be surprised if incoming offensive line recruit Koda Martin gets a look as a blocking tight end in 2014. If he is strong enough, he could be used in two-tight end formations as a true freshman.
The Aggies return four of their five starters from the 2013 offensive line. The starters heading into fall camp will be Cedric Ogbuehi at left tackle, Jarvis Harrison at left guard, Mike Matthews at center, Garrett Gramling at left guard and Germain Ifedi at right tackle.
The right guard spot has not yet been decided, but Gramling is a senior who performed well in two starts at left guard in 2013. He should get the benefit of the doubt when fall camp begins.
The second-team offensive line will be Avery Gennesy at left tackle, Jeremiah Stuckey at left guard, Ben Compton at center, Jermaine Eluemunor at right guard and Joseph Cheek at right tackle.
This is the first year since Sumlin and his staff arrived that the Aggies could experience some injuries on the offensive line and not have a huge drop-off in play when playing the second-team linemen.
Do not be surprised if Gennesy works his way into the starting lineup at right guard before the opener.
The biggest improvement on the Texas A&M football team that should be noticeable to fans will be on the defensive line. The Aggies defensive line is two-deep with SEC-level talent.
The starters going into fall camp will be Julien Obioha at strong-side defensive end, Alonzo Williams at defensive tackle, Zaycoven Henderson at nose guard and Daeshon Hall at weak-side defensive end.
The backups will be Jay Arnold at strong-side end, Justin Manning at defensive tackle, Hardrick Walker at nose guard and Myles Garrett at weak-side end.
Garrett and Hall will compete for the starting spot on the weak side throughout fall camp. Do not be surprised to see incoming freshman Qualen Cunningham earn playing time there also.
Jarrett Johnson may get a look at strong-side defensive end. Arnold was fluctuating between strong-side defensive end and defensive tackle, depending on the coaches' needs. With Gavin Stansbury leaving the program due to personal reasons, expect Arnold to spend most of his time at defensive end.
If Manning or incoming freshman DeShawn Washington prove capable at defensive tackle, do not be surprised to see the Aggies slide Williams out to strong-side defensive end against the more physical teams like Alabama and LSU.
The Aggies will have a completely new group of starters in 2014 compared to who started at linebacker in 2013. The starting lineup when fall camp begins will be Shaan Washington at strong-side linebacker, Jordan Mastrogiovanni at middle linebacker and Donnie Baggs at weak-side linebacker.
The backups will be A.J. Hilliard at strong-side linebacker, Reggie Chevis in the middle and Tommy Sanders on the weak side. The Aggies do not have the depth at this position that they would prefer.
Sanders, who is 6'2" and 220 pounds, does not have the requisite size to be a linebacker in the SEC. Chevis has the size at 6'1", 255 pounds, but he still struggles in pass coverage.
Incoming freshmen Otaro Alaka and Josh Walker will get a serious look from the coaches during fall camp. If they can help, do not be surprised to see them move into the two-deep.
The Aggies enter the 2014 fall camp with great depth at cornerback but suspect depth at safety. The starting four in the secondary entering fall camp will be Deshazor Everett at cornerback, Howard Matthews at strong safety, Floyd Raven at free safety and De'Vante Harris at cornerback.
The backups will be Victor Davis and Tavares Garner at corner, with Jonathan Wiggins and Clay Honeycutt at safety. Safety is a position where a true freshman could earn a starting spot.
If Nick Harvey proves that he is capable at the position, do not be surprised to see the coaches put Raven on the bench and start Harvey at free safety.
The Aggies have a lot of depth at corner with Alex Sezer and Noel Ellis also seeing a lot of playing time in 2013, but they are extremely thin at safety. They need Harvey and fellow freshman Donovan Wilson to make an impact in 2014.