The State of Texas A&M Football is at a cross roads. Coming off a 4 win season in head coach Mike Sherman's first year, the Aggies are expected to finish last by many pundits in the Big XII South division in 2009.
The talent level on the A&M roster has eroded to the point where even Baylor and Oklahoma State are surpassing the Aggies in obtaining and developing top level athletes, not to mention perennial powers Oklahoma and Texas.
How the proud university's football program got to this point is a topic for another day, but in their current state, how will Texas A&M be able to sell their program to promising young high school athletes who will be offered to play at much more successful football institutions than theirs?
The answer to date has been to tell the recruits about the benefits of playing in a Pro Style offense and defense, under a former NFL head coach and coordinator, and that early playing time opportunities will be plentiful.
How successful has this tactic been, even coming off the 4 win season? It has been surprisingly effective for coach Sherman and his staff, to the point where they are looking at a 2010 recruiting class that could be ranked in the top 10 in the nation.
The Aggies recently received their 20th verbal commitment for the 2010 recruiting class, and it was a headliner to an already impressive list.
Jake Matthews, a 6 foot 5 inch 275 pound offensive lineman, gave his verbal confirmation to the A&M staff on Tuesday, July 28th. Does his last name sound familiar? He is the son of NFL Hall of Fame lineman Bruce Matthews from Houston Oiler fame.
Jake is rated a four star recruit, and among the top 10 OT's in the nation. He will follow his brother Kevin at A&M, who is a senior starting center on the team.
A top 100 prospect, Matthews is one of seven 4 star athletes in the Texas A&M 2010 class, including two other offensive lineman, an area of need that the Aggies have addressed in their last two recruiting classes.
Luke Joeckel and Cedric Ogbuehi are those two other talented OT's A&M landed.
The other position that A&M needed to improve talent and depth in is at linebacker, and they scored a huge verbal commitment from Corey Nelson out of Dallas, another top 100 national prospect.
Running back Ben Malena is another 4 star recruited to the Aggies of note.
Between the 2009 recruiting class at A&M, ranked a Top 25 class in the nation, and the 2010 class noted here, Mike Sherman and staff have gone a long way to bolster the offensive line, linebacker, and receiving corps with top talent.
They have also maintained elite talent at the running back position, which has been a traditional area of strength, and should have continued success at quarterback.
One unit that could use more attention would be the secondary, but the past two years of overall talent influx into the program has brought about plenty to be hopeful about for the future of Texas A&M football.
Recruiting is the beginning, and an integral component of a program's on the field success. It's tough to compete with the top teams in the Big XII South, let alone the elite programs in the nation, but A&M has wrestled some of these top recruits from the likes of Florida, Oklahoma, USC, Texas, and LSU.
If they can continue this frenzied recruiting pace, and then develop this top talent in to All Conference type performers, Mike Sherman very well could have the Aggies back in the conference and national scene.
So watch closely, Aggie fans, and take heart. Your team could be on the upswing soon. Besides, there's not much other direction to go from here.