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December 3, 2012

A&M's WR commits: school's best ever?

When Texas A&M's coaching staff started to assemble its 2013 recruiting class, they knew wide receiver would have to be a priority. Not only would the Aggies lose the school's all-time leader in pass receptions (Ryan Swope), they would lose a four-year starter (EZ Nwachukwu) and two others (Kenric McNeal and Brandal Jackson). Behind them would be a largely untested group, led by redshirt junior Malcome Kennedy and redshirt sophomore Mike Evans.

In other words, wideout depth was an issue. The Aggies have responded by putting together likely the largest and best receiver class in school history -- even before the nation's top prospect at the position, Sealy's Ricky Seals-Jones, makes his choice known.

In an offense that likes to use four and five-receiver sets and rotate them in waves, depth is a must. With the 2014 group, the Aggies are bringing in a group that fills every need: height, quickness, agility and flat out speed. Here's a closer look at each member of the committed wideout group as it currently stands:

JaQuay Williams, Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy: At 6'3", 205, Williams unquestionably fits the bill as a big target; but he's also fast, running a 4.5 second 40-yard dash. He's a long strider with good body control and solid hands, making him an excellent compliment to Evans on the outside. His abilities have not gone unnoticed: he committed to Auburn last year when he had 15 offers, including ones from LSU, Michigan and Ohio State; this time around, he had offers from South Carolina and Georgia, to name a couple.

Derrick Griffin, Rosenberg Terry: The first wideout to commit to A&M for the 2013 class, Griffin is rated the third-best receiver in the nation by Rivals.com. He's a unique kind of player at 6'6", 215 lbs. Griffin is virtually unstoppable on lob passes or back shoulder stop routes, plays that Evans has been particularly potent on this year as well. He's still an emerging receiver, but is already a ferocious blocker -- another big thing in A&M's offense.

Quincy Adeboyejo, Cedar Hill: At 6'3", 175, Adeboyejo is not as big and physical as Williams or Griffin, but he's been more productive this year. Adeboyejo has exploded onto the scene this year with 70 catches for more than 1,000 yards and 14 touchdowns -- but A&M was ahead of the curve and had locked him down. While not as physical as Griffin or fast as Williams, Adeboyejo is more than sufficient in both areas and has worked hard to become a strong pass-catcher. He's also more elusive than the other outside receivers and finds ways to get open. He may be the most prepared to make an immediate impact.

Kyrion Parker, Manvel: Somewhat overlooked, Parker could end up being the best receiver of a loaded class. Another big body at 6'3", 190 lbs., Parker caught 42 passes for 900 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior. Before committing to A&M, he was a commit for a short time to LSU and received an offer from Oklahoma, an indication the Aggies staff was not the only group impressed by him. Though he didn't play as a junior, Parker showed he was more than a big, fast wideout: he ran strong routes, caught the ball well and showed elusiveness as well. He's also a good blocker. Coming out of a spread offense at Manvel, he could also be counted on to see the field quickly.

Cameron Echols-Luper, Auburn (Ala.) High: A pure speedster with an excellent football pedigree, Echols-Luper was primarily a running quarterback at Auburn High and a track star in the spring. Echols-Luper will be used as a slot receiver at A&M, where his speed will be used to create mismatches on crossing patterns and seam routes. Already 6' and 195 lbs., Echols-Luper is similar in size to Ryan Swope and will have to undergo the same acclimation process. But, like Swope, his history as a runner should translate into him being a receiver unafraid of contact.

Laquvionte Gonzalez, Cedar Hill: Possibly the most unique wideout prospect in the country, the 5'10", 150-lb. Gonzalez defies comparison to any other recruit. In fact, the best comparison may be to Trey Williams. not just in terms of stature but in terms of sheer elusiveness. As Williams was last year, Gonzalez is probably the most agile player in the nation. He's done most of his damage as a running back -- he ran for more than 1,200 yards and 25 touchdowns this season -- but the Aggies seem him as causing all kinds of problems as a slot receiver. It wouldn't be a shock if he's used out of the backfield as well, catching short passes on the edge to get him room to maneuver.

Jeremy Tabuyo, Honolulu (Hawaii) St. Louis: The "Flyin' Hawaiian"'s weapon is simple: speed. The 5'11", 180-lb. Tabuyo runs a 4.3 second 40-yard dash, and A&M plans to put that speed to work in the slot. The Aggies have already told him he'll be making the move inside with plans similar to what they have for Echols-Luper: get him the ball fast and let his speed do the rest.


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