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April 26, 2013

AggieYell Mailbag

Each week, AggieYell.com's Jeff Tarpley and Mark Passwaters take reader questions and respond to them in the AggieYell Mailbag. Here's this week's sampling:

Q: I keep hearing that football ticket prices will skyrocket with the new stadium construction. What's your best estimate on how much we'll have to pay per game starting in 2014, as well as the donation that will be tacked on the ticket prices? (CHUCK70)

Tarp: No one has really released a best guess on that yet. However, let's look at it this way: suites will be going for seven and eight figure donations. If you are talking in the millions or in excess of ten million dollars for donations for a suite….and that's before the tickets kick in…you can imagine what kind of prices tickets will go for as well as the donations that permit you to even purchase said tickets.

There's a reason that high level A&M officials are telling people that it's time to step up financially because to see a game at Kyle Field, everything you have done financially in the past is out the window.

Q: We are riding a HUGE wave of potential (both on the field and in recruiting) that we haven't seen in a long time, if ever. The 3 way reasons for the success IMO are JFF, Sumlin (& staff) and success in the SEC. We know Johnny will be gone after next year. Assuming we meet expectations and blow everyone away next year, what are your realistic expectations for how long Sumlin will be around? I never want this party to end! (3s2ghill)

Tarp: Given the projected revenues from both Kyle Field and the SEC Network that will be flowing to A&M in the future, it's safe to say that A&M will be meet whatever financial demands Kevin Sumlin has going forward. The real question is does Sumlin want to coach in the NFL? If he does, then at some point the challenge of coaching at the highest levels of the game is going to outweigh whatever A&M can do for him financially. However, we may not know that answer for years (although Sumlin did talk to NFL teams this past off season).

Q: Who are the guys (outside of Matthews, Manziel,Everrett and Evans) that have a very good chance of getting drafted next year? (sml2007)

Mark: There aren't very many guys that are up for the draft from A&M next year, outside of the guys you mentioned. First, there's no certainty Evans will leave (for that matter, there's no certainty Manziel or Everett will, either), so that could cut down the draft-eligibles. Two guys that do come to mind, however, are Steven Jenkins and Kirby Ennis. Both guys will need to have strong senior years to ensure being picked, but they have the potential to do so. Ennis moves well for a big guy and performed well in his first season as a starter, so he's one to definitely watch.

They're not the only ones, though: Toney Hurd Jr. and Ben Malena also deserve consideration. Both may be a little undersized, but Hurd's a solid nickel corner who plays a physical brand of football that translates well to the NFL while Malena just flat out produced last year. Another season like that and it may be impossible to ignore him.

But, as it stands now, even if it's only Jake Matthews who gets drafted, the Aggies' streak of top 10 picks should continue.

With almost half of our offers going to out of state recruits, and a good deal of coaching time and expense being spent on national recruits, what kind of payback are you expecting from these investments in regards to our 2014 recruiting class? (3DMan)

Mark: At least some semblance of success. A&M started to recruit on a national level last year, and saw returns: They hit on guys from California (Sebastian Larue and Jeremiah Stuckey), Hawaii (Jeremy Tabuyo), Arizona via Tennesee (Cameron Clear) and two from Georgia (Tommy Sanders and JaQuay Williams -- though they were at school in Kansas and Virginia, respectively) -- to say nothing of the nice haul from Louisiana. Right now, the Aggies have no out of state commits, but they're in the mix for top-flight talent. Qualen Cunningham is considered to be a likely A&M commit at some point; the Aggies are now said to be in the top three for his teammate, offensive tackle Casey Tucker. The Aggies are one of the top candidates for the second-best tackle in the nation, Olathe (Kan.)'s Braden Smith. Those are three prime targets and would justify the any out of state recruiting -- even if you only got one of them. The Aggies are after some huge targets in Louisiana again this year, but it's time to consider that part of A&M's regular recruiting routine. That's going to happen on an annual basis, as it used to in the program's glory years.

Q: What's the latest on Daylon Mack after receiving the Alabama offer and delaying the announcement of his commitment? Still pretty confident he'll eventually commit to A&M, or is that up in the air now? (Dave2941)

Mark: You won't know for sure until he actually visits Tuscaloosa, but all indications are he remains very high on A&M. Odds remain extremely strong in the Aggies' favor for him, though you can never tell with a 16-year-old -- even one built like a house. Whoever gets him, however, will have an elite talent.

Q: If A&M has all the defensive line back from injury by the end of fall camp, what would the 2-deep look like for Rice? Also, what can we expect Alonzo to weigh at that time? (Chance23)

Mark: This is all conjecture, as we won't know for sure until Julien Obioha returns to the field but the two deep on the line will probably look something like this:

RUSH: Obioha, Tyrell Taylor
DT: Alonzo Williams, Justin Manning
Nose: Kirby Ennis, Isaiah Golden
DE: Gavin Stansbury, Brandon Alexander OR Justin Points

Putting Obioha at rush end may not be optimal, but it allows the Aggies to get their best four defensive linemen on the field at the same time. Also, Taylor can be potent as a pass rusher in limited snaps. Stansbury's strong spring makes this alignment a possibility, and he'll have to keep it up through the fall.

As for Williams -- he already weighs more than Spencer Nealy did last year. He could be in the neighborhood of 290 pounds by the time fall practice starts.

Q: What do you think we'll see from the offense in 2013 that we didn't see last season, other than McKinney's new running game wrinkles we saw in the Cotton Bowl? (Texag06)

Mark: New QB coach Jake Spavital is a very big fan of short, quick passes, so you'll probably see more of them than you did last year with Kliff Kingsbury calling the shots. There could be some more passes over the middle, as Evans will get snaps in the slot and Manziel is much more comfortable making those kinds of throws.

Q: What are A&M's chances with Solomon Thomas? How hard are we recruiting him? (Brohrer28)

Mark: That's a name that you haven't heard much about lately. With Cunningham, Jarret Johnson and Myles Garrett all with A&M in the lead and Deondre Clark, Gerald Willis III and Justin Thornton all seriously considering the Aggies, the coaching staff's focus seems better aimed elsewhere. So, to answer your questions, not very hard right now.

Q: Call your shot. Who is going to be the most unexpected contributor next season? You can't say "Askew". (Smasher200)

Mark: Buzzkill. Well, in that case, I'll take Kyrion Parker and Jeremy Tabuyo. Parker may end up starting, and Tabuyo has game-breaking speed that A&M will work to get on the field. He's largely overlooked in this big receiver grouping, but he could be dangerous.


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