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June 7, 2013

AggieYell Mailbag

It's time for this week's edition of the AggieYell Mailbag to send you into the weekend the right way.

Q: With the committment of Kyle Allen....how much input did Spavital have in getting his "type" of QB? Does Kyle Allen fit Spavital's style of football? (sml2007)

A: Since Kevin Sumlin's arrival, selecting targets at quarterback has largely been left to the quarterbacks coach. Kliff Kingsbury had most of the responsibility for it last year, and Jake Spavital has it this year. They're both looking for guys who fit into the (largely similar) system, so yes, Allen is a good fit. He's a tall guy who can see the field and makes quick decisions. He's also very accurate, which hits on three things Spavital wants in his passers. Mobility is nice, but not a requirement. Spavital recruited Allen and had him number one on the list for 2014, and got him.

Q: OK not football, does Rob Childress get another year or does Hyman replace him now? (bqdrummer1)

A: Haven't heard one iota of noise about replacing Childress. He's here for next year at the very least.

Q: Are Allen and Andrews just teammates or good friends? Have they talked about playing together at the next level? What are A&M's chances of signing Andrews? (stormnorm)

A: They have been "best friends forever" according to an interview the two gave to the Arizona State site a few months ago, and they have discussed the idea of playing together at the next level. Andrews, however, doesn't appear to be ready to give a quick commitment. A&M's going to have to deal with ASU, Ohio State and Notre Dame, just to name a few, to get him. But having his best friend and quarterback under wraps sure boosts A&M's chances.

Q: I'm going to keep this going since y'all nailed it last week. Who will be the next commit and when? (TGun97)

A: Let's go with 2015 stud Daylon Mack. It sure looks like he's going to pull the trigger soon, maybe as quickly as next week. If it's anyone else, it will come out of left field (see Allen, Kyle).

Q: Is there any chance one of the Willams sees the field as an inside/slot receiver. Seems like Trey would be a good one. (etsaggie)

A: I'm not a fan of this idea at all and I don't think the coaches are, either. There are plenty of ways to get the ball in the hands of Trey and Brandon Williams without putting them in a position they're not familiar with. Outside of maybe doing it once or twice a game just to provide a matchup problem or two, they'll be catching a lot of passes out of the backfield.

Q: I've assumed we had very little chance of getting Tony Brown or Solomon Thomas. Has there been some change in their level of interest? How do you rate our chances? (Lesser IQ)

A: I'd agree with your assumption. A&M would certainly love to have both (Brown especially), but the level of interest from both for several months has been lukewarm at best and A&M has other targets they've moved ahead of them on their list (especially at defensive end). Brown is a heck of a talent, but A&M has other irons in the fire and will survive if he doesn't end up in College Station.

Q: Is JFF's mechanics going to be an issue that materializes with NFL scouts? Although he continues to work with GW, he seems to still have a non-protypical QB throwing motion with the leg whip and helicopter release. (agbq89inva)

A: For some foolish ones, yes. But his motion isn't really that bad and the most important issues are release and accuracy, and those are already good (release especially). You'll hear some scouts and talking heads downgrade him because of a comparison to another quarterback, but that's silly: there's never been one quite like this guy.

Q: Our OL recruiting is a little worrisome. Only one in this class. How do you see this going for 2014? 2015? Is this a position the staff feels some pressure to fill? (aggdoc)

A: More like two in this class, with J.J. Gustafson coming in the spring of 2014. Currently, A&M is in good shape with Koda Martin of Manvel, who they targeted months ago; they're also among the leaders for two out of state standouts, Casey Tucker and Braden Smith. Those three are the main targets for 2014, and they should be -- Tucker and Smith are both Rivals 250 guys and Martin's upside is tremendous. As for the 2015 kids, we'll know more in a couple of weeks after camps are done.

Q: What do you think about Tobyn Tannehill? Do you think he is an option for us, if even at receiver? (ETEXAG)

A: At this point, no. His numbers from last year (113-221, 1,778 yards, 14 TD, 11 INT) aren't exactly overwhelming, and he's going to have to hit on a much higher percentage to get Spavital's attention. If he has a strong start to his junior season, that may alter the equation. But right now, the only thing he really has going for him is his name -- at least, as far A&M's concerned.

Q: Will the commitment of Arizona quarterback Kyle Allen have any sway to fellow Arizona blue chips, Cunningham and Tucker? (aggiehank)

A: Well, it sure can't hurt and having all three of them in Chicago this weekend for the 5-star Challenge doesn't exactly suck either. Allen's already starting to recruit Cunningham (he may not need much urging on that front), and odds are he'll be in Tucker's ear this weekend, if he hasn't been already.

Q: RC & Mike Clark emphasized cardio conditioning, functional strength, power, team speed. Doesn't matter if you bench press a dump truck if you can't get there. Much less over 4 quarters. Full credit to current staff, but like all great ideas it is only being resurrected, not invented. We fired RC for having plateaued and an old fashioned offense but clearly Aggieland is re-adopting the 80's philosophy on conditioning. (renz_man)

A: Both true and false, but more false than true. The concepts of conditioning are the ones that Larry Jackson learned at A&M and in the NFL, but the way they're approaching it is very different. When it comes to weight lifting, the weight levels are high, but the number of reps and time between reps has increased (reps) and decrease (downtime). It's painful, excruciating and obviously really tough -- but it works. There are also different cardio plans for different positions, much different from the one size fits all approach you saw in the past.

Q: What challenge does a w/r face in adjusting to the college game? Assuming they have 7 on 7 all summer long and fall camp. Just curious with so many high potential freshman coming in and the slow start that JaQuay had. (Richard23)

A: The first thing they need to be ready for is the quantum leap in the caliber of play. A lot of these guys are used to simply outclassing their competition because they're the best guys on the field. That's no longer the case, and that may come as a shock that they need to get over. Also, some teams have very simplified offensive schemes and minimal coaching, and it sure looks like that's the case with JaQuay Williams. There was a lot of work being done on his routes and cuts, but if there was a fly pattern, he'd go get it. One of the best things about 7-on-7 is that the receivers will not have the crash course JaQuay did; they'll be running the routes A&M wants them running all summer.

Q: Sumlin and the coaching staff must feel pretty good with the current recruiting class and this week's additions of Kyle Allen as the #1 QB and Jarrett Johnson and a top DE who we were head to head with tu and others.

The question is, specifically, what do you believe Sumlin's next steps with the class are, and have or will the tactics change on the remaining targets, and if so how? (tsip despiser)

A: I don't think it changes much of anything in terms of approach, except they can now add that they have the number one quarterback in the nation under wraps. They seemed to have pretty much homed in on their remaining targets for 2014, so they'll keep working on them with the occasional reminder that, hey, the current class you could join up with is pretty darned salty.

Q: Does being able to have one of the best recruiting classes in the nation increase the likelihood of keeping Sumlin long-term? (mluepnitz)

A: There is a guy over in Austin who was (and still is) derisively called "Mr. March" for cleaning up in recruiting. But that's not what's kept him there for 15 years; winning has. Right now, if you asked Sumlin, he'd tell you that nothing has been accomplished and there's no reason to boast about anything -- and that includes his current job status.

If he continues to win, Kevin Sumlin controls his own destiny and there's nothing else that anyone can say or do about it. His first love, by his own admission, is college football and coaching young men as they mature. But if someone shows up from, say, the Lions and offers him $35 million over five years and his family can be set for life by the time he's 55 -- what can you say to him except good luck?

Q: We've got the #4 DT this year, and the #1 DT next year. For this year, we're still recruiting Josh Frazier, but would we take anyone else? And who else/how many would we take in 2015?

A: Looking optimistically ahead two years, A&M will have Alonzo Williams, Isaiah Golden, Justin Manning, Hardreck Walker, Deshawn Washington and Daylon Mack under wraps (the last two potentially). Williams will be a senior; the next three, likely juniors. If A&M doesn't get Frazier, it's feasible they would move to the 2015 class and try to add someone like Duvonta Lampkin to go with Mack. As it stands on the '14 front, defensive tackle recruiting with the exception of Frazier is currently pretty quiet.

Q: With the addition of the top Pro-Style QB, does that help, hurt or not affect our chances with the top RB targets (Fournette and Mixon)? (BVOSUX)

A: No effect. Barring a miracle, neither's coming to A&M.

Q: What are then NFL prospects for our Seniors next year, my boy Kirby Ennis in particular? (Huntsvillehornet)

A: Always tough to tell a year out (look at the collapse of Jeff Fuller and the emergence of Ryan Tannehill), but we'll give it a go.

Ben Malena: Productive, does everything well, has stayed largely healthy. But he's undersized and some scouts question his speed and durability at the next level. Probably a mid-round pick right now, with running backs taking a beating in recent drafts.

Kirby Ennis: Big guy, smart guy, non-stop motor who has improved every single year. Has a desire to learn and get better. But getting in trouble didn't help his cause, and he needs to take advantage of a down year for SEC defensive tackles to get his name (and film) out there more.

Toney Hurd: Great nickel corner. Not sure how he translates to the NFL, but he should get a look somewhere.

Otis Jacobs: Lot of work to do.

Jake Matthews: Current top 5 pick.

Steven Jenkins: Have another year like last year or better and you're in Sean Porter territory (3rd to 4th round).

Nate Askew: Who knows?

Derel Walker: Got to get on the field and produce a lot in a hurry.

Nehemiah Hicks: He's got the body of an NFL player, but not the production. This system may make it tough for him to get into anything but the later rounds.

Q: What are the main needs for the team left to fill in the 2014 recruting class? (CHUCK70)

A: Offensive tackle, offensive guard, defensive end, rush end, one more corner (at least) and one more wideout (at least). I wouldn't mind an additional outside linebacker, either. Everything else is gravy.

Q: With the Kyle Allen commit are we done at qb for this recruiting class even though Stewart is not coming? Is Brandon Harris on the outside looking in? (Adam Dubya)

A: They're done and Harris is no longer an option. He pulled his own name out of the hat after Allen committed.

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