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July 22, 2013

Aggies start focusing on '15 prospects

-Texas A&M's final camp of the 2014 summer wrapped up yesterday but the emphasis within this camp and the others we've covered so far was on the 2015 class. The A&M staff used the camps almost strictly for evaluations although some prospects who had already been offered were able to take a tour of the campus and get some special treatment. With 24 offers out as of today, we've got a much better idea of where A&M is headed with the 2015 class.

-However, even though emphasis was placed on evaluations for the 2015 class, a few 2014 offers went out this summer based on their camp performances. The most notable of these was LaGrange's Zach Ledwik who chose A&M over Texas about a week after being offered by the Aggies in June. In addition, yesterday's camp included 2014 commits Cedric Collins Jr. of Dallas Skyline, Dylan Sumner-Gardner of West Mesquite, and Armani Watts of North Forney. Sumner-Gardner and Watts took part in drills while Collins acted as a quasi recruiter.

Finally, the big name in attendance at yesterday's camp was Arlington Martin four star defensive end Myles Garrett. He's not rated as such but I'll make the case that he's top prospect in the state as it's always hard to find edge rushers with his ability. In addition, defensive end is probably the top need in the 2014 class for A&M and Garrett has the physical tools to step in and play right away at the next level.

Garrett has been to A&M multiple times this year and always seems to be there for important recruiting events such as Sunday's camp. Almost everyone you talk concedes that the Aggies probably lead for Garrett. He told people there yesterday that he liked A&M a lot but that he was taking his time with the process and would visit A&M officially along with some other schools. For right now, A&M is in good shape with him but it looks like it's going to be an extended process for him.

-Refocusing on 2015, the Aggies have offered two quarterbacks in Allen's Kyler Murray and Stephenville's Jarrett Stidham. A&M leads for Stidham right now ever so slightly over Texas while Murray was at Dallas A&M Coaches' Night with his father, former A&M great Kevin Murray. Stidham has all of the physical tools and has displayed really good footwork and mechanics during camp appearances this summer; however, he has yet to play a single down of varsity football at the position (he was a receiver last season) while Murray led the Eagles to a state title. Murray is criticized for a lack of height but he's got a calm demeanor, great athletic ability, and a delivery that would make pro quarterbacks envious. One of them will probably wind up committing to A&M and there's no other prospects in the state at this time that are worthy of an A&M offer.

-Three in state running backs got offers: Katy's Rodney Anderson, Splendora's Jay Bradford, and Longview's Ja'Mychal Hasty. Anderson rushed for over 1,000 yards as a freshman and looks like an I formation back he plays at Katy with his 6 foot, 190 pound frame; however, he also plays in the slot and is a very good pass catcher who looks the ball into his hands and has great balance. Bradford is a patient runner who can shrug off tacklers but runs upright; you'll see multiple plays on film where people get a hand on Hasty and he will stumble and then just keep going. He's also got great lean and leg drive.

-Five receivers have been offered in the 2015 class; New Orleans' Tyron Johnson was at A&M's camp yesterday and did not participate since he had already been offered. We were able to see him at the Rivals Underclassman Challenge just a couple of weeks ago. Johnson has prototype size at 6 foot 2 and 180 pounds and although he dropped some passes early on he settled down after that. He gets off the line of scrimmage quickly and gets in and out of his breaks well. He told people at the camp that he liked the facilities and tweeted that "A&M was the best". Cedar Hill's DaMarkus Lodge is already considered best in show at the position in the state of Texas with his ability to catch everything and get separation.

Kemah Siverand of Cy Ridge impressed everyone at A&M's June camps with his fluid movement, physical build, and long arms which means he plays bigger than his size. Despite playing on a team that doesn't throw the ball a lot, he runs crisp routes. Arizona's Christian Kirk is a slot or running back who has excellent hands and a great change of direction. He's friends with 2014 A&M commit Kyle Allen. Also, don't forget A&M's only commit so far in the 2015 class in Clear Lake's Jordan Davis who's ideal to play the tight end/big slot role in A&M's offense and may well be a top ten prospect in the state. Finally, Prime Prep Academy receiver James Proche has consistently been one of the best wideouts on the camp circuit this summer and may find out if he has an A&M offer in the next few days.

-The Aggies offered two offensive linemen yesterday in Mesquite Horn's Connor Dyer and Rockwall Heath's Trevor Elbert. Note that they are the first two offers in the class at offensive line and are 6 foot 5, 280 pounds plus with great feet. A&M wants guys with big frames that can move their feet and can picky about their selection process; since they are the first two offers and that A&M bypassed a number of other guard prospects to do so, that tells you how highly regarded they are. Elbert was offered by Texas but says his top two are A&M and Alabama. Dyer has offers from Texas Tech, TCU, and Stanford and said "Everything was great," said Dyer. "They offered me before camp started so I just went on a tour of the facilities and all the upgrades look real good".

-The only two defensive linemen that A&M has offered so far are Gladewater's Daylon Mack and Shreveport's T.D. Moton. Moton has a long way to go before making a decision. Mack has had A&M out in front for a long time and twice was on the verge of committing to A&M before his parents asked him to wait. Mack had told us a while back that he would like an offer from LSU and he finally got one last week; after he got it, he told the LSU site that the Tigers were now "at the top of his list" with A&M. He is going to visit A&M, LSU, Florida State, and perhaps Alabama in the fall. It's not surprising that A&M now has a fight on its hands; that's what happens when you compete for five star caliber talent.

-The Aggies have offered four linebackers with Mesquite Poteet's Malik Jefferson, New Orleans' Arthur McGinnis, and Dallas Skyline's Anthony Wheeler being the top three that they have a shot at. Jefferson may be every bit as impressive as 2014 A&M commit Hoza Scott; he's got height, runs the relays in track, and covers people like he's a cornerback. It's probably an A&M/Texas battle for him. Jefferson said after yesterday's camp visit that "Everything at A&M was sexy".

McGinnis is an outside linebacker who has yet to be offered by LSU. Wheeler has played defensive end and linebacker but his size is more suited to playing in the back seven and he was impressive in coverage at the Rivals Underclassmen's Challenge.

-The 2015 defensive back class is not as top heavy as the 2014 class in the state of Texas. Nonetheless, you've got a really nice threesome of Whitehouse safety Justin Dunning, safety Deionte Thompson, and corner Kendall Sheffield. Sheffield and Thompson have height but are still growing into their bodies; Thompson is committed to Alabama while the other two indicate that they have a ways to go before making a decision.

Dunning may grow into a linebacker since he's already 6 foot 3 and 200 pounds. He's a centerfielder for the Wildcats who has great range and hitting ability. Both Sheffield and Dunning were at A&M's June camps. Sheffield was at Alabama as well while Dunning has been a hit on the camp circuit, using his skills to obtain offers from Oklahoma, A&M, Texas, Baylor, and Tech.

-One last thing: for those of you keeping score, Texas has offered every 2015 in-state prospect that A&M has offered yet the Aggies have only offered one of Texas' seven 2015 commitments (tackle Maea Teuhema). It's obvious that Texas is trying to target the 2015 class due to its lack of success in the 2014 class. However, in past years, Texas would target top highly regarded prospects and get commitments from them early to set a tone. Now, it looks like Texas is emphasizing numbers over quality on in order to jump start its class and they're doing it in the face of increasing competition for top shelf talent from SEC programs like Alabama, LSU, and Ole Miss. Even if the Horns manage to maintain their recruiting vis a vis other SEC programs, those programs are and will denude the remaining Big 12 programs to the point that quality of the conference…which is already in decline…will hurt Texas' strength of schedule and negatively impact the Horns anyway regardless of their won/loss record and place even more of a premium on non conference scheduling.


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