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January 24, 2014

AggieYell Mailbag

Here's the AggieYell Mailbag for a frigid third week of January, 2014:

Q: Where will the Spring game be held since Kyle Field will not be completed? (Pawpaw Sue)

A: That's still up in the air, but the likely location is Reliant Stadium in Houston. It's fairly close, will draw a big crowd and will give the recruits a pretty decent idea of how things would be at Kyle Field.

Q: Discuss the on campus safety positions. Please discuss who you think will play and who might get moved? Mostly discuss Wiggins and Davis and what you have heard about their progress. Is moving Everett the best option at this point? (fry)

A: Jonathan Wiggins has the size to play safety, but he showed last year he was pretty raw. Victor Davis may be back at corner, but after his struggles there in the fall, safety may be a better option for him. Deshazor Everett is one guy I wouldn't mind see making the move, but that's contingent on at least a couple of guys stepping up at corner. Howard Matthews, Clay Honeycutt and Floyd Raven all return and will get their shots at starting again, and Kameron Miles will be expected to get into the mix. Hopefully, there's a combination of two good safeties somewhere in that grouping.

Q: With Safety and LB's a top need in '15....who are the top targets and how do we rank with them? (boogman)

A: Safety could largely be taken care of by the end of the weekend, if the Aggies offer and get a commitment from Larry Pryor. They already have their first option at safety for 2015, Justin Dunning, under wraps. Three of A&M's top targets at linebacker will be in town this weekend (hopefully): Malik Jefferson of Mesquite, Arthur McGinnis of New Orleans Warren Easton and Anthony Wheeler of Dallas Skyline. All three are highly regarded and won't be quick commits anywhere, in all likelihood, but the fact that A&M has them coming (at least Wheeler and McGinnis are fairly certain; Jefferson probably will be there) is a good sign.

Q: With signing day just about 2 weeks away and A&M trying to fill out this class, several of our remaining targets are planning on announcing on signing day. Since that puts the coaches in a bind, do they in reality already know what the recruits are going to say that day and just allow the recruits the announcement drama? Do the recruits give/not give the silent commitment so coaches know how to scramble giving out the remaining scholarships or are they waiting with baited breath as we are? Just curious about the behind the scenes drama. (3Dman)

A: In nearly all cases, the coaches know in advance. In a lot of cases, several days in advance. In the case of Thomas Johnson and Daeshon Hall, for instance, A&M knew those guys were committing before they formally announced. Torrodney Prevot may have been a different case, because he struggled with decision before picking Oregon on signing day. A&M had a backup plan there, however: that scholarship went to TCU transfer A.J. Hilliard. While there's always a surprise or two, in most cases coaches are pretty tuned in to what's about to happen.

Q: Looking ahead to 2015, with how star packed the year is, do we save a couple of spots for mid term graduates that will count towards 2014, giving us more room in the 2015 class? Seems we have two early entries counting back to the 2013 class and a handful of our main targets left, so there potentially should be room for 2015 midterm guys to count towards 2014 if the coaches don't want to reach. (Wrckncrw)

A: The objective of the coaching staff is to fill this class out with 25 players if at all possible. That's one of the reasons you're seeing guys like Darrel Williams and Donovan Wilson in town this weekend; they're making sure they cover their bases and are seeing if they can get to 25. Wilson's at a need position while Williams isn't, but both could become viable options in the next two weeks depending on how things shake out.

Q: Class of '14--your guesstimate on: Biggest immediate impact? Biggest long-term impact? Biggest surprise impact? (Old Army 74)

A: Biggest immediate impact and long term impact, in my mind, are the same guy: Myles Garrett. If I can't pick him for both Kyle Allen becomes the biggest long-term impact, even if he doesn't beat out Kenny Hill this year. As for the biggest surprise impact, I'm going with either Josh Walker or Zack Ledwik. Walker attacks the football and Ledwik has the frame to be a bigtime left tackle.

Q: Justin Manning was a highly recruited DT coming out of high school, ranked about the same as Golden and even higher on some recruiting sites. How much of an impact will he make coming off of a RS year and why do you think he will/won't crack the 2-deep this season?

Same questions for RSJ. (Mattowander)


A: For RSJ, the answer's pretty simple: if he's healthy, he starts and is bigtime. He's already proven that in limited snaps. For Manning, I want to see how he's used. If he's used as a defensive tackle, like Alonzo Williams and Ivan Robinson, I think he's got a chance to crack the two-deep and possibly start this year. If he's at nose tackle, I think the weight difference (280 as opposed to 300) may take away from his quickness, and that's what made him special. Zaycoven Henderson's arrival makes it a lot easier to use Manning at DT, so it'll interesting to see how it shakes out in the spring.

Q: give us your best guess on our record next year? Best case scenario, worst case scenario? (BADASH)

A: Best case -- 11-2. Worse case -- 6-6. Too many cupcakes on the schedule to do much worse than .500. I think a record similar to this year is viable, with 2015 being the year A&M truly threatens everyone in the nation.

Q: As our recruiting becomes more national, will Sumlin swap out the Swagcopter for a Harrier Jet? (JCW AgMan)

A: No, for three reasons: 1) Where's he gonna park? I know it's V/STOL, but the jet blast would destroy every car in the parking lot. 2) Gas prices. Not what you need in the middle of a $450 million rebuild. 3) The government isn't selling those puppies to the public right now. Only Arnold gets to play with the Harriers.

Q: Do you think we will get Braden Smith or Gates? (Ag20)

A: In a strange reversal, I think it's more likely that A&M gets Smith than Gates. Neither's talking, and it's just a gut feeling, but I think Gates is going to Nebraska while Smith is still undecided and coming to town this weekend.

Q: Any reports on how Ishmael Wilson has looked this Fall on the scout teams/ Thanks (dichotomic)

A: We didn't hear a whole lot about him, but I do know the coaches were excited to see what he could do with a full year in the strength and conditioning program. He was the lineman with the most upside out of the 2013 class, so hopefully he'll get the opportunity to show what he can do starting in the spring.

Q: If Cedric Collins is a track guy as well and we know he cannot play football, why are we not offering a track scholly to free up a football scholly? (Cav82)

A: Because he's getting a medical scholarship, which will not count against the 85 anyway.

Q: If the LSU running back commit Williams commits do we lose Nixon. Thoughts? (darterbury)

A: I don't think he's going to flip to A&M and, if he does, the Aggies will have to sell Nixon on the idea that they have very different roles, as Trey Williams does from Tra Carson. The fact that they're having Williams in to visit shows they're willing to run the risk of losing Nixon anyway.

Q: Which RB gets the most carries this coming year?

How much impact does a productive first season by Hill or Allen effect Kyler Murray's decision? Is he the type that would commit knowing he'd likely be a year or two away from seeing the field?

I know all formed a perfect storm, but which individually effected A&M's recruiting the most in the last 2 years? tu downfall, JFF, Sumlin, SEC? (Ag4SEC)


1) Trey Williams. Just a hunch.
2) Nothing's going to scare Kyler Murray if he wants to come to A&M. He's already the best player in high school football as a junior, so why should he be scared?
3) The last three helped precipitate the first one. Sumlin and the SEC get the most credit, because the conference move gave new life to the program, Sumlin gave it a new spirit and started Manziel. And, to boot, Johnny leaves as possibly the most popular (and almost certainly most talked about) college player of all time.

Q: Will AJ Hilliard become a major contributor this year? Kid has size, descent speed, a yr of D1 exp (TCU) and will have another year plus learning our system. Also, what about Chevis? He def has SEC size and was considered a sure fire stud by many programs throughout the country when we got him. Will they both fill our LB void? (wavodano)

A: We didn't see much of Hilliard in the summer, so it's tough to really know what he brings to the party. With Mastrogiovanni and Chevis, I wouldn't be surprised if he's moved outside at some point, or at least looked at in that capacity. Chevis was too heavy last fall and needed to be in better shape; if he's better conditioned this spring, I'll be excited to see what he can do. When he lines someone up, he hits them like a truck.

Q: Could Brandon Williams ever be moved to WR? (Ag20)

A: I think he can be used occasionally in the slot, but overall that would be a waste. It's not a position he's familiar with, he'd have to learn how to run routes and get used to taking a hit he's not looking for. He's a quality running back and should stay there.

Q: You or Tarp mentioned in an earlier post that the rest of the west will be going through major adjustments next year as well. Quick overview of each team and their biggest challenges. Rank who has the most open questions? (3s2ghill)

A: 1) LSU. Talk about getting battered. The Tigers lose Zach Mettenberger, Jeremy Hill, Odell Beckham Jr., Craig Loston, Jarvis Landry, a couple of offensive linemen and d-linemen Anthony Johnson and Ego Ferguson. They didn't go five for five at the Under Armour Game, and missing out on Speedy Noil and (especially) Gerald Willis III could seriously hurt. QB Anthony Jennings was awful in the Outback Bowl, which could be a real issue. But LSU will rebound and rebuild; that's what they do.

2) Alabama. They lose A.J. McCarron, Cyrus Kouandjio, C.J. Mosley, Vinnie Sunseri and Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, to name just a few. McCarron's loss is the most painful, since there isn't a real heir apparent at quarterback. The Tide will need to look around a try to find one this spring and summer.

3) Auburn. Losing Tre Mason and Greg Robinson will seriously hurt a run-first team. It's up to Nick Marshall to run the show on his own now.

4) Arkansas. They're just not any good, and they're not getting much better.

5) Mississippi State. Just average on both sides of the ball, even though you know Dak Prescott's the unquestioned guy this year. But two questions: how much will the offense change with Les Koenning off to Austin, and do you really want Prescott to continue to get beat up the way he was this season?

6) Ole Miss. Bo Wallace just isn't a top-flight quarterback; their line isn't that good and their defensive depth remains an issue.

Q: I thought that Davion Hall enrolled early at Baylor but he is not listed as a mid-term signed commitment. What happened to him? (jmurchison)

A: He's at Baylor. They just haven't updated their site, I suppose.

Q: For 2015, how does it look for OL prospects with some SEC size??

Seems like we will sign some talent in 2014, but the HS kids are all in need of redshirts to add weight and muscle. That is always risky to rely on them to add 25-35 lbs quick enough to be ready for the SEC. (Ringdunker 93)


A: I don't think intention IS for them to add 25 to 35 lbs. quick. They want them to have a year, or two years, to prepare. That's why Avery Gennesy and Jermaine Eluemunor were brought on, to fill the time until Koda Martin, Ledwik, Tank Davis and J.J. Gustafson are ready to go. You have two more years of Joseph Cheek, another year of Ben Compton, four years of Ish Wilson and Joas Aguilar and three for Kimo Tipoti. Germain Ifedi isn't going anywhere for three seasons, unless you move him outside. In other words, you've got some choices to fill in for two years.

Now, for the '15 offensive linemen: A&M really likes Tevor Elbert and Connor Dyer. Elbert is already pushing 300 lbs. and Dyer is in the 280 range; in other words, bigger than the kids A&M has committed. Toby Weathersby is another big body who is up to 280 lbs. right now. These guys are all at a good weight as it is, but will still want a year of strength and conditioning before you throw them into the fire of the SEC.

Q: 1. Do you see Garrett and Harvey both starting or at least getting major playing time immediately? Compare them readiness wise to current players...Harvey/Jacobs/Harris....Garrett/Stansbury/Obioha

2. Do you see DeShawn Washington making an immediate impact with his speed off the ball or is he too small to handle SEC lineman right now and will need a redshirt year? (Dmac4408)


A: I see both guys getting immediate playing time. They're took good not to. Harvey is bigger and stronger than Harris, but not as tall as now-departed Otis Jacobs. Harvey is able to come right to the line and play physical with a receiver, while Harris likes to play off a little bit. Garrett, I don't believe, will be competing with Stansbury and Obioha; I think he starts at rush end from day one. He's got excellent size already and has freakish quickness and strength. There's a reason he was in the conversation for the best player in America -- he took the competition he saw at all levels and destroyed it in 2013. If he's half as successful in 2014, the Aggies will be very happy.

As for Washington, I think he could use a redshirt year, and with three guys ahead of him at both tackle positions, I believe he'll get it. That will help both the team and him in the long run.

Q: Obviously we'll know more after spring practice and especially fall, but could you give your best guess at a 2-deep lineup for the entire defense at this point? Include recruits you think we'll land (Dmac4408)

SDE: Stansbury, Obioha OR Jay Arnold
NT: Golden, Walker
DT: Robinson, Williams
RUSH: Garrett, Hall (both on passing downs)

SAM: Donnie Baggs, Shaan Washington
MIKE: Mastrogiovanni, Chevis
WILL: Darian Claiborne, Tommy Sanders

CB: Nick Harvey, Devante Harris
S: Kameron Miles, Deshazor Everett
Nickel: Noel Ellis

Q: I want to know how good Kameron Miles is? (Chadwheels)

A: You're not the only one.


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