AggieYell.com continues its countdown to the start of the 2014 season with its 30 players in 30 days feature on the most important players to Texas A&M's success for the upcoming campaign. The list continues with number 16, defensive end Julien Obioha.
Height/Weight: 6'4", 265 lbs.
2013 Statistics: 38 tackles, .5 TFL, 1 sack in 12 games (11 starts)
Why he's on the list: Entering his third year as a starter on the defensive front, Obioha is the most experienced member of the line. He's also back where he's most comfortable, at strong side defensive end.
2013 was not an enjoyable one for Obioha, who moved to Rush end, a position he was not comfortable playing, in order to help the team replace Damontre Moore. Still recovering from offseason surgery for most of the year, Obioha wasn't able to give the Aggies the production they needed as A&M struggled to pressure opposing quarterbacks. With the arrival of Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall having a full year in the strength and conditioning program, Obioha was moved back to the strong side this spring. Originally expected to split snaps with Gavin Stansbury, he is now the certain starter after Stansbury's quick departure this summer.
Obioha is certainly more comfortable on the strong side, and it showed this summer as he put on a solid performance in training camp.
Bigger than he's been during any point in his Aggie career at 265 pounds, he's also stronger and more capable of disengaging from larger offensive tackles to use his quickness to make plays.
One of the smartest players on the team, the Aggies are hoping Obioha embraces a leadership role as well in 2014. With a number of true freshmen likely to play on the defensive line - including his backups, Qualen Cunningham and Jarrett Johnson - his knowledge and the example he sets will likely be an important part of any defensive improvement made in 2014.