Each week, AggieYell.com's Jeff Tarpley take questions from readers and respond to them in the AggieYell Mailbag. Here's this week's sampling:
Q: Mods best quess - what's the deal with the recruitment of Kyler? (PilotAg)
A: Fletch hit on it pretty well in Tidbits this morning -- he's still playing baseball right now and he's not taking part in football activities at this point. As a result, he hasn't hit on one of the key points of getting an offer if you're a quarterback: seeing you throw the football in person. Once Allen is out of the baseball picture, Murray will be on the football field for the Aggies to check out.
Q: How does AJ Hilliard play into future LB mix, on the field and recruiting needs? (Renz_man)
A: The coaching staff likes him as a middle linebacker and believes he could add solid depth there for the next three years. With Baggs (a senior), Shaun Ward (also a senior), Hilliard, Jordan Mastrogiovanni and Reggie Chevis (all sophomores) in 2014, A&M can afford to be a little bit more particular when it comes to recruiting middle linebackers for the '14 class.
Q: Coppell DE, Solomon Thomas...Did we get the sense early on that he wasn't interested in us? We don't seem to be on his radar, and even though he has an A&M offer, we haven't really been pursuing him. (Bear_P_I)
A: He's not interested in A&M and the Aggies aren't shedding any tears over it. The Aggies remain a leader for Jarrett Johnson, Qualen Cunningham and Myles Garrett, so missing out on Thomas isn't that big a deal.
Q: Jarrett Johnson....why isn't this done yet? (McKinneyAg)
A: Because he doesn't want it to be. He said he'll commit in early June for whatever reason and he's sticking to that (for now). A&M is, at this point, the overwhelming favorite for him.
Q: Could we see one or both of the Taylor brothers in situational pass-rushing roles? I understand that they can be physically overwhelmed, but if it's 3rd and 10, do we trot them out there, tell them to pin their ears back, and get the QB? (Big Sugi)
A: Absolutely. In fact, that's the perfect scenario for Tyrell Taylor -- get him in a position where he can be the aggressor, and not the guy having some big ugly that has 90 pounds on him coming right at him. Both Taylors have a great first step, but Tyrell finds ways to get the quarterback.
Q: Is it just me, or are we hearing less and less about tu and ou in terms of recruiting competition and more and more about Alabama and LSU? (The Stein)
A: It's not just you. Part of it has to do with A&M's ability to recruit on a national stage; part of it just has to do with high-caliber prospects looking at high-caliber schools. There's very little question that, for the majority of the players in the south and southwest, the three SEC schools are going to be mentioned as top programs before either Big 12 school gets a mention. Maybe this is cyclical, as many things are -- or maybe it's what Bob Stoops doesn't want to hear, that the SEC is the king of college football.
Q: With Showers leaving the program, it does leave us theoretically 1 QB shy. It looks like We lose Kohl to MLB. If Manziel has another stand out year, I've got to believe he moves on to the NFL, so that being said, do we take 1 QB for 2014 or do you see A&M going after two solid QBs? (84aggiect)
A: This is still a one quarterback class, and if you look at how selective A&M is being with their quarterback offers right now, they seem to be content on going after a handful of players they feel fit their system them best and not casting out for players with potential to develop over time. Right now, Kyle Allen and Brandon Harris are the only two un-committed QBs with offers, and if the Aggies don't get either, they could well shrug their shoulders and move on to 2015.
Q: How concern our you about our Dline situation? How concern are you about our Oline recruiting? (sml2007)
A: 1) Moving Julien Obioha to rush end (which we had been told earlier in the spring wouldn't happen) now makes a lot of sense if you can plug in two satisfactory guys in Gavin Stansbury and Jordan Points on the other side. The big kids are going to have to back up Kirby Ennis and Alonzo Williams, who will be solid inside; that's just how it is. Is it an all-world group? No, but I think it'll work well enough. 2) Not concerned yet. J.J. Gustafson and Kealvin Davis are on board, Koda Martin is very high on A&M and the coaching staff feels good about where they stand with Braden Smith, the bigtime tackle prospect from Kansas. If Martin and Smith both go elsewhere, then things aren't so swell.
Q: Who do you think leads the team at QB for the 2014 season and could a top 10 ranking be a possibility? (LostNCO)
A: Right now, it would be Matt Joeckel; by then, it could (should?) be Matt Davis or Kenny Hill. If any of those three show they can operate the offense at a decently level of efficiency and consistency, all the other pieces are there. If, by some fluke, Johnny Manziel returns...look out.
Q: Any chance kyler could come in and win a starting position as a rs freshman a la jff? (Notex)
A: Unlikely. It would require both Hill and Davis to crash and burn.
Q: Could we take 2 QB's in 2015? Say Kyler and the FSU committ.
What if we get one and the other says "no", do we pursue another QB in 2015? (Hot Sauce Hoy)
A: Well, the FSU commit has technically already said no, so the Aggies have their work cut out for them there. But the question probably comes down to three things: do they get anyone for 2014, and how Davis and Hill do. Right now, it's probably a one QB class -- if Hill is as advertised. If not, then it's a two quarterback class.
Q: How do you feel about our situation regarding the recruitment of uncommitted LB prospects for 2014? Are they not feeling as good with the top prospects so are moving further down the list, or just doing their homework? (Dave2941)
A: I think they're just doing their due diligence. You never know what they may find or what may change over the next few months that could cause them to need to look at some more players. Right now, they're not reaching -- they're doing their homework.
Q: What is one part of Johnny's game the coaches feel he needs to improve on before he is considered NFL ready? (smuns20)
A: Decision making. It's what makes Manziel a college superstar, but plays like the throw across his body to EZ in between three SMU defenders for a touchdown is picked off in the NFL. He's a gambler and he always will be -- and, frankly, he makes better decisions now than Brett Favre did consistently several years into his NFL career -- but some risks aren't worth taking. He became more patient as last season went on and was even more so this spring; he's still going to do "Johnny Things" and make amazing plays, but he's not going from 0 to Freak Mode as often.
A: 1. Which 2014 QB do you see the Ags landing---Allen, Harris, other?
2. How do the Ags close on MLB with Whitley to Alabama?
3. Who do you see winning the other slot receiver spot opposite Kennedy? (Holmes, Larue, Tabujo, Lamascus, Quiv) (Local Ag)
1) Harris or nobody, probably.
2) They'll either offer Josh Mabin or wait and see if someone emerges over the summer or during the season.
3) Holmes will get the first crack at the job, but I'm not sold on him. I could see Larue winning that job, but remember: Mike Evans is going to play inside too, at least some.