Each week, AggieYell.com's Jeff Tarpley and Mark Passwaters take questions from AY readers and respond to them in the AggieYell Mailbag. Here's this week's sampling:
Q: Are there any can't miss prospects at QB in the 2014 recruiting class? I know you've said several times that you do not think that A&M takes a QB in 2014. Is this because of anticipated logjam, or just nobody that fits Sumlin's style of play? (DatAggie34)
Tarp: A&M is sending letters to least a couple of 2014 quarterback prospects that we are aware of…Austin Westwood's Bear Fenimore and Austin Westlake's Jordan Severt. However, overall, it's a down year in the state for quarterbacks. Right now, there is only one member of the Rivals 250 and that's Denton Guyer's Jerrod Heard (who is committed to Texas).
Even if one of Kenny Hill or Kohl Stewart never makes it to campus for various reasons, the Aggies will still have five quarterbacks on scholarship next fall. Both Jameil Showers and Matt Joeckel still have two years of eligibility remaining. If some of them graduate and leave the program early, that could open up a spot but there is always the specter of 2015 phenom Kyler Murray waiting in the wings.
Overall, it's hard to see the Aggies take another quarterback right now unless something unexpected happens.
Q: Your best and honest guesstimate...is Kenny going to sign with the good guys? (h273)
Tarp: Yes. Hill had an in home with A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin and assistant David Beaty earlier this week and they appeared to assuage a lot of the fears that he had. It's going to be tempting for him to look long and hard at Baylor because of their track record regarding quarterbacks and the fact that they have an immediate opening (Kansas State is bringing in both a freshman and a junior college transfer so they are probably less of a threat). In the end, he's been committed to A&M for a long time and once he meets new QB coach Jake Spavital on his official visit, that should be more than enough for him to sign with the Aggies.
Q: Should we take what we feel we need at CB in the 2014 class plus more simply to load up on the talent the class is offering? (Hurting_10toes)
Tarp: This exact tactic is one Mack Brown used to use…find a year which was a good one at a certain position and then load up with prospects from that class. You not only get multi-year starters out of it but you also play keep away with opposing programs with guys that could potentially start for them. And let's face it, the 2014 class has at least seven or eight guys that fall into that category. You could find an entire secondary plus a nickel back that could start for three years and all of them would be upper echeleon players.
Q: With everything going in the Ags direction, why the sudden doubt in commits' minds? (CHANCE23)
Tarp: Prospects look at decommitting usually when either the coach recruiting them leaves or their position coach leaves. That cuts off the lines of communication and also makes them wonder who is going to be their boss. For example, the guys that are looking around most actively are quarterbacks and linebackers…two spots where A&M just lost a position coach.
There also may be another factor and that's academics. If a prospect hasn't qualified by signing day despite already having months to do so, it's sometimes difficult for a program to keep that prospect when (under SEC guidelines) it puts a spot in that class at risk.
Q: Why did AJ Hilliard transfer? If no hardship is given and he has to sit 2013 season out, we can assume he only has two years of eligibility for 2014 and 2015? (Rbowen)
Tarp: He was reportedly not happy at TCU. Remember that despite the fact that TCU played a lot of freshmen and sophomores this season, he was not one of them. He's a rangy guy in the mold of a Sean Porter who's probably more in tune with the demands of the 4-3 defense than the 4-2-5 that TCU ran. He could redshirt this upcoming season and have three years of eligibility remaining.
Q: Best guess at who our starting receivers are to start the year? (Happy Ag)
Mark: I'll go with Mike Evans, Edward Pope, Sabian Holmes and Malcome Kennedy. Evans is a given; Pope has been a star on the scout team this year and seems to be following Evans' path from last season. Kennedy closed out 2012 strong and Holmes will have a year in the system. There's going to be a ton of opportunities for the younger guys to play (and play a lot), but it makes sense that the veterans will have the first crack at the starting jobs.
Q: Is Bralon Addison going to transfer? Do we have any interest? What about Dontre Wilson? Do we have any interest? (adaml02)
Mark: A&M has no interest in Dontre Wilson. There's simply no need for a running back. As for Addison -- odds are he's not transferring and if he did, it's not a given A&M would have any interest him. Unless he has some kind of allergy that would allow him to play immediately (yes, I am mocking you, NCAA), the sense in taking him is limited. If you can get a guy like Sebastian Larue now, you'll have a guy with a year of experience in your system before Addison can take the field.
Q: Whats 2014 looking like for DT's and DE's? (Fullback)
Mark: For DT's, it's solid; for DE's -- especially for A&M -- it has the potential to be spectacular. A&M sits in good shape with three Rivals 250 prospects at defensive end in 4-stars Qualen Cunningham, Solomon Thomas and Gerald Willis III. For Cunningham, A&M appears to be a strong leader at this point (his father is an Aggie); they're on the short list for both Thomas and Willis at this point. If the Aggies were to somehow lock down all three of those guys, it would be a truly remarkable feat -- and if they just get one, that won't be a bad day at the office.
Q: Predict some surprises we may see coming out of Spring Practices. (Glenner09)
Mark: Matt Davis fighting Jameill Showers for the backup job; Edward Pope making a move to the top of the depth chart at receiver; Floyd Raven getting a look at safety and Alonzo Williams fighting for a starting job on the interior of the defensive line. Just a few hunches.
On a scale of 1 - 10, how nuts is this Te'o thing? (cgyust)
Mark: 44,233. The most insane thing I've ever seen in big-time sports. Lance Armstrong has to be simply delighted.