Here's the latest edition of the AggieYell Mailbag...
(Q: 1. What recruits over the past few years have our coaches pursued aggressively that you wish our staff had either passed on or not prioritized at that time?
2. What recruits over the past few years who are staff either passed on or passively recruited who you wished they would have made a greater priority at that time? (AggieLuke04)
A: 1) Kyler Murray and Kendall Sheffield
2) Tyrus Bowser and a whole bunch of corners.
Q: Grant got his 5th star, is anyone else within striking distance of theirs? (h273)
A: He didn't get his 5th from Rivals.
Q: Is there a relationship between earning a letter and being on scholarship?
How long has Deep Snapper Austin Frey been on Scholarship?
Is Kwame Etwi on scholarship? (rareao)
A: 1) no. You can letter and not be on scholarship. You just have to play a certain amount to letter.
2) Since last year.
Q: Thoughts on filling up a recruiting class each years (sometimes with questionable players) vs. holding a spot or two for transfers and stud holdouts? Example: last year we took players just to get to 85 leaving us short of the 25 we could take this year. (dirkieduck)
A: Unless you're loaded and have so much depth you can afford to wait, you fill up as fast you can any time you can. Waiting until next year could leave you with nothing.
Q: I hear people say repeatedly how bad we need top notch LB, and I’m aware we have landed some good ones too, yet the top 3 LB in the State of Texas are not even considering us with two of them already committed to power house programs Arkansas and Vanderbilt, and the other one considering the likes of Texas Tech and Missouri over us! Why has the Chief not been able to reel guys like this in? Thank you. (AgsRule97!)
A: This is very simple. First, Bumper Pool is an Arkansas legacy. Second, the guy looking at Tech and Mizzou does not have an A&M offer. If he did, he'd jump on it. Finally, Alston Orji, the Vandy commit, wants to go to medical school and that was his foremost priority. If a man wants to go to Vanderbilt for the education, then you respect that and move on. So that's why John Chavis hasn't "reeled them in."
Q: Ignoring experience as a factor, is our football roster more talented or less talented than last year? (brAg)
A: Tough, tough question. My gut instinct says less, but let's look at it this way: The quarterback position is more talented. The running backs are more talented. I don't think the line is as talented, but they are more familiar working with each other. The wideouts should be good. Defensive end certainly took a step back, but defensive tackle seems improved. The linebackers should be improved. The corners -- who knows? The safeties were really good and still are.
There's enough talent. It's whether it's ready to be tested on the field that's the question.
Q: What is the time-table for players reporting to fall workouts, scrimmages, and approximate time for QB to be announced? (DentonAg80)
A: Well, everyone's already there. They're not waiting on anyone. There is no set date for the first practice yet, it's all up in the air due to NCAA scheduling changes. Scrimmages will probably be on Saturdays and closed to the public. The QB decision will come two weeks before the season starts, or right as they close the doors to the media.
Q: We are set to have several new comers (Freshman, RS Freshman, Transfers, etc.) see significant playing time this year and in some cases probably start at their respective positions. Can you rank the position groups by which ones are easier to jump in and play well at? For example, it's more common to see a RB or WR make a significant impact as a Freshman (see Tray.Williams & Kirk) than it is for a DT (Mack). So which groups do you see that it is easier to more difficult to do this and why? DE, LB, CB, QB, WR, etc. Thanks! (DXB19)
A: I think the hardest, without question, is QB. You have to not only be physically prepared, but mentally ready too. And there are a lot of mind games that go on with quarterbacks, so it's not an easy thing to prepare for. I think running backs and wideouts have it easiest, because if you've got natural talent you can play. Linebacker, I think may come next, that or safety. You need to be a little more physically prepared, but it's do-able. Linemen, I think, are probably best suited to redshirt because they need that year to physically get ready if possible.
Q: Sorry if i missed an update, but what's the details on Nick Harvey? (Junior 07)
A: Suffered a serious knee injury -- Sumlin won't say what, but you can bet it's an ACL -- during Friday Night Lights. He's already had surgery and it's almost certain he redshirts this year.
Q: What do you consider the modern era of college football? (brAg)
A: I think it started when Nebraska learned they could actually throw the football forward.
Q: Do we have a coaching staff in football that's prepared enough to win the SEC in the next 2-3 years? (Big smoothie)
A: That's a question every program is asking and only one can answer.
Q: What are the expectations for the Basketball team with the influx of talent at wing, addition/eligibility of quality PGs and the return of Robert Williams? (glenner09)
A: Mine are extremely high. This could be as talented a team as A&M's ever put on the floor. They've got weapons across the board, a bunch of guys who can handle the point and big bodies inside. No excuses for this team.
Q: 1- Do you expect one of our QBs to start "clicking" this summer and become the clear leader? You've been awfully quiet on this subject and it makes me believe you know something we don't....
2- Will Chief finally field a respectable defense this year or should we expect more of the same?
3- How are our special teams going to look this year? (defaultAg)
A: 1) I wish I did. This deal is wide open and I don't think they have so much as a leader right now.
2) I'm very much in the "prove it" mindset when I hear they're expecting to be better. I'm not expecting a lot, so they can impress me.
3) Should be really good. Lot of speed at returner, Kirk is the best there is at returning punts and all three kickers are back.
Q: Do you believe the coaching staff truly recognizes the detriment to winning caused by the unusually high number of plays per game our defense has been forced to play in the past? If so, other than scapegoating "conditioning" do you see a plan to do anything about it? (saheat)
A: 1) no.
2) They're trying to get them better conditioned.
Q: Listening to the national media, it seems like all anybody wants to talk about is Woodward's so-called ultimatum to Sumlin at the spring SEC meetings. Upon reflecting on this, can you think of any possible reason that he would have put that out there that would be beneficial to A&M? Did he just choke in front of the bright lights of live tv? I'm just trying to figure out how he could think that his comments could do anything but harm to the program, regardless of how true they may have been. Do you think he (Woodward) should take this opportunity at Media Days to perhaps clarify the comments more tactfully? Thanks. (Riffraff81)
A: 1) He said what everyone else already knows. So tell me, what harm did he do? He stated the obvious. Recruits had already heard it. They know the drill.
2) I don't think he should clarify them at any point. They're quite clear. And saying anything at media days would have been counterproductive.
Q: Why do we consistently screw up CB recruiting? Currently, what do you believe is the coach's game plan for CB? (chuckg_07)
A: 1) If I knew that, they wouldn't be doing it. It's mind-boggling to me.
2) They've got to choose two (really three) from the following: Charles Oliver, Speedy Howard, Priest Willis, Travon Fuller, Roney Elam, Kemah Siverand, Myles Jones, Deshawn Capers-Smith, Debione Renfro and Devin Morris. Oliver, I think, has the best chance of starting. From there, we'll see. But only Willis leaves out of this group in 2018 and Jordan Moore is being trained as a corner.
Q: When is the deadline for baseball draftees to sign a MLB contract? How many recruits have signed or are expected to sign? What do you think of the class after losing said recruits to the pros?
Thanks Mark (Mojoy2k1)
A: 1) Actually, the deadline has come and gone for everyone -- except the Aggies, of course. P Jack Conlon, who was drafted by the Orioles, had that club renounce his rights. The former fourth rounder is now a free agent through the end of the month and can sign with anyone.
2) Alex Scherff, Adam Hall and Conlon are the only three they lost. That's still bringing a very impressive haul in to College Station. A&M has a chance to be REALLY good next year.
Q: Who are the new coaches that you expect will elevate the team's play? Why? What improvements do you anticipate in the A&M Special Teams play? Is the head coach's chair merely warm, or on fire this year, given the amount of a two season buyout? Thanks, Mark (Chuck70)
A: 1) Mark Hocke and Ron Cooper are the only official "coaches" added to the staff, and both have a ton of pressure on them. Cooper has to get the corners and the rest of the secondary up to snuff, while Hocke is rebuilding the strength and conditioning program.
2) None. They were really good last year. Maybe Daniel LaCamera's a bit more accurate.
3) Really hot. No doubt on that.
Q: Can the 4-2-5 be successful in the SEC? A&M does a better job of recruiting safeties than LBs so why don't they switch? (Ag20)
A: um...you realize that the 4-2-5, with Donovan Wilson on the field, IS their primary defensive alignment, right?