Here's a holiday week edition of the AggieYell Mailbag:
Q: Can our our front seven including LBs of Mastro, AJ Hilliard, and Shawn Washington/Donnie Baggs stop South Carolina's gigantic offensive line? My thoughts are if we can somehow stop their rushing attack I think we will be in good shape.
What's your Thoughts? Can the Dline w our rotation hold their monster OL? (Fullback)
A: I think you're right, they are a monster front and probably slowing down the run will be the key to the game. I have been underwhelmed by Dylan Thompson so far in his career, so I'd be bringing eight men up, with Howard Matthews in the box as well. Baggs, Mastrogiovanni and Hilliard can hold up if the Aggie front is able to keep them clean -- as in, keep the linemen off them. That's something they did a poor job of last year, and the linebacker play suffered, at least in part, as a result. A&M, I think, has better depth (potentially) across the line this year, so they're going to need keep fresh bodies going. An awful lot depends on Zaycoven Henderson and Justin Manning, and that's a tough spot to be in when it's your first ever game.
Q: 1. You stated that A&M has just over 100 offers out, but that even Bama had well over a couple of hundred. Can you give us some insight into the different philosophies between Sumlin and staff and Saban and staff? It just sems like a strikingly different way to approach recruiting by 2 schools that are killing it.
2. Do we have any worries about tu's Friday night lights? (tsip despiser)
A: 1. Some programs offer guys, but make those offers contingent on something or another; still, they're listed as offers. I have a hard time imagining Alabama has all those offers out there as committable. A&M doesn't do things that way; they're pretty patient and selective and only offer guys they seriously intend to pursue. Alabama uses an offer as an expression of interest and could put a timetable on theirs; A&M only offers guys they really want.
2. No, I doubt it.
Q: What is your opinion on the idea of division four, and the power five's ideal college football? (Hurting_10toes)
A: I don't think the AAC, MAC, C-USA and the like are in the same universe as the Power Five and should not be treated as such. I would be in favor of the fourth division, which also could be called NFL-lite.
Q: LSU currently has 12 commits but only 4 are 5/4*s. Is Les going to finish with a top 10 class or is the start of a downward trend for the Tigers? If so, what are the key factors? (DanaXLives)
A: They've been stung some by Alabama and the emergence of A&M, but they're still going to get theirs. I can see them picking up the top receiver in the nation and another 4-star wideout in this class, which would probably give them the best receiver corps they've ever had. They made a late run last year, and that could easily happen again this year. But I think A&M will, unquestionably, have the better class if they can hold on to everyone.
Q: We've heard all year that the staff is only reserving 1 spot in the '15 class for a DE. I recognize that we signed 3 guys in '14, but given out lack of depth at the position and the nature of the SEC, how can this be a good idea? (Shike Merman)
A: For one thing, A&M didn't sign three; they signed four, and everyone forgets about the late addition of Darrell Jackson (including me, earlier this week). After this season, you have three more years of Myles Garrett, two more of Daeshon Hall, three for Jackson (he redshirted at Blinn), two for Tyrone Taylor and Jay Arnold, one for Julien Obioha and possibly four for Jarrett Jackson and Qualen Cunningham. It's a lousy class for DEs in Texas, so A&M is going to just take one end (regular DE, not rush) and be done with it unless a 5-star suddenly decides he's interested in the Aggies. They've got some depth to do that, but 2016 will be another class where they'll be looking for a haul.
Q: If Kyler Murray was 6'2" instead of 5 whatever would he easily be a 5 star and would he be a top 10 recruit overall?
Just curious what the knocks are on him from Rivals perspective. Is it entirely height? (Aggiewoo)
A: I don't know what the knock is, but bluntly, it's ridiculous. He's the best quarterback in the nation -- 3,392 yards and 42 TDs passing; 1,095 yards rushing and two consecutive 5A state titles. Nobody has that resume, and nobody plays at the level he does. I don't care if he's 4'11", he should be a 5-star and I believe he will be by National Signing Day.
Q: Have read some recent disturbing chatter debating whether or not the "New Kyle" development is on-schedule. Just can't imagine we'd drop the ball on such a high-profile project. Please provide an "all's well" commentary if you can... (firstname.lastname@example.org)
A: Can't do it. The status depends on who you ask. A&M officials remain confident things will get done on schedule, so there is that. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprise if there's some minor work that goes beyond Sept. 6, but as long as there are no huge safety issues, the toilets work and the lights turn on, they're playing that football game at Kyle Field.
Q: Who do yo think has the biggest sophomore year in the NFL this year? Do you think Jorvorskie will make the Bucs final roster? (pharm11)
A: Out of A&M's guys, I'll take Luke Joeckel and run with it. He's still going to be great. As for Jorvorskie, he's in the perfect place with Lovie Smith running the show in Tampa. I think he'll make that team.
Q: Will Arnold play more SDE or more 3 tech? Which suits him better? Which helps the team more?
Which recruiting class will wind up with a higher rating for A&M, 2015 or 2016?
When players like Hall have shoulder injuries, do they continue to work out what they can, i.e. legs and core?
Any rumblings on how Harvey is looking in 7 on 7?
Which receiver makes the biggest impact this year, Reynolds, Tabuyo, or Pope? And why? (LoeDownDirty64)
A: 1. I think Arnold will play more DE, and that's where he should be at this point. If he plays a lot of DT, that's not a good sign for A&M. As the season goes on, I think he'll be getting a lot more snaps, with the majority at DE.
2. 2016 is off to a great start, but it's way too early to even speculate on it. But if 2015 closes the way I expect it will, it will be very tough to beat.
4. I put him as a starter on my three-deep in not-quite-Tidbits for several reasons, and that's one of them.
5. Reynolds. I think he's a starter, and that pretty much gives you the explanation on why. He was really good right off the bat this spring.
Q: Short yardage defense - please discuss. Specifically, 3rd/4th and short and goaline.
What formations and personnel do you expect to see? (Hot Sauce Hoy)
A: Depending on the formation the other guys have, I'd have the biggest guys I could on the field: Henderson and Manning inside (Walker and Henderson if one can play a 3 Technique); Arnold and Garrett on the ends. Possibly even another end, someone like Obioha, as well. If you're going three linebackers and you know it's run, Chevis, Mastrogiovanni and Baggs are your big bodies. Matthews is in the box, Harvey is playing roaming in the center of the field and Everett and Harris are going to have to handle things on their own.
Q: What is the latest on Malik Jefferson? I believe that A&M is still considered by many to be his leader, but the sips seem to think they have a real shot. What are the other recruits/commits saying? I have to assume that Kyler and Daylon are in his ear constantly. (TGun97)
A: The A&M commits remain very confident Jefferson will join them eventually.
Q: Has anything happened on Claiborne and Golden's case? I know their careers are over but Golden is from my area and I watched him play. He really was a good kid who went through some bad times and got in with the wrong people. He's responsible but I hope he eventually finds his way. (92RAB)
A: I'm honestly not sure they're even out of jail. They may stay there until trial. If Golden is going to find his way, it will likely happen after a fairly lengthy prison stay.
Q: Any news on Stansbury's case? Will he go to trial? (Old Army 74)
A: There's been no resolution, so yeah, it looks like it will eventually go to trial unless it gets bargained way down.
Q: I know are main focus right now on the rest of this class is at DB mainly corner. How many would we realistically take and who do you think we finish with? Will Dunning be a LB or S? (WOSAG)
A: I think they can get at least three, and would really like to take four if they could get Kendall Sheffield, Roney Elam, Kris Boyd and Holton Hill. I think it's more likely they end up with Sheffield, Elam and Boyd. As for Dunning, they see him as a safety.
Q: Jucos DJ Jones & Davon Durant. Any predictions? How hard are we recruiting these guys and what would they bring to the table. Our chances? (hogtide)
A: My prediction is pretty simple: A&M's not getting either. Jones has eliminated A&M and Durant seems to have more interest in other SEC schools.