Granted, this is based on shorts/helmets and only being able to see warm-up periods in the first two practices but here are some players that I thought passed the eyeball test and/or looked improved over last season. That doesn't mean they are the best at their positions. They simply caught my eye.
EZ looks very explosive coming off the line and in-and-out of cuts. The key for him is to keep his ankles healthy. He has been susceptible to ankle sprains his entire career.
After a promising sophomore season, McNeal suffered through an injury-plagued junior campaign. So far, he looks very comfortable in drills and is picking things up quickly.
I thought Kennedy was under-utilized last season. Going into his third season, he's starting to mature physically and the new workout regimen is showing. He's more muscular and thicker, and he looks more explosive in drills as a result. I think Malcolme is primed to have a big 2012.
I have no idea how quickly he'll pick the offense and I don't know his work ethic yet, but he passes the eyeball test with flying colors. He is a legit 6-foot-2 target, but he's a slender, faster athlete compared to bigger, thicker receivers like Askew and Evans. He is a unique athlete on this roster. If he can handle the intangibles of dealing with a move up to the D-1 level and keeps his head on straight, he can be special. His hands in drills look pretty good as well.
It's way too early to start sifting through the QB competition, but for the short time I watched the QB's in drills, I liked Joeckel's passes. His long balls have plenty of zip and were on the mark when I observed him briefly. But just to be clear, the QB battle will be decided in live scrimmages based on who makes the best decisions so take this observation for what it's worth.
By the same token, I thought Manziel has improved his arm strength. Last year, his arm was suspect and his throws were inconsistent and spirals were optional. From what I've seen so far, he has improved mechanically and throws a much better ball.
Nealy is Nealy. He's always been very energetic, but what I like this spring is that he is backing up that energy and talk with a more defined, muscular body. He's never going to win a Mr. Universe title, but I do think his offseason workouts will pay dividends in the fall.
With Tony Jerod-Eddie graduated, Hatten has the biggest frame of all the defensive linemen. In addition, he looks pretty nimble and explosive in drills so I'm cautiously optimistic that he'll be in the mix.
He's definitely filling out and getting thicker. In fact, people were concerned that he'd be an undersized DE in the new 4-3, but he's the one guy that I think is physically ready for the position. He also seems more engaged in drills so far.
Physically, he's not quite there yet to be an ideal defensive end, but he's definitely getting there. He has started to fill out and if he can as much added muscle in the summer as he did in the winter, he could be almost where you want him physically to put his hand down.
baggs probably wins the award for the biggest physical change from last season. He has definitely hit the weight room and he's muscular and thick. If you didn't see my photos from yesterday, look at a couple of his photos and look at his arms. He also seems explosive in the drills I watched.
If somebody asked me to build the physically perfect D-1 cornerback, I'd give them a picture of Tremaine Jacobs. I was excited when I saw him in drills. Not only does he have ideal measurables, but he moved well in drills and looked like a fluid athlete. Now, whether he can cover is another story, but he definitely looks the part.
If you saw some of my photos of Steven from day one, no explanation is necessary. His thighs are muscular and well-defined and he's definitely thicker and looks like a safety. Previously, he looked like a safety playing in a cornerback's body. He looks like a safety to me now.
He's physically put together and I like his quickness and explosion coming out of cuts in drills. I think he could be the sleeper of the secondary.
Early Spring Practice Head-Turners
Aggie Digest Top Stories
Evans Leads Defensive MaturityTexas A&M senior safety Justin Evans met with the media Tuesday in advance of the Aggies Saturday road match-up with South Carolina.
Aggie DigestTuesday at 10:15 AM
Game Week Media: South CarolinaThe Texas A&M Aggies have solidified themselves in the top 10 heading into their week's SEC road game with South Carolina. The Aggies met with the media Tuesday in advance of this…
Aggie DigestTuesday at 9:52 AM
Post Game Media: ArkansasThe Texas A&M Aggies moved to 4-0 on the season with a 45-24 win over Arkansas inside AT&T Stadium in Dallas. Kevin Sumlin and several players spoke with the media afterwards.
Aggie DigestSunday at 7:22 AM
Game Balls: ArkansasThe Texas A&M Aggies squared off with the Arkansas Razorbacks Saturday in their annual game in Dallas. The Aggies came away with an impressive 45-24 win.
Aggie DigestSunday at 5:45 AM