Here are my top pleasant surprises of fall camp so far. I was going to include a healthy Steven Campbell at No. 8, but he was unfortunately on the side with the injured players stretching. It doesn't look major though.
1. Manziel's Transformation at QB
Yeah, I'll admit it. I'm one of those guys. When Jameill Showers shined at the spring game and Johnny Manziel struggled, I made the call. I suggested that Showers would be the 2012 starting quarterback. Based on the information at the time, that was a safe assumption. However, there's something called the offseason and to his credit, Manziel went outside the program and worked extensively with a QB coach to improve his mechanics. He also worked hard in the weight room and he came back for August camp much thicker and physically more mature. Manziel transformed his passing and his body, and that certainly led to yesterday's announcement that he would be the starting QB on August 30.
2. Devante Harris Immediate Impact
I've already talked about his development in other articles so I won't go into the details again, but it's one thing for a true freshman to step up and jump in the mix immediately. It's another to jump to the front of a line that has some pretty good returning cornerbacks. Not only has his play signaled he will be an early contributor, but he will be a starter and a special player before he leaves Texas A&M.
3. C-Mike is Healthy
We all knew after spring that Christine Michael was on his way to being ready for the season opener, but after he hurt his knee that required surgery last fall, many people wondered if he would be playing in 2012 anywhere close to full strength. Well, the quick healer looks as good as new with no limitations in practice.
4. Deshazor Everett Emerges as Playmaker
Observers knew Everett would be a big factor in the A&M secondary, but few thought he would arguably be the Aggies' best defensive back capable of starting at either cornerback or safety. That versatility gives secondary coach a lot of options in the fall.
5. Nealy's Versatility
It seems everybody has under-estimated Spencer Nealy's ability since he showed up as a grayshirt freshman. But the lunch pale lineman has been on the field every season and has carved a niche on the line as a high-energy spark plug. Penciled in at strong side defensive end after spring practice, lack of depth and injury has forced the San Antonio native inside. Despite being a few pounds light for the position, he has held up well since the move and that has bolstered depth in the interior.
6. Trey Williams is a Major Weapon
Look, we all knew that Williams was dynamic, fast, with cutting ability like Barry Sanders. But usually such a decorated high school back comes to college with baggage like he doesn't like to block, has issues with ball security, and gives up yards trying to create the big play. Well, Trey has been extraordinary with doing all the little things right in addition to his 77-yard and 30-yard TD runs in the scrimmage. His hands are excellent. I haven't seen him put the ball on the turf, and he's been sturdy and durable throughout fall camp.
7. Obioha's Surge Up the Depth Chart
With Nealy moving inside, the Aggies need to find a replacement at strongside defensive end. Many figured that redshirt sophomore Gavin Stansbury would step into that spot, but for now true freshman Julien Obioha is still running with the first team ahead of Stansbury. He has received repeated praise from Coach Sumlin in post-practice press conferences.
Top Surprises of Fall Camp
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