Hop's Spring Game Recruiting Tidbits

The ESPN Game Day cameras are ready to roll. Fowler and Herbstreit are in town and will be broadcasting live from Kyle Field on Saturday to watch the Aggies conclude 2013 spring practice with the annual Maroon & White Game. Aggie Websider's David Sandhop gives you the latest breakdown on he 2014 and 2015 recruits who will be attending the game.

1. There should be plenty of elite talent on-hand for the spring game tomorrow. In terms of 2014 talent, the headliners include Arizona QB Kyle Allen who many consider the top rated signal caller in the country. We were supposed to talk over the phone, but he had something come up and we've exchanged some texts. He's on his way down to College Station and should be here later today. He wants to see the offense up close, and talk to the coaches about how he fits into their up-tempo system. He obviously wants to see what the campus and the facilities are all about. But don't expect anything in terms of commitments. It sounds like he still wants to look and some school and eventually narrow his list down by the end of May. He's looking at a lot of west coast schools along with others in the Sumlin tree….Oklahoma St., West Virginia, etc. Basically, many schools across the country as you would expect. But when you look at that list, an argument can be made that Texas A&M is the best school for a QB. So don't discount this visit paid by the Allen family. Yes, I think there's serious interest here.

Let's stick with qb's for a second. When I saw Justice Hansen's sophomore tape, I wasn't all that impressed. Then about a month ago, his junior highlight tape found HUDL and he was a completely different QB who was quite elusive and effective in extending plays, and his passing motion was efficient and accuracy was satisfactory. He's a very good QB. He is also choosing between Texas A&M and home state school Oklahoma. On top of that, his dad attended OU and is a Sooner. A&M is the business decision here, so that has made this a tough decision and one that I think is only 60-40 OU. If he shows up for the spring game, I think we'll have our answer. If he doesn't and pops up in Norman, we'll have our answer as well.

Brandon Harris is going to LSU this weekend for their spring game, but contrary to what he texted all of us in the recruiting media, lsu didn't offer and the kid is a little embarrassed by it. I'm not sure if that changes his situation or not, but the A&M staff did speak to him this week and from everything I'm hearing the Ags are high on the 6-foot-2 signal caller. If Hansen goes to OU and they don't get a warm and fuzzy feeling from Allen, I think Harris could be next on the list. A&M is making a run at the top Elite 11 QB David Cornwell, but his sock has taken off and I think A&M will ultimately be late to the party.

It's critical that A&M land a quality QB because there are still question marks with Matt Davis' game and Kohl Stewart is throwing 95 mph bb's right now that will make him a top 5 pick in the draft. If Stewart goes to the Bigs, A&M will have only two underclass QB's in the pipeline.


2. OK, I got diverted into talking QB's. Here's the list of top 2014 recruits expected in this weekend (or were here yesterday) and my ranking in terms of priority for the Aggies.

i. WR Davion Hall
ii. S Jamal Adams
iii. QB Kyle Allen
iv. DE Deondre Clark
v. DE Qualen Cunningham
vi. Tony Brown
vii. DE Jarrett Johnson

Here's my rationale for the priority. Davion Hall is the best WR in Texas and it isn't close in my mind. He's a big, physical SEC-caliber receiver. He's important because there aren't many other options at the position like him. Also, with Tra Carson being his brother and the stature of A&M's offense, he's somebody that the Aggies should land. The staff must make up for the slow start offering him as a safety and then seeing the quick commitment to Baylor. A&M has some receivers and will be fine, but losing this kid under these circumstances would sting.

You can say the same thing about Hebron safety Jamal Adams. The staff was slow to really warm to Adams as Texas and others cozied up to the physical playmaker. At these premiere combines, Adams has established himself as the top safety in the state and Scout.com just moved him up to 5-star status. Because Texas was on him early, pundits feel the Longhorns are the team to beat. This is a good time for A&M to flex its muscle if they can do it. If the Aggies were to get him to switch his thinking, that would be a great get first of all, but it would be a gut shot to the Horns. A&M has ground to make up.

QB Kyle Allen is a top priority for the reasons i stated above. If Johnny Manziel leaves after this year and Stewart goes pro, that leaves senior back-up Matt Joeckel, Matt Davis and Kenny Hill as the only signal callers battling for the job. A&M needs talented signal callers in the pipeline. I think some people are sleeping on Deiondre Clark out of Oklahoma because A&M fans are fixated on Garrett, Cunningham, and Johnson. Aside from Garrett, Clark could be the best of the bunch and his athleticism is off the charts. In fact, he's athletic enough to play tight end. He was here Thursday, and he's on his way to Baton Rouge. If he leaves the swamps uncommitted, then A&M is right in the fight…and it's a battle worth fighting because he's an elite athlete.

Qualen Cunningham rolled into town last night from Arizona. If all goes well for the Aggie legacy, he could pull the trigger. He's a guy that I could see grow out of the DE spot in 2-3 years, but for now he's a pure DE with above average athleticism and a nice, consistent motor.

Tony Brown is telling A&M folks that he plans to be here for tomorrow's game. After a couple of false starts, it would be nice to finally get him here. Brown is an elite athlete. In fact, he's a special athlete. But, he's a mere mortal in coverage. You can hope that will change with proper coaching, but right now he's not an elite DB on the field. But he has all the tools to be a great one, so that's why every service has him as a high four-star/5-star prospect. I like him and I'd take him every day of the week, but he comes in at No. 6 on my list.

Jarrett Johnson is a very good defensive end, and the fact that he's a head-to-head battle with Texas means he's an important recruit. However, he's not quite the athlete of these other DE targets on the list. That's not a knock on him at all. It's a testament to how good the other DE's are coming to town. By all indications, Johnson is expected to commit to the A&M staff at some point this weekend.

The thinking has been that a&m may take just two DE's, but by their actions it is well within reason that they will take three, especially with Myles Garrett listing the Ags as his leader at the moment.


3. Now, let's talk about the studs of the 2015 class that will be in attendance. We talked about what looks to be a loaded DE for the Aggies in 2014. They had the nice haul of interior DL's in 2013 with Justin Manning, Hardreck Walker, and Isaiah Golden. Now, you have the top DT in the state (Daylon Mack, Gladewater) and possibly the overall No. 1 prospect in 2015 coming to Texas A&M once again. He's been several times and named the Aggies his leader. He took in the Longhorn spring game and elevated the Longhorns to co-leaders. So it would be a huge statement for him to come to the spring game and go back into the "solid lead to A&M" column. That's exactly what used to happen when A&M would fight tooth and nail to get back even with the state's best only for one trip to Austin to completely erase the hard work and basically slam the door on Texas A&M. We'll see just how much swag the Ags have at this point. We know Sumlin has pushed the momentum to a maroon color, but guys like Mack will be a great barometer on just how much that momentum has swung.

While Mack gets all the headlines, there is another battle brewing at dt for 2015. Last Friday after the FNL scrimmage, I was down on the field and saw a mountain of a man (kid) standing about 6-foot-4, 290 pounds that just screamed football player at me. I looked on the name tag and it read Duvonta Lampkin. He's a young DT from Cy-Falls. I pulled up his tape on his Facebook page and for a 16 year-old, he sold me. He had very strong hands he used to shed blockers like rag dolls and used nice burst to get to the backfield and make the play. He has nice long arms and he's proportioned nicely throughout. Now, he's young and that means he's raw and he takes some plays off. But if this kid stays focused and progresses over the next two seasons as he matures, he'll be a great one. He has the nice base, but also the length that some of A&M's signees in the 2013 class don't possess.

Lampkin grew up following Texas and the horns have already offered so they jumped out to the early lead, but he attended friday night lights and liked what he saw. So he's coming back tomorrow and really wants to get the big game feel from the maroon and White Game. He's another that will be a good barometer because he grew up following Texas and some of his family members are Longhorn followers, but as Chance Mock said a decade ago when Texas was the hot team….his heart was with A&M but this was a business decision and he picked Texas. Is A&M at that level to do the same here? Lampkin told me he won't decide until next January, so the upcoming season could go a long way to determining where he ends up.

Let's for the moment make the big leap that a&m lands both Mack and Lampkin. When they get to campus, Golden, Manning, Walker will be juniors, DeShawn Washington will be a sophomore, and then there will be these two guys. The ultimate goal all along was for A&M to start stacking explosive, physical elite DL's to get to a point where the Aggies could match the LSU's and Alabama's of the SEC in the trenches. It seemed like a fantasy a year ago. But it's not too much of a stretch to to say that A&M could have stacked DE's and DL's of Alabama quality by 2015. At that point, the transformation into a big-time SEC football program will be complete.


4. Others from the 2015 class attending tomorrow's scrimmage include:

QB Kyler Murray
ATH Larry Pryor
S Deionte Thompson
S Justin Dunning
DB James Locke
QB/ATH JW Ketchum
TE Jordan Davis
RB Soso Jamabo

Kevin Murray's son arrived yesterday and has already met with the staff and having a good time. The staff wants to evaluate him in the spring before an offer is extended which is probably a good idea. A&M doesn't even know how many QB's they will have in the fall with Stewart's pro situation. So to lock up the QB position for the next 5-6 years with a 16 year-old is risky at this stage. But eventually, I do think they will pull the trigger and get another Murray in maroon.

SoSo Jamabo is considered the early No. 1 2015 RB in the state, although the Aggies have already offered Katy's Rodney Anderson. Larry Pryor is an elite athlete and likely safety when he finally signs in two years. Jordan Davis is a Top 10 prospect and is already committed to Florida State….but there's a long time til signing day. I'm not expecting any commitments, but with the ESPN crew and Johnny Football sprinkling magic dust throughout Kyle Field, nothing will surprise me tomorrow.

Deionte Thompson of West Orange Stark recently committed to Alabama but word on the street is he's a home body and will probably stay closer to home at either Texas or A&M. This is his second week to be back, so that is certainly an promising early indicator.

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