Hop's Recruiting Notes

We've talked a lot about the status of the 2014 class and what it means in the big picture with A&M and it's SEC competition along with the geographic recruiting competition among the Big 12 teams. What we haven't talked about much is the strategic importance of the 2015 class, so here we go.

We've talked a lot about the status of the 2014 class and what it means in the big picture with A&M and it's SEC competition along with the geographic recruiting competition among the Big 12 teams. What we haven't talked about much is the strategic importance of the 2015 class, especially as it relates to Texas.

Normally I'd discount the storylines of the soon-to-be junior class because it's so early and players don't start seeing the big-time offers roll in until the following January and February. However, Mack Brown and staff have come out swinging, much like Dennis Franchione had to do in his tenure when the Longhorns dominated the recruiting wars.

Thus, Texas has aggressively offered quite a few 2015 prospects. In many cases, A&M did not follow with the same offers except for just a few elite prospects like Daylon Mack, Kendall Sheffield, and most recently DaMarkus Lodge. With the exception of Mack, Mack Brown's "early bird" approach has made a difference in the short term. Several of these prospects list Texas as their early leader, although it must be noted that every one of these recruits are still listing A&M in their top list as well.

Longhorn faithful see this development as Mack Brown getting back to work and doing what he does best...early recruiting. Several burnt orange pundits feel the 2015 class is a turning point and a line in the sand for the Longhorns who admittedly gave up the moniker of top dog to the Aggies last year.

We'll see. The 2015 class will definitely tell us a lot about where the two programs stand in terms of pecking order in the state. Because the 2014 class in the state is somewhat weak in several areas like QB, RB, OL, and interior DL, the importance of this class for the Aggies is more about filling needs to compete with the top schools in the SEC. But 2015 is about finding out which flagship program in Texas has the upper-hand.

Mack Brown is going all-in with early recruiting in 2015 hoping to beat A&M to the punch. He also wants to load up on early commits, hoping it will be much easier to retain those players with a successful 10+ win season. Brown must also hope that A&M stumbles just enough next season to take a little of the shine off of Sumlin and the program If that happens, Texas could sneak out the backdoor with the state's best recruiting class.

However, if A&M's perception remains strong throughout the fall and the Aggies start to reel in guys like Devonte Lampkin, Malik Jefferson, Kendall Sheffield, and Damarkus Lodge, that will be very deflating much like it was when Brown swept into Franchione's recruiting classes and cherry-picked who they wanted to steal in December and January before signing day.

In addition, a third straight strong class by Sumlin should fill the roster pipeline and you'll see those pockets of thin positions go away. Basically, A&M football will be ready physically and from a talent standpoint to stand toe-to-toe with Alabamsa and LSU, and battle on the top 10 stage year-in and year-out...even without a Heisman quarterback.

So while a strong 2014 is needed to fill some future holes at defensive end, linebacker, and offensive tackle, the 2015 recruiting class is about establishing the pole position in Texas and entering the national stage on a regular basis as one of the power programs in the country. Any missteps along the way and the Aggies and Longhorns could be in for a long fight to see who emerges as the top recruiting power in the state. But if the Aggies stick to the script and have a big 2013 season and follow that up with collecting most of these 2015 elite prospects, A&M will start to separate themselves from the pack (Big 12 programs that recruit Texas).

The message....this season and the 2015 recruiting class is probably one of the most critical in recent program history.

2) OK, now that I've laid out the context of 2015, the first "recruiting" event on tap will be the summer camps this weekend and next weekend...and A&M and Texas are going head-to-head on dates as well with both hosting camps on the same day.

For this Sunday's camp, Texas is expected to host elite prospects Whitehouse S Justin Dunning, Cy_Falls DL Devonte Lampkin, and Clear Lake TE Jordan Davis.

On the 9th, they are scheduled to host fast-rising WR Kemah Siverand who was just offered by the Longhorns, and who will likely receive an offer by the Aggies this weekend with a strong showing in College Station. This will be one of several to watch in 2015.

I've talked about Lampkin previously who grew up a Texas fan. The Aggies have quickly climbed into contention and have caught his eye. He's tentatively scheduled to be in College Station on the 9th, so it will be interesting to hear what he has to say about both schools after attending both camps in successive weekends.

I think A&M has an excellent shot with Dunning if they offer after next weekend, and he indicated to me that A&M would be one of his top choices with that offer. So it will be interesting to see what he says after attending both camps over the next two weeks even though he's also going to Baylor and Texas Tech's camps as well.

3. As far as attendees to A&M's camps, most of the big names appear to be coming in on June 9. But as I mentioned earlier, Cy-Ridge 2015 WR Kemah Siverand will be evaluated closely and could get a quick offer.

Alabama commit Deionte Thompson will be in COllege Station and we're hearing that if the Ags roll out the red carpet, they will have a very chance to open up his recruitment and get a serious look from the West Orange Stark safety. Thompson, Dunning, and possibly Sulphur Springs product Larry Pryor would give the Aggies a VERY salty safety class in 2015.

Here are some other headliners expected this weekend:

LB Anthony Wheeler (recent offer) - Skyline
RB Jordan Stevenson - Skyline
OL Connor Lanfear - Buda (he'll be at Texas June 9)
RB/Ath Chris Warren - Rockdale
QB J.T. Granato - Kinkaid
CB Kendall Sheffield - FB Marshall (not participating, just hanging)
QB/Ath JW Ketchum - FB Marshall (not participating...)
RB Jay Bradford - Splendora (fast-rising RB on 2015 lists)

There's a few more names that will surface and I'll report on those next week after the camp. There's been a lot of talk about 2015 QB and I addressed it in the last installment, but it is staying in the Internet discussion because some A&M recruiting services continue to make more of the Kyler Murray situation than they should. Personally, I think A&M eventually takes Kyler Murray at some point this summer, but others spurred on by the Murray team are trying to force Sumlin's hand sooner...but that won't work. Still, with Manziel and Murray building a relationship on the Internet and in person at these camps, I think it's just a matter of time before an offer is handed out and accepted.

4. As far as 2014's go, the big storyline to watch at the June 2 camp is longtime offer and Aggie lean Jarrett Johnson. I know I've been calling it for a couple of months now, but with him attending the camp I do think this one pops over the weekend and he becomes the next A&M commit.

Another name to watch is TE Mavin Saunders. He's been on A&M's watch list for some time, but with some other TE's like Jordan Fuerbacher off the market (Baylor), if he has a good camp performance on June 2, I could see him possibly getting an offer and moving on it.

5. I'll go into detail on the June 9 attendees next week, but wanted to give you a heads-up on soft FSU commit 2015 Jordan Davis. He'll be at Texas this weekend, but I'm hearing that he would love an A&M offer and if that comes on June 9, he could be wearing maroon. I saw him at the M&W Game and he's a nice looking athlete that impressed me.

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