Aggie Websider Friday Tidbits

With the season now in full swing and the high schoolers with three games in the books, look for recruiting activity and offers for the class of 2015 to pick up. Also, Aggie Websider's David Sandhop takes a look at the impact of the Alabama weekend on the 2014 class.

Football Recruiting

Before we talk about some specific players, let's talk about the consequences of the Alabama game and really the first three weeks. Not so much on where top targets want to go, but rather what the staff needs to recruit in terms of position personnel. I think the Alabama game showed us that A&M must load up on rush defensive ends…I'm talking about a natural pass rusher or two with plenty of explosion, bend, and a nose for the QB. This roster simply doesn't have that player. Daeshon Hall is showing flashes of being a rusher, but he's by no means somebody you can already pencil in for the next 2-3 years and say he's the guy. He might, and I'll even say he's shown he'll be at a minimum a very good player….but I'm talking a Von Miller type that is unstoppable. Myles Garrett is a must here, and luckily it sounds like the Alabama weekend visit solidified A&M's chances here. In fact, I'd say it will take an upset to pry him away from A&M at this point. The fact that A&M struggled at rush DE helped out that much more with Garrett. He would play from day one next season.

I also think the staff should consider taking a taller DT type of player with a nice thick, long frame…6-foot-4, 315 lbs. that can immediately add some athleticism and physicality to the DL…and take on those double teams. A&M is already targeting a JUCO LB or two, so that should be fine. I'd also consider a stud JUCO safety with plenty of length and speed. The Aggies will have several talented newcomers to go along with a couple of freshmen this season, but the talent and depth is still not up to SEC standards.

I guess what I'm saying is that after watching the Alabama game, i think A&M is further away from where it needs to be than we thought before the season. Part of it is that there's so many young players sprinkled in with veteran talent that frankly isn't up to SEC standards from top-to-bottom. These freshmen will still be sophomores and redshirt freshmen next season, and that's still young. I'm thinking a large dip into the JUCO market.

on the defensive front, A&M has some big, young bodies but most are in the 6-foot-to-6-foot-2 range and I'd like to see a 6-foot-4, 320 lb. body in the middle….somebody like Josh Frazier or a Juco. Plus, the size at linebacker across the board was exposed on Saturday. A&M fielded 215-220 lb. linebackers trying to hold their ground against 320-pound guards and tackles. There simply just wasn't enough beef and bodies in the box, especially when Alabama ran an eight and nine-man offensive front. Throw in the lack of size and speed at the safety position and you start to realize why the Aggies are sitting in the No. 100's in defensive ranking.

On offense, i must say that the success of Mike Evans in the Alabama game now makes him a bonafide early round draft pick, and that means you better enjoy no. 13 for another 10 games because he'll be leaving college station soon. Add in the fact that Derel Walker graduates and Jaquay Williams is still learning the outside receiver position, and you start to wonder who will be the outside threats next season? Sure, it could be the 160-pound Ed "Praying Mantis" Pope or redshirt freshman Sebastian LaRue or Kyrion Parker, but that's a lot of ifs and buts for one of the most important positions in this Kevin Sumlin offense.

I think the probable departure actually provides a recruiting opportunity. I briefly texted with Davion Hall and it appears he sees the same opportunity after spending the weekend at A&M, as he said the Aggies have definitely moved up on his list along with Alabama. He also mentioned playing in the SEC, so I think Baylor's days are numbered. Alabama is still the team to beat, but let's just say Mike Evan's NFL-like day definitely helped. Heading into the season, picking up an outside receiver was a secondary need. I now see it as a primary need, and now A&M has the storyline (with Evans' departure). In talking to some Louisiana sources this week after the visit of WR Speedy Noil and DL Gerald Willis, it sounds like Willis wasn't overly impressed with the defense and he's leaning heavily to LSU. As expected, LSU will also be heavily involved with Noil, but after Saturday the chances that he lands in College Station are still realistic.

Looking ahead to 2015 at the wideout position, A&M has helped its chances with DaMarkus Lodge over the past couple of weeks. I know everybody and their dog has him going to Texas, but he's coming for an A&M game in October and he sounded open to me. Give it a few more weeks of Texas struggling and A&M laying down 50 points a game and the Kyle Field visit in three weeks, and let's see where things are between the Longhorns and Aggies. Kemah Siverand of Cy-Ridge HS is another elite 2015 outside WR and he has moved the needle to maroon. He also had a monster game last night against Cy-Woods.

Let's switch over to defensive line. While I didn't talk to DT Josh Frazier, it was clear from his tweets that he LOVED his visit to Texas A&M. Now, we need to wait to see if the excitement of the visit wears off and if Arkansas counter-punches (he has friends going to Arkansas…lives just miles away), but I'm hearing the staff seems pretty confident about their chances after the visit.

As I mentioned earlier, I think the Aggies solidified its lead for Myles Garrett. After being in the lead so long and seeing the acute weakness at rush end this weekend, I have a hard time seeing him committing somewhere else although he will take a couple of trips before making a decision in November. Louisiana DE Davon Godchaux attended the game Saturday and gave Aggieland high marks, but this kid will be an LSU Tiger unless Miles fills up. I keep hearing from internal sources that A&M is in good shape with Aizona DE and Aggie legacy Qualen Cunningham, and they say Cunningham was giving off good vibes on his unofficial visit. This isn't based on anything I've heard specifically, but he's still going to visit 2-3 Pac-12 teams and OU. He's had many opportunities to name the Aggies his leader and pull the trigger, and he still seems open. I've seen this scenario play out many times where the "leader" can't ever close the deal and that means the prospect never felt fully comfortable with the school to end the process. We'll see, but this one has me wondering for no good reason.

At linebacker, we're hearing that Alabama commit Zach Whitley had a good trip, but it's way too early to know if the state's top backer is willing to back off his verbal pledge. This will be one of those deals that if he does give A&M a legitimate look, it will be late in the process and a last minute deal. No word yet on an offer extended to Argyle LB Sam Sizelove, but if A&M wants a quick commitment from him, they better not wait much longer. There's usually a window of opportunity with a committed player, and coaches usually send out fall offers after watching three weeks of game film. With that three week mark in the books last weekend, it's time for the staff to either put up or move on because that's what the kid will do...especially with Texas Tech pushing him as well.

The biggest news at the position came from 2015 lb Malik Jefferson Mesquite Poteet who is the consensus No. 1 lb in the state and a top 3 overall prospect. I spoke to him about three weeks ago and even then he sounded like the Aggies had gained ground on long-time favorite Texas, and I was cautious optimistic about A&M's chances. But I've heard not only from A&M sources but Texas sources as well that the dismissal of DC Manny Diaz did not sit well with Jefferson whose prime contact with the Longhorns was Diaz. Add in an electric Kyle Field atmosphere last weekend, and I'd say the Aggies are the front runners and the team to beat at the moment. But remember we're talking about a 2015 kid, and there's a long way to go, and a likely coaching change in Austin that could have another impact.

At OL, as I predicted, the staff is now aggressively going after several juco linemen. And apparently two JUCO's are seeing what I'm seeing…A&M has an opportunity for one and possibly two JUCO's to step-in and start right away with Jake Matthews graduating and the possibility of Cedric Ogbuehi leaving for the NFL early.

Dontavius Blair is considered one of the elite offensive tackles in the Juco ranks, and he's been offered by every major program in the country. Most observers felt he was going to end up at Auburn, but the Aggies made a huge impression on his official visit to the point that his commitment was prematurely reported while he was still on-campus based on a text he sent out saying he was committed. You can interpret that to mean he in fact committed on his visit but wants to keep it quiet so not to be bothered by the services and coaches. Honestly, I'm leaning toward that scenario. I do think A&M will get this kid, barring any abrupt changes on his next visits to Ole Miss and Tennessee.

Mississippi Juco Avery Gennesy grew up just down the road from ole miss and common sense says he'll stay home, but ole miss didn't offer him out of high school and he's mentioned that in some updates. Guys at Scout close to the situation think it's a good sign that his mom will be traveling with him to College Station this weekend. IF all goes well, it wouldn't surprise me if the Aggies landed the big JUCO after the visit. I'm not ruling out A&M landing both JUCO's, and if that happens I'll feel much better about the offensive line next fall.

I'm hearing that Beaumont 5-star cornerback Tony Brown will likely be an lsu tiger, even after attending last week's game. It's about time to move on from Mr. Brown.

A&M has a better shot at safety Jamal Adams and I heard the aggies made up a lot of ground on Florida and have passed the longhorns. I'm hearing it's a Florida-A&M battle but he's liked the Gators for a long time now.

A&M took the early lead with several 2015 prospects including:

RB Soso Jamabo

S Justin Dunning

RB/LB Chris Warren

QB Kyler Murray

DE James Lockhart

I also spoke at length last night with Rockwall-Heath OL Trevor Elbert and I'll have a "just spoke to…" update in the morning, but he was at the Sam Houston game and loved it. He's very good friends with Jay Arnold and No. 96 is putting the hard sell on him about how much he loves Texas A&M. Elbert is originally from Fresno, California and he moved with his family to the Dallas area when he was in the fifth grade. He says he's a Texan though and has no desire to go back to California for anything more than a vacation to visit relatives. He said his recruitment will likely come down to A&M and Alabama, and while he didn't show his hand, I'd say the Aggies are in solid position here.

All of these 2015's are top 25 prospects in the state and 4-star recruits. With the struggles in Austin combined with the constant national exposure of the Aggies the past couple of weeks, Coach Sumlin has to be feeling good about the 2015 class with virtually every elite prospect in the state listing A&M at or near the top of their list. This will also have an impact on 2016 prospects and beyond. Aggie fans should enjoy.


I've actually got a lot of juicy hoops scoop across the board from recruiting to team news, but i know y'all want me to be brief. Let's start with the recruiting weekend that resulted in the commitment from four-star point guard Alex Robinson. This was a critical target for the Aggies as they desperately needed another true point guard on the roster to join J-Mike Reese in 2014. Recently moved up to No. 41 in the nation by and the No. 10 point guard in the 2015 class, Robinson is a great ballhandler, passer, and finisher. A&M beat out Pittsburgh, Memphis, and Vanderbilt, schools he visited this summer.

I actually spoke to a source close to Justise Winslow's mother, and according to her justise almost committed to Texas A&M at the end of the visit. He's already visited Arizona, and I'm told they are out. Kansas and Kentucky have also been eliminated. The Winslows are visiting Florida this weekend and Justise has a good relationship with Billy Donovan. However, if Winslow leaves Gainesville without committing to the Gators, stranger things have happened. I know. I know. Wishful thinking. And nobody is telling me A&M is in the catbird seat, but they are definitely in the hunt and in his top 3. So why the interest in A&M? As a wing, Winslow is a great athlete that plays above the rim and finishes at the rim strong. He's not a strong shooter at all, and A&M is selling him on the idea that the Aggies will build offensive sets around him where he gets the ball in his hands and is allowed to create and take advantage of his athleticism.

The staff will take a third prospect and they are still looking for a big man, and they may have to wait until the spring. The Sabonis kid is waiting until the spring and he's down to Gonzaga and A&M. We'll see if others jump in the mix over the winter. There are some other posts, but I'll discuss those options at a later date.

As far as the team this fall, J-Mike Reese has been battling an ankle injury and hasn't played much in recent weeks after getting good reviews in the summer. As far as the newcomers, I'm hearing the staff is most pleased with JUCO Jamal Jones and he should be a starter from day one. Freshman Devante Fitzgerald plays the same position, but he'll also get plenty of playing time and they are very high on him. There were some questions about Antwan Space's play, but he's been very impressive the past two weeks and is surging heading into fall practices. Overall, the staff is cautiously optimistic about this team. What they know for certain is that the team is better than last year's bunch.

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