2013 Football Recruiting Overview - Offense

With the regular season coming to an end, the coaching staff has hit the road in full force and making a final push on the last remaining uncommitted prospects. Aggie Websider's David Sandhop takes a look at where 2013 recruiting efforts stand on the offensive side of the ball.

With the regular season coming to an end, the coaching staff has hit the road in full force and their destinations the past 3-4 days have given us some insight into some evolving priorities for the remainder of this class. Let's go by position.


Quarterback (Done)

Kyle Allen is 100% solid and he'll be enrolling at mid-term. He's been talking up the Aggies on Twitter and recruiting uncommitted prospects to join him in College Station. The staff will visit him on Friday. Even though Allen is 100% solid, there are some question marks going forward at the position. Will the Aggies have 2, 3, or 4 scholarship QB's on-campus next season? The biggest question being asked in all of college football is whether redshirt sophomore Johnny Manziel will stay or go. The smart money obviously says he goes and there's a lot of circumstantial evidence to support his preparations for leaving. With that said, I've heard from several different sources that mom continues to tell people who want to listen that Johnny is seriously considering a return to A&M next season. Is it wishful thinking on her part, or is there substance behind her comments? It's probably more wishful thinking. I've also been hearing rumors that Matt Joeckel is seriously considering leaving. I'm not sure if that means graduating and seeking an immediate transfer or simply retiring and moving on to the real world. This is all rumor and conjecture at this point.

But I mention it because the situation could cause a serious depth problem if both Manziel and Joeckel leave the program. That would leave only two scholarship QB's on the roster. Now, both are very good QB prospects, but combined both have taken about 30 collegiate snaps in total and that was in mostly mop-up duty. There's been some talk of recruiting a dual-threat type of QB that would serve as an emergency back-up, but it's December and just about every QB worth his salt already has a home. Plus, the staff can just as easily get one of the walk-ons like Connor McQueen or Connor Fiest ready for emergency duty. It's not unprecedented. Walk-on Ty Branyon played in several big games and performed solidly at the QB position that was extremely thin at the time. So I don't foresee any recruiting moves, especially with the uncertainty and the timing.


Running Back (Done)

The staff flirted with a few running back prospects in the offseason, and that caused long-time commit Shaun Nixon to sniff around some other options very briefly. His junior season was injury-riddled and frankly disappointing. He didn't seem to have a good burst of speed and ran more east-west than north-south. What a difference a year makes because he looked like a different back this fall. He's a great cutter in space but he shows off tremendous acceleration and speed, and that is carrying over to a dominant playoff run. In last week's game against Dallas Jesuit, Nixon ran wild against a pretty good team to the tune of 334 yards on 30 carries and several long TD runs. The Aggies will be loaded at running back next year…going 4-5 deep. Make that loaded for the foreseeable future with juniors Rodney Anderson and Jay Bradford already in the 2015 fold.


Offensive Line (0-1 and hold on to JUCO's)

Targets:

Chris Brown
Nick Gates
Braden Smith

The staff has three very athletic high school offensive linemen that have been committed for many months and are rock solid. But all three are undersized and will need a couple of years to bulk up to SEC standards. With the distinct possibility that juniors Cedric Ogbuehi and/or Jarvis Harrison leave early for the NFL, the staff kicked it into high gear and landed two of the more important prospects in this class when Top 5 JUCO tackles Jermaine Eluemunor and most recently Avery Gennesy pledged to the A&M staff and will be in College Station by January. Sumlin and Anderson made one of their first stops this week to see Gennesy at his school as he prepares to play in the NJCAA title game this weekend. They followed that up with a home visit to see his mom, and according to a late night text from Avery, he's still feeling very comfortable with his decision. Eluemunor is getting recruited hard by Penn State and other suitors, but for now the big man is solid. Coach Sumlin and BJ Anderson are scheduled to visit Jermaine on his birthday, December 13. Things look good on this front, but the staff will need to be vigilant as both Gennesy and Eluemunor will be recruited hard by other schools over the next two weeks. Keeping these two is a high priority and critical for the program. It appears that will likely happen at this point.

The staff would still like to sign another high school offensive lineman given the uncertain futures of freshmen Joas Aguilar and J.J. Gustafson who is coming off a serious knee injury from last year. The three targets are long-time recruit Braden Smith from Kansas, recent offer Chris Brown from California, and versatile Las Vegas prospect Nick Gates. I'm hearing a lot of buzz surrounding Gates and his interest in Texas A&M, but the staff would love to wait on Smith. In fact, Smith was one of Sumlin's first visits after the Missouri game, seeing Smith on Sunday night. TCU and now Missouri are in the running, but I heard the in-home visit went very well and A&M is in a promising position. On the other hand, Brown just didn't seem comfortable with the Texas culture while he was here and I'm hearing from other Scout.com publishers that the smart money is on Oregon with USC being the dark horse with the new coach…with A&M on the outside looking in even after an in-home visit on Tuesday. So A&M is in position to fill that last OL spot with either Gates or Smith.


Wide Receiver (2-3 more)

Targets:

Josh Reynolds
Frank Iheanacho
Davion Hall
Speedy Noil
Dominique Booth

Wide receiver and linebacker are the two positions with the most needs in this class and with potentially the most drama that will play out over the next 45 days. The one known fact here is that Tyler JUCO Josh Reynolds has made no secret with me and other services that his commitment is just a matter of time. In fact, during the writing of this update, he in fact did commit to the Aggies. He brings length to the position, and talking to people close to their program Josh has really taken his game to the next level over the past month. From there it gets interesting. Houston Westside WR Frank Iheanacho hit the recruiting radar in a big way a couple of months ago after his coach sent out highlights of his first three games of his senior year and he received immediate attention. At 6-foot-7 with a receiver build, he's being recruited by every major elite program in the country. A&M was the first major program to offer and he's close friends with Westside alum Germain Ifedi, so the Aggies have been the team to beat and most gurus still project he'll end up in College Station. I think the odds are in Texas A&M's favor. However, when you see teams like Oregon, Florida State, Ole Miss, and Arkansas lining up for visits, I wouldn't call the Nacho a done deal just yet.

The recruitment of Davion Hall has been somewhat of a mystery to most A&M fans. Considered by many to be a Top 5 prospect in the state and one of the best (if not THE best) receiver recruits in Texas, the A&M staff was slow to warm up to him and in fact suggested he play safety at their first meeting which turned him off. That was enough to allow Baylor to earn his early commitment despite that Davion's brother is A&M RB Tra Carson. But by the summer, Hall acknowledged that he was still looking around at Alabama and Texas A&M. Nick Saban appears to have backed away and that leaves the Bears and Aggies. While Hall has not showed his hand publicly, internal sources within the A&M camp have been surprisingly optimistic over the past month or so. Then, Coach Sumlin visited with Hall on Tuesday, and the buzz suggests that meeting went exceptionally well and A&M sources seem very confident Hall will switch and sign with the Aggies.

Then there's Edna Carr HS WR Speedy Noil who has basically stated his recruitment has come down to the home state LSU Tigers and the Aggies. He has a relative on the LSU staff and the general consensus from the national recruiting media that he'll stay close to home and become a Tiger just like every other Louisiana prospect with an LSU offer. He is also taking his official visit this weekend to LSU, so on the surface the deck looks stacked in Les Miles' favor. But the A&M staff feels more confident than the pundits and they will be in the stands to watch him and teammate DL Gerald Willis this weekend. Noil is intrigued about the Texas A&M offense, and that has kept Texas A&M squarely in the race. I'm not confident for obvious reasons, but I don't think it's a "done deal" to LSU just yet. Let's see how this weekend plays out. He's a mid-termer so a decision should be announced in the next few weeks after their playoff run is complete.

There was talk about four-star Indiana WR Dominique Booth decommitting from Tennessee and looking at Missouri, Indiana, and Texas A&M. But it was clear when I briefly spoke to him a couple of days ago that he was mentioning other schools to get more leverage with the Tennessee coaches who recently asked him to delay his signing to February and enroll in the summer. That appears to be happening and while the A&M staff will stay in-touch, I think he's a longshot at this point as I think he'll land in Knoxville as originally planned.

Overall, I think A&M has a good chance to land three of these targets and filling out its needs at the receiver position. They will need all three given a combination of player graduation, a couple of receivers that have left the program, and even a couple of young prospects that are considering a transfer. Now, sources believe the young receivers in question (Tabuyo, LaRue) are just a little bit home sick with the holidays approaching and will be fine, but you never know what an 18 year old will do in this situation. That's why it was critical to land the JUCO receiver and why the staff needs to close with a couple of more on the list.

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