Countdown 2007: Websider Impact Players - #23

Aggie Websider takes a look at 25 players who can make the biggest impact for the Aggies this year. These rankings are not based on talent, but rather, what contributions can be made by individuals to put Texas A&M back among the nation's elite programs.

The 2007 Aggie offense is centered around the rushing attack of Mike Goodson and Jorvorskie Lane, but that attack begins down in the trenches. That trench is anchored by several players who are receiving preseason accolades on the national level like center Cody Wallace, guard Kirk Elder and tackle Corey Clark.

But the other guys on the offensive line need to step up for the Aggies to have a successful year and I believe offensive tackle Yemi Babalola is ready for the challenge.

What he's done so far

Babalola won the starting job as a freshman and started all 11 games for the Aggies in 2005, earning Freshman All-American honors. The 2005 offense averaged 442.3 yards of total offense per game, the No. 2 Aggie offense in school history. The Aggies ran for 234.9 yards per game during Babalola's freshman year, which was best rushing attack that A&M had mounted since 1991.

Most people probably remember Babalola best for his body slam tackle during the run back of a turnover at Kyle Field in 2005, which epitomizes his aggressive style of play.

Last year, Babalola was listed as a starting offensive tackle heading into the season but missed four games and saw limited action in just about every game due to injuries. That time away from the action should have added an extra hunger to Babalola and he'll be ready to contribute in a big, big way in 2007.

Why he's important

Babalola plays with an aggressive mean streak and showed what he was capable of his freshman year before nagging injuries limited his effectiveness in 2006. If he can come back in 2007 at 100 percent and stay healthy, he could be a real difference maker for the Aggies' attack.

With a well-known rushing game plan and a desire to stretch the field this year, the offensive line is a key piece of the equation. Babalola hasn't received as much preseason press as others on the line, but if he returns to the same aggressive tackle that showed flashes of brilliance in 2005, that makes the A&M offensive attack that much more dangerous, as well as provide maximum protection for McGee in the pocket.




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