Aggies looking for more speed

With the new coaching staff, came an old philosophy -- speed kills. They signed one linebacker with that in mind, but now they've got their eyes set on at least one defensive end/linebacker with the same attribute. Aggie Websider visits with the latest A&M defensive target.

Toward the end of the Class of 2008 recruiting season, the new coach staff at Texas A&M identified several speedy outside edge rush athletes at outside linebacker and defensive end to address a lack of team speed on defense. While the coaches were successful in signing one of those athletes, Ricky Cavanaugh of Austin LBJ, in other cases they were late to the game and lost out on several athletes that would add speed to the edge.

In 2009, expect the Aggies to heavily recruit these outside rush athletes. One such prospect is Converse Judson OLB/DE Chris McAllister. Ranked No. 22 on the M&W/Aggie Websider 2009 Top 100, the 6-foot-3, 215-pound San Antonio area recruit has been clocked at 4.62 and played both linebacker and defensive end in high school.

"I'm pretty fast, but I feel I'm quick because I'm aware of what's happening around me and I'm knowledgeable of the game. I'm good at reading what the offense is doing," McAllister said. "But there's still room to improve. I need to hit the weight room this offseason and get stronger."

He's been on the radar screen of many high level Division I programs including Texas A&M, where he visited this past Saturday for the school's junior day. While the Aggies did not extend a formal offer this weekend, there is plenty of interest from the coaching staff and an offer could be extended in the near future.

"It was a nicely organized event and very informative," McAllister said. "The coaches are good people and the players there had great things to say about them. I'm friends with Jonathan Batson and he said the staff is great."

McAllister was especially impressed with head coach Mike Sherman who spelled out clearly what type of player he's looking for both on and off the field.

"Coach Sherman made it very clear he's looking to add speed and get back to the days of the Wrecking Crew when A&M defenses attacked opponents with aggressiveness and speed. He said I fit their mold," McAllister said. "But he was also very focused on family first and making sure we're balanced in our lives. He also stresses taking care of academics as well."

That particularly hit home for McAllister, whose father is in the military. Moving around from assignment to assignment brought the family closer with the many changes in scenery from Germany to now San Antonio and places in-between. His father and cousin both played for Ole' Miss, and thus he grew up following SEC football. Having only been in Texas 5-6 years, McAllister is just now familiarizing himself with football programs in the state and the Big 12.

"I mainly followed the SEC growing up since my dad and cousin played at Ole' Miss," McAllister said. "But I really liked what I saw and heard at A&M and they will definitely be on my top list of schools. I'm already planning to go back for a summer camp."

But it's still early in the process for McAllister who will attend the Texas junior day event next weekend and is looking at visiting TCU in the near future.

"All schools are equal at this point. I'm wide open," McAllister said. "The process just started and I don't want to rule any school out that is interested in me. I plan to check out my options before I decide."

McAllister is expected to grow into a fast, undersized defensive end, apposition he feels is his natural spot on the field. He's already added 10 pounds of bulk since the end of last season and should easily accommodate the added weight.

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