Nine that will shine from class of 2009

After taking a look back at the top eight seniors from the class of 2008, Aggie Websider now takes a look forward at who will fill those shoes. Here's a look at nine seniors from the Class of 2009 that should step up both on and off the field this year.

Stephen McGee, Quarterback, Football
Despite a hungry-for-playing-time Jerrod Johnson waiting in the wings, Aggie quarterback Stephen McGee is still the heart and soul of this team, and they way he fought to come back from shoulder surgery to participate in spring drills had to earn him even more respect from his teammates and the new coaching staff.

He may also benefit more than any other player on the team from the new staff. He's smart, so he'll be able to learn the new offense quickly and he showed in high school that he's capable of stretching the field. As long as he has some go to receivers, he's going to turn some heads this season, and there will be plenty of coaches around the Big 12 wondering "is this the same option-running Stephen McGee?"

Cyril Obiozor, Defensive End, Football
Defensive end Cyril Obiozor led the team in 2007 with sacks and tackles for loss. He looked even more impressive in spring drills and seemed to be learning new technique from the new staff as well. He's looking to impress NFL scouts as well and could emerge as one of the leaders on defense this year with the departure of Red Bryant and Chris Harrington.

Jorvorskie Lane, Fullback, Football
The J-Train has been a solid tailback over the last three years, but with the move to fullback in 2008, there are lots of question marks. However, new head coach Mike Sherman seems to have convinced him that fullback is where his future would be in the NFL and he'll have a chance to show what he can do this season at the new position.

Fans should be excited to see Lane and Michael Goodson (or Bradley Stephens) on the field at the same time, which should open up some options on the ground for Sherman and Co. Towards the end of spring drills, Lane seemed to be more comfortable at the new position and God knows not many people would want to have to run through one of his lead blocks for the tailbacks.

Travis Schneider, Offensive Line, Football
With the loss of pretty much the entire starting offensive line from a year ago, there's definitely a need for leadership in the trenches for the Aggies on offense, and Travis Schneider, the lone senior on this year's line, will be looked to for just that. It will be a new unit this year, and he'll be asked to lead the way for an extremely talented backfield that includes Lane, Goodson and Stephens.

The offensive line will be the key for the Aggies on offense this season, so Schneider's role is an important one. Without an effective line, it won't matter who the Aggies have in the backfield and it new routes by receivers won't matter if McGee doesn't have time to find them.

Josh Carter, Forward, Men's Basketball
Josh Carter struggled a bit in 2007-08 after leading the nation in three-point percentage in his sophomore campaign. The senior to be no longer had Acie Law running the show, forcing defenders to worry about him and setting Carter up with open looks at the basket. He's working on creating his own shot and going to the basket off the dribble, which will help him get more open looks as well, and with another year under Donald Sloan's belt, and a new point guard coming in in Dash Harris, teams may not be able to sit on Carter when the Aggies need a big shot.

However, that may depend more on Sloan and Harris than Carter. But if they're able to improve at point guard, it will pay huge dividends for Carter, who will also need to step up as one of the vocal leaders of the team with the departure of Joseph Jones and Dominique Kirk.

Kyle Thebeau, RHP, Baseball
Kyle Thebeau led the Aggies in ERA this season—and the Big 12 for much of the year—but he struggled down the stretch, which may or may not have been the result of fatigue after making a team-high 33 appearances on the mound this season. The dominant right hander out of the pen struck out 79 batters in 76.1 innings of work, but struggled at times with control, walking a team-high 37 hitters as well.

Thebeau was drafted in the ninth round by San Diego, but he told Aggie Websider that San Diego would have to make an extremely nice offer for him to give up $80-90k a year with a petroleum engineering degree. Expect him to be back on the mound at Olsen next year, anchoring a much improved bullpen.

Kyle Colligan, Center Fielder, Baseball
Aggie centerfielder Kyle Colligan (.317, 14 HR, 39 RBI) will go down as one of the best non-drafted player in school history after his junior year, but that won't do anything but motivate the outspoken centerfielder for his senior year. The leadoff hitter-turned power hitter in the last few weeks of the season is already one of the leaders of the Aggie baseball squad and he's not shy about his goals for the team. He wants to win a national championship. He expects to win a national championship. Anything less is disappointing to him.

He'll have another crack at it in 2009, and with the way the draft numbers are currently shaking out, the Aggies may have an even more explosive offense to go along with a potentially better pitching staff as well. And Colligan will be a key on and off the field in 2009.

Danielle Gant, Guard/Forward, Women's Basketball
Megan Gibson was the face of Texas A&M women's athletics in 2007-2008, but the Aggies won't have to wait too long to find a replacement. Aggie hoops star Danielle Gant—the most underrated basketball player in the Big 12 and possibly the nation—will do just fine. She'll have to.

With the departure of A'Quonesia Frankline and Morenike Atunrase, the Aggie women's basketball team, which was one basket away from the Final Four last season, will need new leadership. Gant, who was second on the team with 14.7 points per game last season is capable of being one of those players. She can do it all, play defense, post up, shot the outside jumper, etc. She'll be a key piece of the puzzle for Gary Blair to make another run at a Big 12 Championship and get the Aggies back to their fourth straight NCAA Tournament.

Takia Starks, Guard, Women's Basketball
Along with Gant, Takia Starks is the other must-have player for Gary Blair and the Aggies this year. Starks led the team with 16.3 points per game, thanks in large part to her 65 three pointers, which was also a team high. Starks is very similar to Josh Carter in that she loves the open look from behind the arch, but unlike Carter, Starks will have a very good point guard who should be ready to step in, in Sydney Colson (the first freshman to be voted team captain in Blair's career).

Expect Starks to continue to be a go to shooter for Blair and to take over some of the leadership responsibilities with the departure of Franklin.




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