To some, spring practice is nothing more than the football junkie's chance to translate every bobbled snap, freshman mistake, and amazing play into a complete vision of how the team will perform over 5 months from now. Perhaps the only thing worse than making this hyperbole is to try and predict the predictions, with a "prevaluation" of how the team will fare for the spring. It is on this note that I bring you the projected awards for the spring.
Best position change: Chris Caflisch – WR to S
It may seem unfair to pick this after we have already had one report promoting him in the secondary, but those of us who attended last year's spring practice could have all said this was a good move. The things that made Chris effective as a receiver carry over even more on the defensive side of the ball – quick feet, agile hips for routes or adjusting to them, and a nose for where the play will flow. As a former quarterback, his instincts will be top notch which should make up for any deficiencies with top-end speed.
(Darkhorse Pick: Matt Featherston – LB to DE/hybrid)
Most Valuable Player: Jeff Fuller – WR
Every A&M player in the last 5 years that has seemed NFL caliber has always brought with them a seemingly long list of question marks. Attitude, durability, speed, skinny ankles, you name it, and it was surely hanging over one of the Aggies' heads. However, this year Jeff Fuller represents perhaps the most complete package of any A&M skill player since Robert Furgeson. His size, speed, hands, leap ability, and concentration are going to make him a staple of the Aggie offense in the spring and beyond, and he could very well shatter every A&M receiving record if he continues to develop.
(Darkhorse Pick: Jerrod Johnson – QB)
Most Improved Player: Bradley Stephens – RB
There are certain auras that hang around individuals during practices, and last year it was easily apparent what was around Stephens: "Just wait for it". With Mike Goodson taking the first team snaps and the breath away from onlookers, Bradley Stephens quietly had day after good day, save the fumbling issues which are usually easily corrected. Stephens has been known for his amazing work ethic, and with the threat of incoming freshman Christine Michael in his rear-view mirror he knows his time is now. His highlight reel may never again be as impressive as his ones from the Valley, but he should turn some heads this spring.
(Darkhorse Pick: Cody Williams – DE)
Best Unit: Wide Receivers
It is a sign of how fast things change when A&M, who had not eclipsed over 2500 yards passing in three straight seasons before last year, enters the season with a stable of receiving corps rivaling that of any school in the Big 12. Obviously the headliners are Jeff Fuller and Ryan Tannehill, assuming the latter does not win the quarterback position outright, but the unit will have surprising depth as well. Howard Morrow has one more chance to show his stuff, although the real depth will be waiting in the wings, as several crucial freshman recruits can make an early impact. Also, if Aggie fans forgot the name Roger Holland, they would do well to remember it.
(Darkhorse Pick: Safeties)
Most Improved Unit: Offensive Line
While the linebacking corps is getting flipped more than a jump rope, there is simply not the personnel there to warrant an expectation of immediate improvement. However, the right pieces could be in place for A&M's interior to be significantly upgraded. Matt Allen is an absolute steal from LSU, as he brings depth in the center/guard rotation which can then help the coaches filter other players towards the edges. I believe Lucas Patterson will find a home finally at tackle, and Lee Grimes should be healthier after his six-million dollar man impersonation last season. This unit remains very thin on the corner until the class of 2009 steps on campus, but compared to last season's crop this unit will be better at nearly every position.
(Darkhorse Pick: Defensive Tackle)
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