One of three commitments that Texas A&M received on Sunday at the program's third junior day came from Cedar Hill running back Ben Malena. The 5-foot-10, 200-pound playmaker rebounded from an injury his sophomore year to gain 2,110 yards and score 38 touchdowns this past season as a junior. That was enough to receive early offers from Minnesota, Kansas, Iowa, TCU, Tulsa, and Texas A&M, but it was the message from the Aggie coaches that sealed the deal.
"A lot of schools were interested in me and said they wanted me to come play for them," Malena said. "But the A&M coaches kept saying they needed me and that I was somebody that fit exactly what they were looking for at running back. That meant a lot to me."
The Cedar Hill product drove down with his father to attend Texas A&M's junior day on Sunday, and to observe one of the team's spring practices on Kyle Field, but upon their arrival they were promptly escorted to the coaches offices to meet with running backs coach Randy Jordan, offensive coordinator Nolan Cromwell, and eventually head coach Mike Sherman.
"I first talked to Coach Jordan and Coach Cromwell and they were telling me that I'd make an immediate impact next year. They have the runners who can break it to the outside, but they need somebody with my balance and power who can get the tough yards between the tackles, break tackles and make things happen," Malena said.
After spending some time with the offensive coaches, then came his meeting with Coach Sherman.
"He was telling me about his NFL experiences and how he's looking forward to bringing that success to Aggieland. He felt I was a big piece to the puzzle for what they want to do on offense," Malena said. "He asked me what I thought about Texas A&M, and I told him I wanted to commit."
Malena indicated that his commitment in the office took the head coach off-guard, but that he was pleasantly surprised.
"Yeah, I think I surprised him a little bit but he was very excited about it," Malena said. "He came over and gave me a hug and welcomed me. Coach Jordan was pretty happy. It's a great knowing that your future coaches want you this much. It shows that they see good things in me."
Malena becomes the first running back commitment in Texas A&M's 2010 class, and joins a talented yet thin group of ball carriers in College Station. After watching Cyrus Gray and Bradley Stephens practice on Sunday, A&M's newest back sees a role for him in the offense.
"Cyrus and Bradley are great running backs. They made some great moves and had some good runs today," Malena said. "I'm more of a north-south runner with good balance who can get a lot of yards after contact. I think my skills compliment those guys. I'm looking forward to working with them next year."
Malena says that the recruiting process will likely end with Sunday's commitment and he's happy to be an Aggie and prepare for his senior season. He plans to return to College Station in a couple of weeks for the team's spring game on April 18.
Malena Pulls The Trigger
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