Inside linebacker Kevin Meitzenheimer, cornerback Jaylan Brown and outside linebacker Troy Murray, who all redshirted during the 2016 season

Inside linebacker Kevin Meitzenheimer, cornerback Jaylan Brown and outside linebacker Troy Murray, who all redshirted during the 2016 season, as well as 2016 signee, safety Dayshawn Littleton were all arrested in the past month

As has been widely publicized this offseason, there have been several players have run-ins with the law. Inside linebacker Kevin Meitzenheimer, cornerback Jaylan Brown and outside linebacker Troy Murray, who all redshirted during the 2016 season, as well as 2016 signee, safety Dayshawn Littleton were all arrested in the past month, with each allegedly having various roles of involvement in the same incident. Littleton did not participate as a member of the team in 2016, as he presumably was working toward academic eligibility. Brown, Meitzenheimer and Murray have all been given the dreaded "suspended from all team activities" tag. To put it gently, the list of players that have NOT made it back from the "suspended" list is much longer than the list of players that actually have. In fact, the only player that I recall ever making it back to the team was Mo Alexander.

The loss of the four players absolutely puts a hole in the overall depth of the team. It's not easy to lose and replace three and potentially four scholarship players in the offseason. Especially, in an offseason where, by my count the Aggies are already heading into fall camp with only 79 scholarship players. That number is now down to 76 with the loss of Brown, Meitzenheimer and Murray. To offset those losses a little, the Aggies may have the opportunity to add three players who are returning from their LDS Church missions. Two of those kids who have a chance to fill the vacancies at linebacker are Daniel Langi and Simian Matagi. The other returning Missionary is defensive end Harris LaChance. If the three of those players do indeed make it back in time for fall camp, all three signings would count toward the signing class of 2018 as "blueshirt" or "push forward" signings. The Aggies received a "push forward" commitment just yesterday from Snow Junior College offensive lineman Moroni Iniguez, who will have 3 years to play 3, once he arrives on campus this summer. In the event that Iniguez and all three return Missionaries do participate in fall camp, that would push the Aggie scholarship numbers up to 80 total scholarship athletes in the program. 

Kids getting into trouble is never a positive situation for the kids or the program. The kids, who typically really are good kids, unfortunately make dumb choices, saddle themselves with a criminal record and now have to live with the mistakes that were made. The program is publicly shamed and the non-fan or casual fan soon forget that for the few kids that do make poor choices and get into trouble, there are 100 plus kids still in the program that are doing everything right!

As far as the program is concerned, there is a way that the discrepancy in scholarship players can be made up. Each season a team can sign a total of 25 new players during the December and February signing periods. As I stated above, with the addition of Moroni Iniguez and fiven the three returning Missionaries all make it to fall camp in August as "blueshirt" signings, each player would count toward the signing class of 2018. Leaving the Aggies the opportunity to sign 21 more players. By my count there are 17 scholarship seniors on the upcoming 2017 Aggie squad. That would leave room for the Aggie coaching staff to add four more players taking one of two approaches. First, the staff still has the opportunity to add more "push forward" kids, such as the Missionaries and Iniguez, over the summer. Kids that could be added that way would be high school kids, late qualifying junior college transfers, non-graduate kids transferring from another school or graduate transfers. The second method would be to simply wait and fill the scholarships with kids during the December and February signing periods. Of course, using a combination of both possibilities could always be a good idea as well.

Regardless of how the staff chooses to fill the open spots, the 2018 signing class is the perfect opportunity to hit the reset button so to speak and bring in good, young, promising talent, that will fit in with what the rest of the team is trying to accomplish on and off the field.


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