Scouting the Big 12: Texas A&M

It's Aggieland under new management or the Junction Boys in reverse, if you like, as Dennis Franchione leaves ‘Bama to take over the reigns for an underachieving A&M program. Several solid middle-round prospects presently reside on the squad.

The top prospect on offense is lineman Jami Hightower, the left tackle. A fundamentally sound blocker and strong at the point of attack, Hightower makes great use of blocking angles and body position to get the job done. He easily controls opponents once engaged at the point or handles one-on-one blocking assignments. Hightower is neither nifty nor nimble and is also shorter than what one wants in a blind side protector. His best pro-position could be inside at guard. As of posting it seems as Hightower could miss the entire 2003 campaign as medication he took for an infection is having lingering effects.

Notre Dame transfer Jamar Taylor is a tall, angular pass catcher with solid hands. He lacks top end speed and the ability to get deep separation but has a penchant for finding the open spot on the field and could fit in as a fifth receiver in the NFL.

Defensively, tackle Marcus Jasmin is a powerful force on the inside that bulrushes opponents up the field and disrupts plays. A solid athlete, Jasmin also does a competent job making plays out to the flanks. He must buckle down and properly condition himself to be highly ranked going into his senior season in 2004.

Defensive end Linnis Smith gets a good amount of up field pressure yet at the same time does a competent job defending the run. With the Aggies moving away from their traditional three-four defensive scheme and going to a four man line, expect Smith to shine as a senior, which will help his draft ranking.

Linebacker Jarred Morris stacks up against the run well on the inside but suffers against the pass and is a two-down defender.

Corners Sean Weston and Byron Jones flash excellent cover skills on occasion. Weston may be best as a nickel back in the NFL but Jones, only a junior, looks to be the next good cover-man coming from College Station.

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