Here at Aggie Rundown, we were so excited for today that we had to start talking about it yesterday. Follow along while we talk back and forth about the class we are signing and finally get to some surprises from just moments ago!
One Day Until National Signing Day
Scott: One day away from National Signing Day! How psyched are you Trey Bahney?
If you would allow me to get all sentimental for a moment... Tomorrow really is the last day of *repeated for the kazillionth time* the best Aggie football season of my fan-hood (granted my fan-hood only began in 2005). National Signing Day is the day we put the finishing touches on a nationally famous fightin' Texas Aggies top 10 recruiting class. I love recruiting... ALMOST as much as I love the NFL draft, if for no other reason than the Draft is essentially one HUGE explosion of flavor over a 3-day span, while recruiting is a year-round process to follow and absorb. These are the future studs of our program... the future Luke Joeckel, the future Ryan Swope, the future Damontre Moore... they are all out there, hiding under a big rock (aka Kerrville Tivy).
So let's jump into it... I know you probably don't follow recruiting as in depth as I do Mr. Bahney... so I hope you put your research hat on today.
Oh and by the way, we are touching on EVERY single recruit... even if it is just a shameless list at the end.
First big question (in three parts). What recruit are you MOST excited about? What recruit do you think helps us the most NEXT season? Who is your "sleeper" in this recruiting class? (Feel free to include the guys that enrolled at Christmas)
Trey: Alright, well here's a (fingers crossed) in-complete list of everyone we will have sign tomorrow, but at least it will get us going.
Holy cow that's a lot of names!!
OK, let's do this. Here I've begun breaking down the positions by highlighting the main guy I think contributes. First and foremost is the most important player/position in this class.
Sebastian LaRue: He's first to discuss because he's the guy I think helps us the most next year. He's a straight burner who has just enough size to hold a down-field block when we need it. Now, do they teach WRs how to block in California? I have no clue. But I guarantee you that Dave Beaty will teach him how to down-field block. Regardless, this guy, Quiv (Laquvionte Gonzalez), and Jeremy Tabuyo are the burners we need to get behind the SEC defenses. Key to our continued success against the better SEC defenses in 2013 will be these three burners.
JaQuay Williams: You may knock me on this, but in a group consisting of Ricky Seals-Jones, Derrick Griffin (pending he gets in), Kyrion Parker, and Cameron Clear, I think JaQuay is the first to see real play time. Both JaQuay and Cameron have the benefit of going through spring practice so they will be much better prepared to contribute early and I just see JaQuay fitting better into Sumlin's offense. Slip up though, and by sophomore year, JaQuay could become a name lost in the depth chart behind the much bigger names (and frames) in this group.
Alright, I hit all the wide receivers. That's like half of our class, right?
Scott: Wow, so you didn't really follow my three question outline... and now I have no idea where to go with this. I want to follow my gut and discuss players that stand out to me for whatever reason, no need to stick to a position by position outline.
Your wide receiver analysis was great though. And since you have already brought all the names to the table, I will throw in my brief two cents. Insanely excited for RSJ and Griffin (if he gets in). These two guys are clearly MEN among boys when it comes to size and athleticism. Absolute freaks of nature that could become SPECIAL players, thus why they "intrigue" me the most.
I am totally on board with your praise of LaRue and JaQuay. I think JaQuay is definitely the sleeper of the group in regards to contributing next year; he has the size to hold up, and the additional benefit of a spring practice under. As for LaRue... well you were spot on. We need a burner a la Torrey Smith to place opposite of Mike Evans for the next couple years. Requiring the opposing safeties to respect a true deep-threat will take our offense to a new level.
Finally, we come to Quiv. Really, really, really excited about this guy. He is the truest form of lightning in a bottle. I envision him moving all around the offense wrecking havoc via countless plays designed especially for him. You can't teach this kind of short-end speed and agility. I am predicting big things, I think his quickness will be an X-factor at the collegiate level.
Alright, moving on from receivers (which really does cover a big chunk of the class) and back to my three questions.
Recruits I most excited about (which would have been a receiver no doubt): Justin Manning and Isaiah Golden. Difference makers on the defensive line are huge. I am all about controlling the trenches, and my dream scenario has these two starting alongside each other in 2014. Difference makers on the defensive line indirectly create difference makers at linebacker and the secondary. Fingers crossed that at least one of these two pans out. Justin Manning has quite the wishy-washy recruiting process. I hope that translates into on the field swag, as opposed to off the field distractions.
Sleeper: Good old Kenny Hill. This article had me all sorts of intrigued (comparing him and Johnny). The guy is a gamer. He was brought up in a winning system and he absolutely dominated the highest level of competition in high school (Texas 5A). Maybe his physical 'stats' aren't mind blowing... but hey, they don't need to be in college football. Quarterbacks that win, are quarterbacks that I want.
Alright, take it away Trey.
Trey: Wait... Are you telling me that the reigning Gatorade Texas High School Football Player of the Year and AP Class 5A Offensive Player of the Year can be considered a sleeper? Well I would suggest no one sleep on Kenny Hill, that is for sure, but what about Kohl Stewart? He's a kid who probably has the quickest release in all of Texas High School football (hence his more-than-great chances to being drafted in the MLB). He's very athletic, makes quick decisions, and is not afraid to make any throw. He's a pure pocket passer and I think his game would look very similar to Geno Smith (can you say... Jake Spavital?) or Brandon Weeden (can you say... Jake Spavital and MLB?). He'll throw the ball 100 times a game if he's asked. I fear we will never truly get to see who wins between Kohl and Kenny as one of them will be taken from the Aggies by the MLB before it is all said and done, but how exciting would it be to see these two battle it out for an entire spring ball for that starting spot? Throw in a Matt Davis with a year and a half head-start and I think we'll be fine on the QB front in the coming years.
Here's my sleeper: Darius Claiborne
He played both ways in High School (QB at that) so you know he's not afraid to do anything asked of him from his coaches. What does a team do when they don't have a real QB option? They put their X-Factor player at QB and hope for some magic. Personally, I love line backers who also played QB. It tells me he can see the same play through the eyes of the QB and anticipate better than your average LB. That being said, Claiborne and Jordan Mastrogiovanni are two guys who I heard a ton about but are rated lower than Reggie Chevis and Brett Wade. Brett Wade? Who is Brett Wade??? Apparently he has been commited since May? Well one thing is for sure, we need more bodies in the box because we are DANGEROUSLY thin right now so toss them all in the back of the pick-up and let's get this Wrecking Crew to work!
What do we have left? Do you want to talk O-line? I mean, we saw how successful Jonny Football can be with a dominant O-line so I'm excited to add Ishmail Wilson to the trenches, but do you think Joas Aguilar or J.J. Gutsafson ever make it farther than clean-up duty? I would love to eat my words on this one, but I feel like we aren't exactly re-loading at the position like we should be.
Also... WHY IS THERE NO KICKER? I mean, we're handing out a potential 34 scholarships and none of them are to fix our biggest glaring need at the end of the season? Sumlin does know you can't just pick up a kicker off the waiver list, right?
Scott: GIVE ME A KICKER!!! Remove Bertolet's scholarship immediately. Why not pick up a chick of the girl's soccer team? Seriously. We have a fantastic girl's soccer team, why not snag one of those ladies? Plus it would mean additional publicity to take the spotlight off Johnny. I am all about the circus show when it comes to kicking. They let Johnny try it, why not let one of the girl soccer players try it. The female population would love it (but wait, are we really concerned with making that demographic happy?).
Whoa, bad tangent... I can get consumed in the kicking woes from time to time.
Back to recruiting.
Kenny Hill has the accolades. That's what I was attempting to refer to in my early email. The guy wins everything, yet his recruiting rankings don't fully reflect that (#137 overall by Rivals, #230 on the 247 Sports Composite Rankings, and an unranked 3-star on ESPN). That is why he could be considered a sleeper. Kohl Stewart, bless his heart, seems dead set on coming to Texas A&M thus far, although that will be tested this summer when the MLB waves a wad of cash in his face.
What about the secondary (or the predicted secondary)? This has got to be the hardest position to analyze and pinpoint as a college recruiter, don't you think? For every stud high school athlete on the field, there might be 10 other average ones lined up next to him. Other positions can be analyzed via size and strength turning into physical domination, but the secondary? How many ELITE passing attacks do these guys go up against in a given season? Probably more than there used to be, but still. Obviously receivers that don't pan out often get a chance in the secondary with hope that their skills find a better fit on the defensive side. With that being said, seems like we have a few qualified candidates in Kameron Miles, Tavares Garner, and Noel Ellis (love stealing guys from Louisiana). You think all those guys stay in the secondary? Safety or corner? Who knows.
As for the offensive line... I am most pumped about Joas Aguilar, actually. Why you ask? Don't really have a clear-cut reason, just a gut feeling that he turns into a stud at guard (he was invited to the Under Armour All-American game... that's got to mean something right?). And the fact that my high school is right down the street from his high school.
Nice prediction on Claiborne becoming the "quarterback" of the defense one day... I see what you did there.
UPDATED 11:30 AM National Signing Day
Trey: MASSIVE UPDATE TODAY! DE Daeshon Hall picks up that Aggie cap! I forgot what we were talking about previously in this email but I'm so pumped about getting a KEY GUY in this recruiting class. I imediately pick Daeshon Hall as my guy who will get significant play-time early in '13. Off the top of my head, I can't name the guy on our roster who has a better chance of becoming the next Von Miller/Damontre Moore than Hall and he more than likely picked A&M because of that.
In other news, another Texas player takes a last minute trip to Oregon, comes home and doesn't talk to anyone, then has an awkward hat ceremony where he surprises everyone by picking Oregon. Very reminiscent of a certain long-time Aggie commit from last year. I can't say I am too surprised, but I was hopeful this kind of stuff would stop once Chip Kelly left Oregon.
Oh yea, and it looks like Derrick Griffin is officially going the JUCO route and won't be on the A&M roster this coming fall. For those who are just catching up on that, it's been assumed for quite a while by most people but made official today.
Bring it home Scott, is this the best class in A&M history?
Scott: Absolutely pumped about Hall. A signing day treat to finally land him. The guy already has a collegiate-type frame, so maybe he is able to come in early and contribute a la Julien Obioha. I would tap the brakes a bit on the Von Miller/Damontre Moore comparisons... don't want to set the bar that high yet.
Shady things are always happening in Oregon... maybe we will know more in a year or two. I mean Chip Kelly did jump ship, right? And I can name a coach or two that has conveniently (and strategically) jumped ship before it wrecked...
No idea if it is the best class in history given that my own personal history book only goes back about six years. It is a great class though, and at the end of the day, that is all you can ask for.
Do we want every recruit to be a 5-star? Of course we do. But we have to remember that ratings really only serve as a reference point for the devout junkies. What in the world truly differentiates the best 4-star and the worst 4-star? Nobody really knows. Pick up as many elite athletes as possible, rake in the 4-stars, and call it a day. Hopefully a majority of this year's class will pan out and become difference makers on the field. We will just have to wait and see.
Plus, you never know when an unheralded 3-star recruit will completely alter the history of your University.