Texas A&M Football: 5 Players Who Have Surprised Us in 2013
The Texas A&M football team is 3-1 and ranked No. 9 in the latest coaches poll. They have had multiple players step up to surprise their coaches and fans with their performances in the first four weeks of the season.
The Aggies lost 11 starters from the 2012 team that finished 11-2 and ranked No. 5 in the nation. They were expected to compete for an Southeastern Conference title in 2013, and their record through four games has them right in the mix.
There have been some surprises both good and bad for the Aggies during the 2013 season. This is a look at some players who have surprised on the field with how well they have played.
DB Deshazor Everett
Aggie defensive back Deshazor Everett is the best defensive player on the field for Texas A&M in 2013. He has split time between cornerback and safety.
He is tied for second on the team in tackles for loss with two, and is also tied for the team lead with one interception. He is an extremely physical defensive back who sets the tone for the team with his play.
Depending on the opponent, he is switching between safety and cornerback. He is playing safety because the Aggies have bad depth behind injured starter Floyd Raven.
Everett is one of the best cover corners in the nation. He held Alabama's Amari Cooper to two receptions for 34 yards.
If he stays healthy, Everett is a legitimate candidate for All-SEC and All-American honors.
WR Mike Evans
Everyone expected Aggie receiver Mike Evans to have a big sophomore season. He had 82 receptions for 1,105 yards as a freshman and was the leading returning receiver in the SEC.
No one could have expected what has happened.
The 6'5", 225-pound wide receiver has been the epitome of dominant. He is the second leading receiver in the nation with 575 yards on 22 receptions through four games. He has scored four touchdowns.
If he continues at this pace he will set the school record for receiving yardage in a season. The former high school basketball star who was not highly thought of coming out of high school, has quickly become one of the best receivers in Texas A&M history.
Through four games, Evans is having an All-SEC and All-American season.
LB Darian Claiborne
Entering the 2013 season, Texas A&M coaches and fans knew that they were going to need to find some depth at linebacker from the freshmen class.
They did not know that they would have to find a starter among the freshmen.
Freshman linebacker Darian Claiborne has earned a starting position with his solid play during the early part of the season. Claiborne has the most tackles of any linebacker on the team with 18 through four games. He also has two tackles for loss.
Claiborne was a 3-star recruit who was not nationally ranked coming out of high school. His combination of size, speed and instincts caught the eye of the coaches during Fall practice.
Because of junior Donnie Baggs' poor play at middle linebacker, Claiborne found himself starting his first college game during the fourth game of his career. He has proven to be solid against the run and should only improve as he gets more experience.
CB Tramaine Jacobs
Senior cornerback Tramain Jacobs has been very solid through the first four games. He has started three of the first four games due to suspensions and position changes.
Jacobs started in the place of De'Vante Harris during the Rice and Sam Houston State games. He started at corner against SMU when Deshazor Everett moved to safety.
If his play against SMU is any indication, he should start at corner for the rest of the season. Jacobs led the team with 10 tackles against SMU. He added a tackle for loss and a pass broken up. For the season, Jacobs is fourth on the team with 23 tackles and has a tackle for loss and one interception.
If he can continue to play as well as he did against SMU, then it will help settle the Aggies' secondary. His strong play will allow Everett to remain at safety, which will make the Aggies' secondary much improved as a whole.
RB Tra Carson
Aggie sophomore running back Tra Carson was expected to be a short-yardage back for A&M in 2013. The 6'0", 230-pound back was expected to provide a power element in the red zone.
Carson has been the second best running back on the team through four games. He is third on the team with 165 yards rushing and has scored four touchdowns on the season. Only Ben Malena and Johnny Manziel have more rushing yardage.
Carson has shown a surprising amount of wiggle and speed for a big back. He is much more elusive than one would expect from a back of his size.
With Brandon Williams and Trey Williams both battling injuries early in the season, Carson has been a very nice option as a backup to Malena. Right now he looks like the early leader in the race to succeed Malena as the starter in 2014.