Texas A&M National Signing Day 2014: Position-by-Position Analysis
The Texas A&M football program is celebrating one of its most successful national signing days ever. The Aggies brought in one of the top recruiting classes in the country, which will allow them to compete for SEC and national championships.
Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin and his staff have used the Aggies' position as the only SEC school in Texas to their advantage. They have sold recruits on the opportunity to play in the top conference in the country while still remaining close to home.
Sumlin did an outstanding job in 2014 of going out of state and cherry-picking elite recruits to supplement the in-state talent. He reeled in multiple nationally ranked prospects from other states.
This class was ranked No. 5 by 247Sports.com. The Aggies' 2013 class was ranked No. 8 in the nation by 247Sports.com. You build an elite program in the SEC by stacking top-10 recruiting classes on top of each other, and that is exactly what Sumlin and the Aggies are doing.
This is a position-by-position breakdown of the Aggies' 2014 recruiting class.
Note: Star rankings courtesy of 247Sports.
Signee: 5-star Kyle Allen (Desert Mountain High School, Chandler, Ariz.)
The Aggies identified their top target at quarterback early in the process and were able to gain a commitment before the 2013 season even started. Kyle Allen committed to the Aggies in June 2013.
He is enrolled at A&M right now and participating in workouts with the team. He was the No. 1-ranked pro-style quarterback in the nation, according to 247Sports.com. He was the No. 10 overall recruit in the country.
Allen is a 6'3", 190-pound athlete who completed 68 percent of his passes for 2,535 yards and 29 touchdowns as a senior in high school. He played in the prestigious U.S. Army All-American Bowl and completed 12 of 18 passes for 183 yards against top recruits in the country.
He possesses a strong arm and the ability to make any throw on the field. He will compete for the starting quarterback position during spring practice with Kenny Hill and Matt Joeckel.
With Hill and Allen on the roster in 2015, the Aggies will need to bring in at least one more quarterback. Their top target in the 2015 class at the position is Allen High School quarterback Kyler Murray.
The Aggies did not sign a running back in the 2014 class. Varshaun Nixon committed to the Aggies in November 2012 but decommitted after visiting TCU. He signed with the Horned Frogs.
The Aggies have four running backs on the roster in Tra Carson, Trey Williams, Brandon Williams and James White. They have two running backs from the class of 2015 committed in Rodney Anderson and Jay Bradford.
They may have to add another running back in the 2015 class to add depth at the position. The Aggies will have three seniors and a redshirt sophomore on the roster when Anderson and Bradford arrive. They will need more than three running backs on the roster.
Signees: 5-star Speedy Noil (Edna Karr High School, New Orleans, La.), 3-star Joshua Reynolds (Tyler Junior College, Tyler, Texas), 4-star Frank Iheanacho (Westside High School, Houston, Texas), 3-star Jamal Jeffery (Lufkin High School, Lufkin, Texas)
Kevin Sumlin and his staff signed one of the best wide receiver classes in the nation. It includes a variety of types of receivers to fill the different roles in the offense.
Speedy Noil is one of the fastest players in America. The 5'11", 178-pound athlete was ranked as the No. 1 wide receiver in the nation and the No. 6 overall recruit. He is already enrolled in school and participating in workouts with the A&M football team.
He will compete for the starting spot in the slot for the Aggies. He will see the field in 2014.
Joshua Reynolds is also an early enrollee. He is a 6'3", 185-pound receiver from Tyler Junior College. He will compete for playing time at slot and outside receiver.
The Aggies lost their top receiver Mike Evans to early entry into the NFL draft. They are replacing him with a player who is following in his footsteps. Like Evans, Frank Iheanacho was a high school basketball player who was not satisfied with the scholarship offers he was receiving in basketball, so he tried receiver on the gridiron.
He used his 6'6", 220-pound frame to catch 44 passes for 652 yards and 16 touchdowns. He became a national recruit, and the Aggies beat LSU and Oregon for his signature. He will team up with redshirt freshman wide receiver Ricky Seals-Jones to make a formidable receiving duo in the red zone.
Jamal Jeffery was the first wide receiver in the 2014 class to commit to the Aggies in December 2012. He has great quickness and will compete for playing time at the slot position.
The Aggies did not sign a tight end in the 2014 class. They have one scholarship tight end on the roster in senior Cameron Clear and have Jordan Davis committed at tight end for the 2015 class. He is ranked as the No. 3 tight end in the 2015 class by 247Sports.com.
Signees: 4-star offensive tackle Jermaine Eluemunor (Lackawanna Community College, Scranton, Pa.), 4-star offensive tackle Avery Gennesy (East Mississippi Community College, Scooba, Miss.), 3-star offensive guard Zach Ledwik (La Grange High School, La Grange, Texas), 3-star offensive tackle Koda Martin (Manvel High School, Manvel, Texas), 3-star offensive tackle Kealvin Davis (Centennial High School, Garland, Texas)
The A&M coaches signed five offensive linemen in the 2014 class. Jermaine Eluemunor and Avery Gennesy are junior college tackles who enrolled early. They both are working out with the team and will participate in spring practice.
Eluemunor and Gennesy will compete with Germain Ifedi for the right tackle position that has been vacated by Cedric Ogbuehi's move to left tackle.
Martin projects to be a tackle in college. Ledwich projects as a guard. Kealvin Davis projects as a left tackle in college. All three will redshirt in 2014, so they can add weight and strength.
Signees: 4-star defensive tackle Zaycoven Henderson (Longview High School, Longview, Texas), 4-star defensive tackle DeShawn Washington (Nederland High School, Nederland, Texas), 5-star defensive end Myles Garrett (Martin High School, Arlington, Texas), 4-star defensive end Qualen Cunningham (Hamilton High School, Chandler, Ariz.), 4-star defensive end Jarrett Johnson (Seven Lakes High School, Katy, Texas)
Texas A&M Kevin Sumlin identified the pass rush as a glaring need from the 2013 season. He went out and signed three defensive ends in the 2014 recruiting class.
According to 247Sports.com, Myles Garrett is the No. 1 recruit in the nation. His presence at defensive end will immediately improve the Aggies' pass rush from their front four.
Qualen Cunningham and Jarrett Johnson will both compete for playing time at defensive end. Expect Cunningham to play on the weak side and Johnson to play on the strong side.
Zaycoven Henderson was a last-minute flip from Texas. He is enrolled at A&M and participating in offseason workouts with the team. He is a 6'1", 300-pound defensive tackle who could provide depth in the interior of the defensive line in 2014.
Deshawn Stevenson is a 6'3", 280-pound defensive tackle who will fight for playing time along with Henderson. In 2013, the defensive line was young and undersized. In 2014, the D-line will have much more size and depth and should be one of the strengths of the team.
Signees: 4-star OLB Otaro Alaka (Cypress Falls High School, Houston, Texas), 4-star OLB Josh Walker (Gilmer High School, Gilmer, Texas)
The Aggies linebackers were one of the weakest units on the team in 2013, so the A&M coaches went out in search of linebackers who could help the defense immediately.
They will compete for playing time at the outside linebacker spots in 2014. Alaka has excellent speed off the edge and will likely see playing time in pass-rushing situations.
Walker is an excellent all-around athlete who played running back and linebacker in high school. He may redshirt in 2014, depending on how the other linebackers on the roster perform. No position on defense is safe in 2014, and that includes linebacker, where the coaches will do whatever they can to get the best players on the field.
Signees: 4-star CB Nick Harvey (Travis High School, Richmond, Texas), 4-star safety Armani Watts (North Forney High School, Forney, Texas), 3-star safety Donovan Wilson (Woodlawn High School, Shreveport, La.)
The Aggies needed help at the safety position after the 2013 season. The safety play was so poor that even though they return both starters at safety from the 2013 defense, it is likely that neither will start in 2014.
Nick Harvey is one of the best overall athletes in the state of Texas. He played quarterback, running back, receiver, cornerback, safety and punter in high school. He will compete to start at corner immediately. If he proves capable, Deshazor Everett might move to safety to shore up that position.
Armani Watts was a dual-threat player in high school. In 2013 he had nine interceptions on defense and 30 receptions for 440 yards on offense. He will be in the rotation at safety in 2014.
Donovan Wilson was a late addition to the recruiting class. He blew up as a senior at Woodlawn High School in Shreveport with 13 interceptions on defense and 57 receptions for 860 yards on offense. He possesses the inherent ability to high-point the ball in the air and come down with it on offense and defense.
Both Watts and Wilson could break into the two-deep at safety in 2014.