Thursday, December 17, 2015

Sumlin: ‘This program is not about one person or one coach'

Kevin Sumlin held a brief press conference for the first time since starting quarterback Kyle Allen announced that he was transferring from Texas A&M. The Aggie head coach met with the media after practice Wednesday:

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- JP

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sumlin: Ball State Game 'A Tale of Two Halves'

Head Coach Kevin Sumlin, starting quarterback Kyle Allen, and several other Aggie football players fielded questions at the postgame press conference following Texas A&M's 56-23 victory over Ball State Saturday night:

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- JP

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Highlight Reeling: Texas A&M defeats No. 15 Arizona State 38-17

Here's the ESPN/SEC Network highlights package from Texas A&M's upset of 15th-ranked Arizona State Saturday in Houston:

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And here's TAMUHighlights' own highlights reel of the same game:

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You decide.

- JP

Saturday, September 5, 2015

ASU's Graham, on facing Sumlin's Aggies: 'Obviously, we know we've got our hands full'

Kevin Sumlin and Todd Graham, head football coaches at Texas A&M and Arizona State, respectively, met with the media in Houston prior to Advocare Kickoff game Saturday between their two programs:

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- JP

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Sights & Sounds of 2015 Training Camp

With a little over three weeks to go until the Aggies and Arizona State kick it off in Houston, Texas A&M Athletics released this YouTube of some scenes from Friday's workout in pads:

- JP

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Monday, March 2, 2015

Spring Practice Finally Underway for Aggies

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Spring practice is like a winter oasis for college football fans. It's been three months since the regular season ended, and this drink from the canteen will have to quench our thirst for our favorite sport until Fall Football Camp begins in August. So it's a pretty big doggone deal.

We've got links to a dozen or so articles about A&M's Spring Practice on The 12th Fan Facebook Page, with many more to come over the next couple of weeks. Plus, there are links to articles on recruiting and other Aggie gridiron news. If it has to do with Texas A&M football, we link to it. So by all means, make the jumps and read up.

- JP

Out of the Fog

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Kyle Field's new west side framework appears to rise out of the fog Monday morning. Follow the progress of the storied football stadum's redevelopment on The 12th Man Foundation's construction cams.

- JP

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Chavis Case May Rest On TAMU Payroll Dates (Updated)

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It may not matter when John Chavis landed in Aggieland, but rather when Texas A&M started paying him.

Glenn Guilbeau, who covers LSU Athletics for the Gannett News Service, writes in USA Today that Defensive Coordinator John Chavis' lawsuit, filed Friday against LSU, may depend not on when he started recruiting for Texas A&M, but on the dates his new employer recorded as his first payroll period:

Chavis, whose hiring at Texas A&M as defensive coordinator was not announced until Feb. 13 though he was pictured in A&M gear recruiting throughout January, filed a lawsuit in College Station, Texas, in Brazos County on Friday saying that he does not have to pay LSU the $400,000 that athletic director Joe Alleva is demanding because Chavis broke his contract that ran through Dec. 31.

Chavis' lawsuit says his official final day at LSU was Feb. 4 not Dec. 30, 2014, when his defense lost to Notre Dame, 31-28, in the Music City Bowl in Nashville on a last-minute drive and field goal as time expired. Chavis, who guided one of the top defenses in the Southeastern Conference and the nation during his time at LSU from 2009-14, maintains that on Jan. 5 he gave LSU notice 30 days before officially starting his job at A&M on Feb. 4, thus relieving him of the $400,000 buyout according to his contract.

"He could have been recruiting or working for Texas A&M for free at the time or as a consultant and remain free of the buyout so long as he was not on the school's payroll yet," said Baton Rouge attorney Jill Craft, who is not working on either side of the Chavis case but has years of experience in contract law.

[...]

New coaching hires in college football in December and January often begin recruiting immediately with their contracts being completed later.

Chavis did not go on Texas A&M's payroll, according to the Houston Chronicle, until Feb. 13, which is the date he was announced as the Aggies' new defensive coordinator along with other staff additions by head coach Kevin Sumlin.

So why did Chavis name both LSU and Texas A&M in his lawsuit? Barrett Sallee, SEC Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report, explains:

This is Chavis protecting himself, plain and simple.

What's more, it's the right play.

Wait, what? Suing his current employer is the right play?

LSU knows Chavis was out recruiting for Texas A&M in January. Texas A&M knows Chavis was out recruiting for Texas A&M in January. Chavis knows that Chavis was out recruiting for Texas A&M in January.

This was neither a secret nor should it come as a surprise to anybody involved in the process.

Would Texas A&M really put a provision in his contract—which is public record—stating that it will cover the expense if he's sued by his former employer?

Of course it wouldn't. So this is the next-best thing.

If the judge in the case rules that Chavis' first payroll period determines the date of his actual employment by Texas A&M, then the fact that he was actively recruiting pro bono for the Aggies prior to that period of time will not matter. Neither Chavis nor TAMU will owe LSU anything. But if, on the other hand, the judge rules that Chavis acting as an agent for A&M prior to being paid by the school nevertheless determines the date of his employment, then Chavis is still not liable to LSU. In the latter case, Texas A&M would have to pay LSU all or part of the amount in dispute.

But it's not that simple, because LSU filed a countersuit against Chavis in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, just hours after Chavis' suit was filed in Brazos County, Texas. So the matter will not be resolved until two lawsuits in two states are settled.

Update: Chavis attorney Bill Youngkin released this statement late Saturday afternoon regarding Texas A&M being named in the case:

"Coach Chavis could not be happier to be the defensive coordinator at Texas A&M. He looks forward to the start of spring practice on Manday and is excited about coaching the Aggies this fall. Texas A&M was included in the lawsuit because it is an indispensable party and its inclusion is necessary to resolve the dispute LSU has created."

Stay tuned.

- JP

Friday, February 27, 2015

#WRTS? Just #LetItGo

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After the AggieFBLife Twitter account used the "#WRTS" hashtag for several months in its tweets on the popular social media platform, Texas A&M University has apparently decided to just #LetItGo. ESPN's Darren Rovell reports:

Texas A&M began to separate itself from the hashtag "WRTS" on Thursday as more questions arose about the connection to its top football recruit.

Various people and accounts connected to Texas A&M started using #WRTS, which stands for We Run This State, on Twitter during recruiting this past season. Among those that used it was the @AggieFBLife handle, which is run by a third party but connected to an athletic staff member with the Aggies.

The hashtag was also used by Daylon Mack, a five-star defensive tackle and the No. 1 recruit in Texas, who was deciding between Texas A&M and Texas before eventually landing with the Aggies.

But it went deeper than that. Mack's father, Coris, filed for the trademark to #WRTS with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in June, four months before his son committed to the school.

Although the Patent Officce has not yet granted ownership of #WRTS to Mr. Mack, Texas A&M has decided that no further use of the hashtag would be a good idea to avoid any appearance of potential recruiting violations:

"Texas A&M has not had any plans -- past or future -- to trademark, purchase, or otherwise profit financially from #WRTS," the school said in a statement Thursday. "Texas A&M was aware of Mr. Coris Mack's trademark application but this trademark application had nothing to do with the recruitment of Mr. Daylon Mack as a student-athlete at Texas A&M."

The school also said it has "disallowed licensees from using #WRTS in connection with Texas A&M trademarks, to include official logos, phrases and colors, in production of licensed goods. Texas A&M's Office of Business Development, which oversees the university's trademarks and licensing, is not a part of the athletics department, and is not involved in the recruitment of student-athletes."

To paraphrase the popular song from Disney's Frozen movie:

Let it go, let it go
Don't tweet it out anymore
Let it go, let it go
As a hashtag, it's done for

Most Twitter hashtags have a lifespan only slightly longer than that of the Mayfly, so mourn ye not the passing of #WRTS from the Aggie social media lexicon. Something way cooler will come along to make us all #ForgetAboutIt.

- JP

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Video: Marcus Spears High On Texas A&M's Future In SEC

On Tuesday's edition of The Paul Finebaum Show, SEC Network Analyst Marcus Spears predicted that Texas A&M will follow Alabama in the SEC West:

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- JP

Does Aggie SEC Coaching Job Have The Most Upside?

ESPN's Greg Ostendorf, in a roundtable with three of his colleagues, says it is:
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There’s not much room to go up at Texas A&M -- not when the job is ranked among the top 15 nationally (No. 1-24 comes out Wednesday). But I believe it is on its way to becoming one of the premier jobs in college football, a top-five caliber job. Texas A&M will always have Texas to compete with, but its move to the SEC went a long way in leveling the playing field. Some might even argue the Aggies now have a slight advantage. The school is currently wrapping up $500 million in facilities renovations that include new locker rooms, training facilities, coaches' offices and a face-lift to Kyle Field. A&M is the only SEC school in the Lone Star State, which is an automatic sell in recruiting, not to mention its proximity to Louisiana. The SEC tradition isn’t there yet, but that will change over time. All the Aggies have to do is start winning. But with the right coach, they can not only win but win big.

Is Ostendorf implying that Kevin Sumlin is not the right coach? Or is he saying that question has yet to be answered. Hard to tell with these ESPN guys. But many good Ags, including the highly respected R. C. Slocum, sure seem to think TAMU got the right coach when they persuaded Sumlin to take the job in 2012. He's winning; his 28-11 overall record as A&M's head coach is a testament to that. But how well can he improve on his much narrower 13–11 record vs. the SEC? A definitive answer to that question should be evident no later than near the end of the 2016 season. - JP

Friday, February 20, 2015

Second Look: Reassessing the 2014 Texas A&M Recruiting Class

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Texas A&M figures prominently in a reassessment of Bleacher Report's initial grading of the 2014 college football recruiting classes. National Recruiting Analyst Tyler Donohue offers this rationale for the second look:

We tend to focus on the future while examining college football's recruiting spectrum, but we can learn plenty from past classes. National signing day hauls that once dazzled or underwhelmed are ultimately judged by the impact they make on the program, which requires a few years to discover.

The top 2014 recruiting classes haven't yet revealed their true identities and will be the subject of studies down the line as young players step up (or don't). However, we're ready to provide our take on early returns from that cycle based on how things have developed during the past 12 months.

Donohue ranks the 2014 Texas A&M class fifth in the nation:

5-star quarterback Kyle Allen: The country's top-ranked 2016 passer replaced Kenny Hill as the starter in 2014. He made steady progress, leading up to a career-best performance against West Virginia in the Liberty Bowl (294 passing yards and five total touchdowns). Allen completed 62 percent of throws for 16 scores in nine appearances.

5-star defensive end Myles Garrett: The dominant 6'5", 255-pound pass-rusher didn't waste any time making an impact in the SEC. He set a conference freshman record with 11 sacks, shattering the previous mark held by top 2014 NFL draft pick Jadeveon Clowney (eight). Garrett collected 53 tackles, including 14 for loss.

5-star wide receiver Speedy Noil: He warranted immediate attention in College Station, leading the team in all-purpose yardage. Noil thrived as a kick returner and caught 46 passes for 583 yards and five scores. Several of his receptions landed on the highlight reel.

Grade: A+

Texas A&M reloaded with playmakers on both sides of the ball. It's still early, but each member of this 5-star trio appears capable of developing into a first-round NFL draft selection. Garrett is already a man among boys, while Allen and Noil should grow well together in the downfield attack.

Doesn't he mean that Allen was the nation's top high school passer in 2013, not 2016? We assume that was a typo.

A year ago, Donahue ranked the 2014 Aggie class fifth, same as in his recent reassessment. Both this year and last, the four teams he ranked above the Aggies are/were Florida State, Ohio State, LSU and Alabama.

- JP

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Aggies' Friday Night Lights Will Be On March 6 This Year

"Friday Night Lights" is a cult classic film and television series. Texas A&M has its own version of Friday Night Lights, which has at least one one thing in common with its fictional screen counterparts -- an obsession with football. Every year TAMU invites some of their top recruiting prospects to College Station to attend one of the football program's scrimmages during spring practice. In Aggieland, FNL is becoming more than just a scrimmage. It's also a major recruiting opportunity for the football staff. As TexAgs Recruiting Analyst Brice Jones pointed out today on the Louis Belina Show:

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The Friday Night Lights scrimmage usually takes place under the lights at Kyle Field, hence the catchy name. But because of the construction work necessitated by the Kyle Field Expansion Project, this year's event -- like last year's FNL - will be held at one of the two full-size practice fields adjacent to the Bright Football Complex. Both are well-equipped with lights, so no problem there. Friday Night Lights 2015 is scheduled for March 6, with many 2016 and 2017 recruits invited to the proceedings.

Here's 12th Man Productions' video of highlights from the 2014 Friday Night Lights event:

- JP

Friday, February 13, 2015

Chavis Hire At Long Last Official; Hagen, Price Reassigned

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It took the better part of six weeks, but Texas A&M has finally made its John Chavis hire official. Contract issues between the new Aggie Defensive Coordinator and LSU were likely responsible for the delay, but apparently all the details have been ironed out. Along with the hire being made official, the assignments of two position coaches on Kevin Sumlin's staff have been changed. The announcement came in a press release Friday:

COLLEGE STATION — Texas A&M head football coach Kevin Sumlin today announced the defensive staff responsibilities for the 2015 Aggie football team.

  • John Chavis will serve as defensive coordinator as well as coach linebackers; 
  • Terry Price will coach the defensive ends; 
  • Mark Hagen will coach the defensive tackles; and 
  • Terry Joseph will continue to coach the secondary. 

“John Chavis has a long, highly successful career as both a defensive coordinator and linebackers coach in the SEC. He has already brought new insights and a great level of intensity to our staff and players as we begin preparing for the 2015 season,” Sumlin said. “Our philosophy has always been to get the best players in the right positions, and the same holds true for our coaching staff. I am excited about our coaches on the defensive side of the ball and look forward to spring practice beginning on March 2.”

Chavis, also known as “Chief”, has served as a defensive coordinator the past 20 years in the SEC with stops at Tennessee (1989-2008) and LSU (2009-14). He was named the 2011 Broyles National Assistant Coach of the Year.

In those 20 years, he has been a part of 18 bowl games, 11 10-win seasons with six appearances in the SEC Championship Game.

In the six years at LSU, Chavis’ defense ranked in the top 12 nationally in total defense four times (2010, 2011, 2012, 2014). The defensive unit forced 152 turnovers and accounted for 14 touchdowns and two safeties. In 79 total games, Chavis’ defense held the opponents under 100 rushing yards 32 times.

At LSU, Chavis had 21 players selected in the NFL Draft, including five first round selections in his six seasons at LSU. He tutored seven first-team All-Americans and nine first-team All-SEC defensive performers.

In his 14 seasons at his alma mater, Tennessee, Chavis helped the Vols reach nine wins 11 times. The Vols reached the 10-win mark eight times during his tenure as defensive coordinator which included a school-record 13 victories during their national championship season in 1998.

With Chavis as defensive coordinator, Tennessee reached the SEC Championship Game five times and won the league crown twice and the Vols were invited to three BCS bowl games.

Chavis had four Tennessee linebackers earn first-team All-America honors and all four went on to be drafted in the NFL. He also coached Jerod Mayo, who was the 10th player selected in the 2008 NFL draft and was named the 2008 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.

[more]

The position coach duty reassignments make sense. Splitting the responsibility for coaching the defensive line by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable tasks for Coaches Price and Hagen. Defensive End is Terry Price's area of specialty. It's the position he played both in college (at Texas A&M) and in the pros. He coached DEs at Ole Miss and Auburn. Although Mark Hagen played linebacker in college, more of his years of coaching experience were spent coaching tackles rather than linebackers.

With Chavis responsible for linebackers and Terry Joseph the safeties, all four defensive coaches have more clearly-defined duties now. Going forward, if a weakness continues or emerges at any one playing position, the coach responsible for it will be easily identified and will have to explain why he should keep his job.

- JP

Recruiting And The Sumlin-Chavis Equation

Though Texas and Texas A&M no longer meet on the football field, the battle between the Lone Star State's two largest universities has become more intense than ever off the gridiron. There was a time when Texas held the upper hand in the recruiting wars, but the equation is different now.

Thing began to change when A&M left the Big XII and the shadow of the Longhorns for the more fertile grounds of the Southeastern Conference. The move gave Aggie recruiters a new selling point. With the SEC Network feeding more Texas A&M games to more and more big screens across the country and around the world, an Aggie baller with some talent to display could make quite the name for himself. It also didn't hurt that the move coincided with the arrival on campus of Kevin Sumlin, the first factor in the Aggies' new recruiting equation:

Texas A&M's move to the SEC may have totally changed the landscape. A school finally differentiated itself, in a major way.

[...]

The Aggies have a different pitch now. They can sit in a recruit's living room and ask if they want to come play in the greatest conference in college football. What is Texas going to counter with, a trip to Ames, Iowa?

Texas A&M struck gold with its dynamic new coach and his fun offensive system (Kevin Sumlin) and a marketable superstar who has the attention of everyone watching college football (Johnny Manziel). Announcing a massive stadium renovation that will put Kyle Field among the top venues in the sport doesn't hurt either. And the seismic win at Alabama [in 2012] only made it easier to get recruits' attention.

[...]

With the in-state talent available to the Aggies and the SEC and Sumlin to pitch, they have the chance to be a monster in the recruiting world for a while.

The Longhorns have historically used location as an argument to try to lure promising high school talent to The 40 Acres. That particular pitch contends that Austin, with its many restaurants, abundant entertainment and picturesque landscape (at least around Lake Travis and the city's western suburbs) is more of an interesting place to spend four years than say, College Station. The A&M coaches could only point out that Aggieland is centrally located to all three of Texas' largest cities and all that they have to offer. It only takes is a couple of hours of driving and the cost of a ticket for Aggie student athletes to put themselves in the stands to watch NFL Football, NBA Basketball or Major League Baseball.

Nowadays, the Texas A&M retort has changed significantly. Instead of asking a prospect to imagine himself in the crowd watching a pro football game, Aggie coaches tell him to picture himself down on the field in those venues actually playing for the Cowboys, the Texans or some other NFL team. That's The Chavis Factor of Texas A&M's new recruiting equation, and the Longhorns have no good answer for it.

The newly-hired Texas A&M assistant coach has led defenses in the SEC since 1989 and during that stretch, has produced 71 NFL prospects, most of those coming during his time at Tennessee from 1989-08.

[...]

Texas A&M fans on social media have used the recently-released list of former players to coax others into signing with the Aggies this season.

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It's no secret that most of the best high school football players dream of having pro careers with all the benefits that come along with them. It's also true that many are called, but few are chosen. Among the chosen few, those who play on the offensive side of the ball see Sumlin's offense lighting up that big scoreboard at Kyle Field and figure that's not a bad place to play college ball. Defensive talent can likewise see that John Chavis has built The Big Chief Pipeline to the NFL for his players at two different SEC schools, and now Texas A&M is the primary entry point to it.

There you have the Sumlin-Chavis equation. The result equals recruiting success for Texas A&M.

- JP

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Kevin Sumlin One of 'The Best Offensive Minds in College Football'

Saturday Down South columnist Brian Leigh says TAMU Head Coach Kevin Sumlin has one of the best offensive minds in college football:

2012. Texas A&M was supposed to get its butt kicked by the big, bad SEC. How could it compete with a first-year head coach and some redshirt freshman quarterback no one had heard of? Four months later, that no-name was Johnny Football, who won the Heisman Trophy and led the Aggies to their first 11-win season since 1998.

It's a pretty exclusive club, with Sumlin in the company of Urban Meyer, Mark Helfrich and a handful of others. But here in Agggieland, we've always known that Coach is one of the best and brightest.

- JP

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Texas A&M Is Still Wide Receiver U.

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That's according to Ethan Levine, who says the Aggies have "almost unheard of depth" at the wideout position:

No team in the SEC attempted more passes or threw for more yards in 2014 than Texas A&M, which relied heavily on a deep group of wide receivers to aid a pair of first-year starting quarterbacks. Kyle Allen is back for another year under center in Kevin Sumlin’s offense, as are most of the members of that deep receivers corps. Former junior college transfer and top wideout Josh Reynolds is back after amassing 842 yards and 13 touchdowns last year. The same can be said for former five-star signee Speedy Noil and his teammate from the 2014 recruiting class Ricky Seals-Jones. Add 2015 five-star signee Christian Kirk into the mix and you’ve got four wideouts who could start for most other teams in the conference.

But Levine cautions that there is a downside to the blessing of depth, because it is certain to test the management skills of any coaching staff "as they try and balance that depth and keep the right players on the field each week." The Aggie fanbase is all too familiar with that problem and is hopeful that recently-hired WR Coach Aaron Moorehead will improve both the downfield blocking and pass catching performance of A&M's talented wideouts.

- JP

This Kyler Murray Video Is 15 Minutes of Awesome

Watch more videos by Ibifiri Jamabo.

- JP

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

It's Time for Sumlin to Take A&M Football to the Next Level

As a head football coach, Kevin Sumlin is without doubt a winner. His combined record while guiding the Houston Cougars and Texas A&M Aggies is an impressive 63–28 over seven seasons. That's an average of nine wins per year, and in only one of those seasons (2010, at Houston) did one of his teams fail to post more wins than losses. Moreover, in six of those seven seasons, his squads were invited to play in bowl games, and they won five of those postseason contests. While at A&M, he has consistently recruited Top 12 classes.

What more could be asked of a head football coach? In most conferences, not much. But Sumlin's Aggies have to compete in the SEC West, which is only the Number One divisiion in the Number One conference in all of college football. Much more is expected of Kevin Sumlin than of the great majority of college football coaches. It's not that Sumlin is simply expected to win -- he's done that. Now, in his fourth year of directing the Texas Aggies, he's expected to do nothing less than bring home at least a division title and preferably a confeerence championship very soon. And, yes, expectations are so high that he must at least contend for the national championship, and he must also do so sooner than later.

It's almost not fair. But, as John F. Kennedy paraphrased a passage in The Bible, “To those whom much is given, much is expected.” The actual verse (Luke 12:48) reads, “And to whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required: and to whom they commit much, of him will they ask the more.” In Sumlin's case, “they” are just about everyone, the most vocal of whom are the press, the fans, and the big donors to Texas A&M's athletic programs. It's been three years, and now they are asking the more. KWS has been given a more than competitive salary, unmatched facilities, and an abundance of promotion by TAMU to work with. He has upgraded his coaching staff and harvested another promising crop of recruits with multiple stars attached to their names. As ESPN's Sam Khan, Jr. writes, it's time for Coach to deliver the goods those aforementioned special interest groups are hungry for:

I think Travis Haney said it best Insider that Sumlin must begin to reap the fruits of the recruiting labor he and his staff have put in over the last three years. The Aggies' classes ranked eighth, fourth and 12th nationally in Sumlin's first three full recruiting cycles, and the team now enters its fourth year in the SEC. He made significant coaching staff changes (including paying a pretty penny for former LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis), and overall the Aggies have recruited better than any team in their own state -- which is talent-rich -- since Sumlin has been there. It's time for the recruiting hauls to translate to the standings.

Does Kevin Sumlin have to deliver an SEC title right away to keep his job? Of course not, but he is under pressure to significantly improve his team's past showings. A realistic achievement for the 2015 season would be at least ten wins, a finish no worse than SEC West runner-up and a Top 10 ranking in the polls at the end of the season. That kind of production would be no small accomplishment, but nobody ever said being an SEC contender would be easy. It won't get any easier as the pages on the calendar are torn off. No matter how well the Aggies perform in 2015, all the more will be expected of them in 2016.

Related: Brett Weisband's take on how Sumlin's next two years will shape his legacy at TAMU. - JP

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Aggies 11th in ESPN 2015 FPI Preseason Rankings

Ten SEC teams are ranked in the top 25 of the ESPN 2015 Preseason Football Power Index (FPI). The good news is Texas A&M (11th) is one of them. The bad news? The Aggie are ranked behind Alabama (2nd), LSU (3rd), Ole Miss (8th) and Arkansas (10th), all fellow members of the SEC West:

What is the FPI? According to ESPN:

FPI is an estimate of team strength – not a ranking of who will have the highest win total (which is dependent on schedule) and not who is most likely to make the College Football Playoff. Preseason FPI is calculated using three major components for each FBS team: prior years’ offense, defense and special teams efficiencies; returning starters and head coach information; and recruiting rankings.

While ESPN cautions that "Preseason college football ratings historically have been flawed," it also notes that "Last season, the top three teams in Preseason FPI (Florida State, Oregon and Alabama) made the inaugural College Football Playoff." So take it FWIW.

Just for point of reference, old rival Texas is 26th in this FPI.

More here from Brian Perroni.

- JP

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Sumlin: Chavis 'had a lot to do with' landing Mack for A&M

Head fottball coach Kevin Sumlin told Bruce Feldman & Stewart Mandel on Fox Sports' The Audible that having defensive coordinator John Chavis on his staff was a key factor in bringing Daylon Mack back into the fold after the defensive tackle from Gladewater had first committed, then decommitted from Texas A&M. Despite a heavy play by the Texas Longhorns, The Chavis Factor"had a lot to do with" landing Mac, Sumlin said:

Sumlin said that the intense recruiting competition among the Division I programs in Texas is "good for the state." Coach also talked about how the defensive backs he recruited will impact his team's chances of success going forward and reaffirmed the Texas A&M community's support of Johnny Manziel as the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner undergoes treatment.

- JP

Friday, February 6, 2015

Texas Aggie Football Recruiting: 21 Quick Takes

Texas A&M's 2015 football recruiting efforts garnered widespread coverage by the media. Here are 21 quotes by reporters, columnists, analysts and bloggers who wrote about it:

Zach Barnett, Football Scoop:
For many schools, part of the National Signing Day festivities has been to create a live stream of its fax machine, which always happened to be manned by a recruiting hostess. Texas A&M has taken that tradition a step forward by giving its hostesses their own Twitter account, then sending a personalized tweet for each recruit as the papers roll in... You get the point. Kevin Sumlin is never not selling.

Mike Farrell, Rivals:

Credit has to be given to the Texas coaching staff for their efforts on Signing Day... However, missing on defensive tackle Daylon Mack, Jamabo and Lodge, all in-state targets, hurt on NLI Day, and Texas fell behind Texas A&M* and out of the national top 10. *(Per Rivals)

Rich Cirminiello, Scout.com:

Who won the state of Texas? Texas A&M. In one of the most important state battles, the Aggies surged past the Longhorns, with Oklahoma, Baylor, Texas Tech and LSU also harvesting crops from the fertile Lone Star State. In a tight competition, the Aggies pulled ahead with the signings of can’t-miss DT Daylon Mack and Kyler Murray, a potentially transformational playmaker behind center.

Patrick Schmidt, Fansided:

Texas A&M has taken over as the program to beat for recruits in the Lone Star State since the Aggies moved to the SEC... Last year’s class may go down as the best in program history and (it) isn’t far-fetched to think it could result in a national championship with Myles Garrett, Kyle Allen and Speedy Noil the headliners... All three represent the future of the program but they’ll be helped out with the reinforcements coming in the 2015 class that ranks... 12th* in the nation and sixth* in the SEC with 23 commits, including five-star receiver Christian Kirk and No. 1 dual-threat quarterback and Aggie legacy, Kyler Murray. *(Per 247 Sports)

Andrew Holleran, College Spun:

Another recruiting class has been completed at Texas A&M. And, unsurprisingly, it’s a very good one... The class includes three 5-stars, 11 4-stars and 11 3-stars... Texas A&M beat out Texas for two big-time recruits (5-star DT Daylon Mack and 5-star QB Kyler Murray).

Sam Khan Jr., ESPN:

Why the fuss over Murray? His high school résumé is the most accomplished of any quarterback in Texas high school football history. A 42-0 record as a starter. Three consecutive state championships at the state's highest classification. In three seasons, he threw for 10,386 yards and 117 touchdowns and ran for 4,129 yards and 69 touchdowns. Gatorade named him its 2014 national player of the year, as did Parade Magazine, USA Today and several others. Name the honor, Murray claimed it. In the state that bore "Friday Night Lights," those credentials carry heft.

George Schroeder, USA Today Sports:

Quarterback Kyler Murray... set off a Twitter cascade Thursday night upon announcing his heart was with Texas A&M.

Jeff Tarpley, 247Sports:

For most programs, having one five star quarterback on campus would be more than sufficient to see them through the coming years but the Aggies will have two of them going forward. Murray is perhaps the most prolific quarterback in Texas high school football history having won three consecutive state championships.

Michael Felder and Barrett Sallee, Bleacher Report:

The Texas A&M Aggies rounded out 2015's national signing day with a strong class, landing Christian Kirk, Kyler Murray and Daylon Mack. These commits will have a big impact in the future for the Aggies.

Brent Zwerneman, Houston Chronicle:

Texas A&M’s poor defense over the past two seasons has kept it from competing for SEC West titles. Coach Kevin Sumlin went a long way toward remedying that with the addition of five-star defensive tackle Daylon Mack and a slew of talented defensive backs.

Brice Jones, TexAgs:

The sight of Mack in A&M gear on Signing Day once seemed far-fetched when he named a top two of TCU and LSU after his decommitment from the Aggies, but the twists and turns were far from over. Defensive coordinator John Chavis' move to Aggieland propelled A&M back into the race... On Wednesday he finally rejoined Allen QB Kyler Murray and Saguaro (Ariz.) WR Christian Kirk as five-stars in the Aggies' class.

Mike Farrell, Rivals:

Defensive tackle Daylon Mack is probably the one prospect that I get the most complaints about when it comes to the old five-star snub. But great job by Texas A&M to earn his re-commitment and get him back in the fold. I think Mack will have a terrific college career and maybe he is the next Warren Sapp and can overcome his lack of height to be a great NFL player; but what's wrong with being Russell Maryland? That's pretty darned good, and that's who he reminds me of the most.

Martin Rickman, Sports Illustrated:

The battle for four-star defensive tackle Daylon Mack went down to the very end... Ultimately he gave his pledge to Texas A&M, as the Aggies continue to revamp their defense. This constitutes a big win for A&M, which held off Texas and TCU despite late momentum from the Longhorns... The defensive tackle is incredibly explosive for his 330-pound frame, and gets off the ball extremely well. He has the ability to truck opposing linemen and was impressive throughout the week of the Under Armour All-America Game.

Sam Khan Jr., ESPN:

Most of the buzz and publicity in the weeks leading up to national signing day was reserved for the Aggies’ top offensive recruit, five-star quarterback Kyler Murray. While Murray was undoubtedly the lynchpin to holding Texas A&M’s 2015 recruiting class together and maintaining momentum, Mack might be the most important signee for the defensively-deficient Aggies.
Ethan Levine, Saturday Down South:

The Aggies have dominated the recruiting trail during the Kevin Sumlin era, and the same held true in 2015, They added yet another explosive wideout in five-star prospect Christian Kirk, and took on the top dual-threat quarterback in the nation in Kyler Murray to add depth behind returning starter Kyle Allen (once a five-star himself). New defensive coordinator John Chavis made an impact on the day as well, adding five-star defensive lineman Daylon Mack, who was once interested in LSU before Chavis made the leap from Baton Rouge to College Station.

Brent Zwerneman, Houston Chronicle:

The Aggies desperately need a run-stuffer in the middle to complement solid defensive ends Myles Garrett and Julien Obioha, and Mack fits the bill (and then some). Sumlin has now wrangled the state’s top prospects along the line (Garrett and Mack) in successive years.

Brian Perroni, 247Sports:

Most underrated: LB Dwaine Thomas, Boutte (La.) Hahnville... The 6-foot-2, 205-pound defender’s lack of offers does not make a lot of sense, considering how good his film is. Oklahoma and Texas Tech both made runs late but A&M did a great job of evaluating and flipping the former Louisiana-Lafayette commit once John Chavis arrived on campus.

Brett Weisband, Saturday Down South:

Texas A&M
Area of improvement: Safety
Total recruits: 3 (2 four-stars, 1 three-star)
Key signees: Justin Dunning, Larry Pryor

Ranger222, Good Bull Hunting:

With so many young stars on campus, it was extremely critical for the coaching staff to stack back-to-back recruiting classes that would bring overwhelming talent to Aggieland, to compete with the best programs in the Southeastern Conference. Sumlin and company did just that with the 2015 group. Who will be the Josh Walker or Armani Watts of 2015? Try QB Kyler Murray, WR Christian Kirk, and S Justin Evans. This 2015 group will produce just as many starters as the 2014 group, if not more. That type of talent, put together, will bring unprecedented success to the Texas A&M football program.

Mike Farrell, Rivals:

Four-star running back Kendall Bussey... is a back whom the Aggies had made a priority for quite some time, and he should fit in perfectly into their open offensive attack.

Michael Taglienti, Bleacher Report:

With four recruiting classes in the fold and new defensive coordinator John Chavis in place, the Aggies are ready (to) make a serious run at the SEC title in 2015.

- JP

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Meet Greg Little, Texas A&M's #1 Commit For 2016

On the Allen Eagles' offensive line, Greg Little was largely responsible for keeping opposing defensive ends, including the likes of Miles Garrett, off of his team's quarterback. That QB was Kyler Murray, who rarely had a hand laid on him. With such a high level of protection, Murray was free to lead the team to to an unblemished record and the state 6A Division 1 championship.

Little is rated as the number one high school recruit in the country by 247 Sports for next years Class.

Although he had offers from a number of the nation's top college football programs, Little committed to Texas A&M in June of 2014, a month after his teammate Kyler Murray pledged to the Aggies. Nine of the offers were made by SEC schools, three came from schools that made the first ever college football final four, and four of the Big XII offers were from TCU, Baylor, Texas and Oklahoma. Also, Clemson, Arizona State and USC are just three other notable programs to extend offers.

The 5-star offensive tackle dicussed his decision to choose Texas A&M with Bleacher Report:

If the young man doesn't waiver in his committment, he will join Murray and Garrett on the 2016 Texas Aggie roster. We're pretty sure Murray is looking forware to having Greg Little as a bulwark between him and the SEC's best defensive linemen.

- JP

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

WRTS?

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The Texas Aggies like to brag, "We Rule This State" (WRTS), referring, of course, to our home state of Texas. According to NBC's Sports' Kevin McGuire, the WRTS hashtag is more than just Good Bull:

Sumlin has not used the hashtag but others have been using it to help support the idea that Texas A&M is dominating the state of Texas when it comes to recruiting compared to both in-state and SEC rivals. So, where is the top talent in Texas heading?

Rivals.com ranks the recruits in each state for the Class of 2014. In Texas, the number one recruit, defensive end Myles Garrett, committed to Texas A&M. So did No. 9 defensive back Nick Harvey. Out of the top 50 players ranked in Texas, 11 are heading to Texas A&M. Essentially, one out of every five of the top players in the talent-rich state of Texas is heading to College Station to play college football. It continues with the Class of 2015 as well. According to the same Rivals ranking for 2015, 12 of the top 50 players in the state of Texas are committed to Texas A&M.

Seven of the top 50 players in 2014 from Texas will be Texas Longhorns. Four will join Baylor, fresh off a Big 12 championship. Two are heading to Texas Tech.

[...]

Is Texas A&M running the state of Texas? When it comes to recruiting, it sure seems like it.

To add a little more weight to that argument, topping the already impressive list of Texas talent to sign with the Aggies Wednesday, A&M finished up National Signing Day with Kyler Murray and Daylon Mack, the #1 quarterback and #1 defensive tackle, respectively, in the Lone Star State. TAMU signed two 5-star Texas recruits. That's as many as the entire Big XII Conference, which includes the Longhorns, was able to sign.

TexasHSFootball.com has no doubt about Who Runs The State of Texas:

Texas A&M once again reign[s] in the state of Texas, and this impressive class could be the missing piece to the puzzle for A&M to finally compile the whole picture. They join two previous classes who were also highly ranked with star players who should be expected to immensely contribute next season for the Aggies.

But Kevin Sumlin and his merry band of ace recruiting assistant coaches have also been doing very well in the states on our western and eastern borders. Do the Aggies rule three states? Not quite yet, but the Aggie coaches are working on it.

Soon defensive lineman Qualen Cunningham (Chandler) and quarterback Kyle Allen (Scottsdale) will be joined on the Aggie roster by fellow Arizonan Christian Kirk in Aggieland:

Scottsdale Saguaro wide receiver/defensive back Christian Kirk, a first-team Parade All-American, opted for the allure of the SEC and already is taking spring courses at Texas A&M, where he'll compete for a starting job in the spring and summer.

He is another No.1-rated Arizona recruit who got away.

Last year, Scottsdale Desert Mountain quarterback Kyle Allen chose Texas A&M, where he became a starter as a true freshman and led the Aggies to a bowl victory.

Arizona follows Louisiana as the border state where the Aggies have had the most out-of-state recruiting success, landing the likes of defensive backs Deshazor Everett, Floyd Raven, Noel Ellis and Donovan Wilson; defensive linemen Julien Obioha and Ivan Robinson; linebackers Shaan Washington, Claude George and Kevin Wilson; and wide receiver Speedy Noil. Their ranks will be increased with the additiosn of Louisiana Football's Player of the Year Deshawn Capers-Smith and running backs Dwaine Thomas and Kendall Bussey, all of whom sent in letters of intent Wednesday morning.

Kevin Sumlin's three recruiting classes at A&M include no fewer than thirty-nine 4-stars and 5-stars. In the three seasons prior to Sumlin's arrival in College Station, A&M had signed only nineteen 4-stars and 5-stars. His 2015 class includes nine recruits from the ESPN 300 and two from the ESPN Junior College 50.

- JP

Signing Day Updates Are On Our Facebook Page

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As Texas A&M Football announces them, we'rel posting 'em on our Facebook page.

Gig'em!

- JP

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Aggies Aiming for Top 5 Recruiting Class

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Brett Weisband, who writes for Saturday Down South, penned the SDS Signing Day preview on the Aggies and says Texas A&M is positioned to come back forcefully in 2015:

Kevin Sumlin has a top-10 class going into National Signing Day, and this would be the third straight season his Aggies have reached that level. After an 8-5 year, Sumlin will be judged by how his team fares in 2015.

The coming season will be the first for Sumlin without remnants of the previous coaching regime, which recruited all of the star left tackles that the Aggies have come to be known for. This class restocks that position with three four-star prospects, one of which is already on campus.

Sumlin is also staring down the Aggies’ long-time rival, Texas; the two are ranked side-by-side in class rankings. While they no longer meet on the field every fall, the Longhorns have already won several head-to-head recruiting battles in-state, bringing home cornerbacks Holton Hill and Kris Boyd over the weekend. Sumlin has a chance to score one on Charlie Strong by signing defensive tackle Daylon Mack, who on Monday eliminated the Longhorns from contention.

With Kyler Murray reaffirming his pledge to Texas A&M over the weekend, it seems as if all of Texas A&M’s commits are relatively secure. With a few more decisions going their way on Wednesday, the Aggies should wind up with a class that sits right around the top five nationally.

Weisband neglects to mention that Sumlin already scored a big one on Strong when Kyler Murray announceded his intention via Twitter to become an Aggie. But most sportswriters wwho cover the SEC don't give Sumlin or Aggieland much respect. Never mind that A&M's record over its first three seasons in the SEC is much better than Arkansas managed in its firt three SEC years. Never mind the Heisman, the 2012 upset of Bama or last year's upsets of South Carolina and Auburn. Sumlin knows that his Aggie teams will have to prove themselves to earn respect from the SEC media fraternity. And that's just fine with him.

- JP

Monday, February 2, 2015

Johnny Manziel in Treatment

Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel is in an unspecified treatment program, according to his family's attorney, Brad Beckworth. Manziel, who won the Heisman in 2012 while playing for Texas A&M started treatment last Wenesday. The news was reported Monday morning by The Cleaveland Plain Dealer.

"Johnny knows there are areas in which he needs to improve in order to be a better family member, friend and teammate, and he thought the offseason was the right time to take this step," Beckworth said.

The Manziel family is requesitng privacy until Johnny completes treatment and rejoins the team in Cleveland, Beckworth said.

Browns general manager Ray Farmer also released a statement expressing the team's support for its first rookie quarterback throughout the treatment process.

Please remember Johnny in youur thoughts and prayers.

- JP