2014 Texas A&M Preview: What You Need To Know
Texas A&M WR Malcome Kennedy
Preview 2014 - What You Need To Know About Texas A&M (Getty Images)
2014 Texas A&M Preview
What You Need To Know...
Texas A&M Preview
What You Need To Know About The Offense:
Most offenses would run into a closet with a warm glass of milk and a blankey after losing an all-timer of a talent like Johnny Manziel, a superstar receiver like Mike Evans, and an NFL franchise blocker in Jake Matthews. Most offenses aren’t Texas A&M’s. Offensive coordinator Jake Spavital has a phenomenal array of backs to work with – making up for the loss of the top two runners, Manziel and Ben Malena – and the receiving corps is absolutely loaded with talent and explosion. The line could turn out to be the strength, with Cedric Ogbuehi returning for one more year and slipping in for Matthews at left tackle, and there’s enough depth to come up with a good rotation. The key will be the quarterback situation with superstar recruit Kyle Allen and talented Kenny Hill each able to keep the fun going.
What You Need To Know About The Defense: A complete and utter disaster last season, Mark Snyder’s defense finished 109th in the nation in total D with a secondary that got lit up like a Christmas tree and a defensive front that didn’t get into the backfield enough and didn’t do much of anything on a regular basis against the run. On the plus side, it’s a veteran group with
seven returning starters, talent in the secondary, and the potential to do more to get to the quarterback with a renewed emphasis on getting behind the line helped by a fantastic recruiting class.
Even with the dismissal of LB Darian Claiborne and DT Isaiah Golden, if the defense can get just a wee bit better, and if it can be a little more disruptive, all of a sudden, the offense won’t have to press as much.
Players You Need To Know
1. OT Cedric Ogbuehi, Sr.
He’s moving up in the world. Originally a right guard, he moved over to right tackle and was fantastic replacing Jake Matthews. At 6-5 and 300 pounds, he’s not massive and he’s not necessarily a people-mover, but he can hit and maul when he gets his hands on a defender. At his best when he gets moving and can use his quick feet, he’s a natural to take over for Matthews again, only this time at left tackle. An NFL talent with top 15 potential, he’s built to be a next-level pass blocker with the room to add a few more pounds to his frame. A great athlete who worked hard to add weight over the last few years, he moves like a large tight end.
2. OG Jarvis Harrison, Sr.
A blaster of a starter, he’ll get the call at left guard where he should be the team’s strongest and best interior run blocker. A terrific athlete for his 6-4, 325-pound size, he can get on the move without a problem as long as he keeps his weight in check – he could get up to 335 pounds in a heartbeat if he’s not careful. He worked to get to his current size, and he has next-level starting upside if he can come up with a consistent campaign working next to Cedric Ogbuehi.
3. WR Ricky Seals-Jones, RFr.
How will A&M replace Mike Evans? At least size-wise, the 6-5, 225-pound Seals-Jones could be the new star of the passing game, but he has to prove he can stay healthy. Dinged up as a high school senior, he saw time in two games as a true freshman, catching three passes for 84 yards and a score before suffering a knee injury. When he’s right, he’s one of the SEC’s best receiver prospects with speed, size, and a physical style of play that screams NFL No. 1 target. There are other terrific receivers ready to do more, but at some point, if he stays healthy and he stays out of trouble after some offseason disorderly conduct problems, he’s going to be phenomenal. The upside is off the charts.
4. P Drew Kaser, Jr.
It’s not like the Aggie offense stalled enough to need a fantastic punting game, but Kaser turned into a major factor averaging 47.4 yards per kick and putting 17 of his blasts into the end zone. A few too many of his kicks ended up in the end zone, coming up with seven touchbacks, but he blasted a 76-yarder and regularly came up with 50+ yarders. A great recruit three years ago, the Ohio native is coming through in a big way and now should compete for All-America and Ray Guy consideration.
5. S Howard Matthews, Sr.
Very big and very talented, he was one of the lone bright spots on a defense that needed help last season coming up with any type of stop. At 6-2 and 215 pounds, he has the size and brings the thump against the run, finishing second on the team with 90 tackles with 2.5 tackles for loss and three picks with six broken up passes. While he might not be special in pass coverage, he’s like an extra linebacker at times.
6. QB Kenny Hill, Soph.
The No. 16-ranked quarterback in the 2013 class, he might not have been a superstar of superstar prospects, but he still had his choice of several top programs. The 6-1, 215-pounder turned into a decent backup, completing 73% of his throws in his limited time for 183 yards and a score, and he ran for 37 yards. The 2012 Texas Gatorade Player of the Year, he has terrific speed and the passing skills to be wanted by Texas Tech, and he’s a key part of the offense even with Kyle Allen coming in to potentially take over the job right away. Suspended this offseason after being arrested on public intoxication charges, he took a step back in the race, but he’s getting every shot at the job.
7. QB Kyle Allen, Fr.
The nation’s No. 1 quarterback recruit, is he ready right away? Whenever it’s his time, he’s going to be one of the SEC’s most dangerous players with 6-3, 205-pound size – beefed up a bit over the last few months – with good athleticism and a strong, accurate arm. While he’s mobile, and he’s considered a dual-threat prospect if needed, his running ability will be used more to make big plays for the passing game on the move rather than take off like Johnny Manziel and tear off down the field. While he had a few problems with interceptions in high school, that’s nitpicking for a prospect with his next-level tools and upside.
8. WR Malcome Kennedy, Sr.
Sort of the under-the-radar star of the 2013 offense, the 6-0, 205-pound veteran finished second on the team with 60 catches for 658 yards and seven scores – just nine fewer catches than Mike Evans. However, he wasn’t as explosive and didn’t come up with as many big plays, even with three of his touchdown grabs coming against Alabama. He missed two games late in the year – the losses to LSU and Missouri – but he was a steady factor throughout. A decent route runner with nice hands, he’s not going to be as splashy as some of the other excellent Aggie targets, but he’ll be one of the team’s most dependable players.
9. RB Trey Williams, Jr.
A 2011 Parade All-American who ran for 3,890 yards and 48 touchdowns as a high school senior, he finished his high school career with 8,110 yards and 86 scores. Everyone wanted him, but A&M got him – he’s due. Okay so far as a collegian, he finished third on the team with 407 yards and seven touchdowns averaging seven yards per carry, and he was used a bit as a receiver catching ten passes for 54 yards. For all the 5-8, 195-pounder was able to do for the offense, he took off as a kick returner averaging 25.2 yards per try. Really, really fast, he can be used in a variety of ways, and he should find more of a role in the rotation.
10. RB Tra Carson, Jr.
The Oregon transfer has 6-0, 230-pound size and a terrific burst with good cutback ability and the ability to get through the hole in a hurry. He saw a little time last year, finishing fourth on the team with 329 yards and seven touchdowns averaging 5.3 yards per try. A dangerous, tough goal line runner, he’ll add more thump to the flash of the other backs. Coming on late last year, he could grow into a workhorse from time to time and could see time as the team’s best blocking back.
- 2014 Texas A&M Preview