Posted on February 5, 2014 at 2:03 PM
Wednesday, Feb 5 at 2:05 PM
Life is good for Aggie Nation. Sure, the Texas A&M defense was somewhere between 'bad' and 'unwatchable' this year. Sure, the school is losing superstar QB Johnny Manziel and cornerstone Left Tackle Jake Matthews (both projected as top 5 picks in this coming NFL draft) as well as breakout WR/certified monster Mike Evans, who will likely hear his name within the first 20 selections. But what's important is that head coach Kevin Sumlin has built a great program and created an environment that kids are absolutely drawn to, competing with and overtaking the University of Texas in the war for the state's best young football players. After a concensus top-10 national class last year, A&M has taken another leap ahead - and now boasts one of the country's 5 best classes.
Arlington Martin's Myles Garrett appears to be the crown jewel of the group. The big defensive end is ranked anywhere from first to fifth nationally, and has utterly dominated offensive linemen on his way to sacks and tackles for loss. Garrett drew national attention with an 8.5 sack game against Weatherford this year, and Sumlin personally flew in on his school-provided 'Swagcopter' (actual name - not a joke) to see the prized recruit play on a Friday. Garrett should be a major help to an A&M defense which has struggled mightily over the last two years.
A&M also wound up with the country's top wide receiver. New Orleans' Speedy Noil isn't big (6'0, 176) but has soft hands, good instincts and lightning quickness (come on, you saw his name. duh.) that has led evaluators to compare him to star NFL receiver Percy Harvin. The guy throwing to him? It might be Southlake's Kenny Hill. But it could also be Kyle Allen, one of the nation's top quarterback recruits, who will travel from Scottsdale, Arizona to enroll at A&M.
The list of big-time recruits is far from over... A&M picked up another of the country's top athletes in Nick Harvey, a top-15 wide receiver in Frank Iheanacho, and significant defensive help in the form of defensive linemen DeShawn Washington and Qualen Cunningham. They also stole star linebacker Otaro Alaka from their (former) rivals in Austin - and premier athletes like Armani Watts, Josh Walker, Dallas Skyline's own Cedric Collins give this class depth. Top transfer guard Jermaine Eluemunor and transfer tackle J.J. Gustafson gives it beef and much-needed reinforcement to an offensive line that's been vultured by the NFL. It's a very strong group. There's no replacing generational players like Manziel, but the overall talent at A&M should be able to compete with that of any school in the nation.