Texas A&M lost several starters to graduation and the 2017 NFL Draft, but the program is ready to replace those pieces. The Aggies signed 27 players in a stacked 2017 recruiting class, which clocked in at No. 11 in the nation.
Unlike previous years, the Aggies filled the class long before National Signing Day. In fact, 18 of the 27 signees committed before the season started. Defensive tackle Joshua Rogers was a late addition — otherwise, things were fairly straightforward.
With National Signing Day complete, it’s time to grade the Aggies’ 2017 recruiting class.
Texas A&M recruiting report card
Of Texas A&M’s best 3 prospects, 2 are on offense. Kellen Mond went from a relatively under-the-radar player to a star after transferring to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Mond remains an inconsistent passer but can make plays with his running ability. In many ways, Mond should remind fans of Trevor Knight.
Connor Blumrick didn’t play much in 2016 because of injuries, but he participated at the Elite 11 camp for top quarterbacks. The talent is there, but admittedly Blumrick is raw. He might be a career backup, but he’s a nice piece at least.
Running back: C-
Running back Trayveon Williams is a star. The Aggies won’t need to worry about first-team carries for a few years. However, middle-tier 3-star running back Jacob Kibodi isn’t necessarily a difference-maker. There are several running backs on the roster and the need wasn’t especially great, so the class should be fine.
Wide receivers: A-
Jhamon Ausbon is perhaps the surest thing in this class. Like Mond, he rose onto the national scene after transferring to IMG. He has exceptional hands and a college-ready frame. With 5 of the 2016 season’s top 6 receivers gone to the NFL Draft, Ausbon and fellow 4-star receiver Hezekiah Jones will contribute immediately.
The lesser-recruited receivers also have potential. Roshauud Paul was Mr. Texas Football as the best high school player in the best state for high school football. Transitioning to higher competition will be an adjustment. Camron Buckley played at a high level but was stuck behind other talented players. Once the adjustments come, Paul and Buckley could make names for themselves.
Tight end: A-
Surprisingly, the Aggies made tight end a priority. Camron Horry has a familiar name for NBA fans, being the son of Robert “Big Shot Bob” Horry. However, the son has game. Playing in a run-based offense, the 6-5, 261-pound star showed mauling ability. Keynel McZeal is smaller but is perhaps a more effective receiver. Having both looks will be beneficial.
Offensive line: C
When Kevin Sumlin arrived at Texas A&M, offensive line play was exceptional. The Aggies sent numerous players to the NFL, including first-round picks Jake Matthews, Germain Ifedi, Cedric Ogbuehi and Luke Joeckel. There’s been a clear dropoff since those Mike Sherman recruits left the program.
Perhaps the Aggies found under-recruited guys, but it’s hard to get excited about this class. There’s 1 carrying 4 stars: Houston offensive tackle Grayson Reed. Jared Hocker is the lone early-enrollee, and he was the No. 131 offensive tackle in the country. Don’t expect these players to get on the field anytime soon. It’s always valuable to have depth on the offensive line, but it’s unclear whether these 5 players will develop into being more than backups.
Defensive line: B-
4-star defensive tackle Jayden Peevy is really good. Sumlin compared Peevy favorably to upperclassman Kingsley Keke. Aggies fans can feel comfortable that Peevy will instantly provide depth behind Daylon Mack, Zaycoven Henderson and Keke. Joshua Rogers will also fit that role.
The Aggies made sure to add defensive ends to replace Daeshon Hall and Myles Garrett in the lineup. Junior college transfer Micheal Clemons should compete for a starting spot. Tyree Johnson has a thick frame for a high school player. Ondario Robinson is a developmental piece. The Aggies could have benefited from bringing in some of these recruits as early enrollees, but they have the summer to turn them into quality depth.
Linebacker was a significant position of need, and the Aggies found a couple stars. Anthony Hines held 90 FBS offers, more than almost any player in the nation. As a senior, he finished with 245 tackles playing at the highest level of Texas high school football. Hines could take over the vacant inside linebacker position created by Shaan Washington’s departure.
IMG linebacker Santino Marchiol also has experience playing at a high level, starting for the No. 2 team in the nation. Dallas Kimball linebacker Devodrick Johnson is a developmental prospect — he played quarterback, wide receiver, linebacker and safety in high school. If he can add good weight to his frame, Johnson could quickly become a star.
Defensive backs: B+
Manvel safety Derrick Tucker is one of the best players in the class. Listed at 6-2 and 194 pounds, Tucker found himself pursued by several of the top teams in the nation. With Justin Evans out this year and Armani Watts graduating next year, Tucker will be starting in College Station before long. Myles Jones will compete for a starting spot before long.
The Aggies added 1 cornerback. Devin Morris grew up down the road in Caldwell, which made him an attractive prospect. Several players in this defensive back group should eventually compete for starting jobs.
This was a solid recruiting class. The Aggies got players who should contribute immediately on offense and defense, especially at positions of need. There are several developmental linemen with high upside. If things go right, there are players who could become stars.
However, especially relative to other Sumlin classes, 2017 lacks high-end star power. There isn’t a Myles Garrett or Christian Kirk that the program can hang its hat on. Player development must be king in 2017.