Editor’s note: It’s a make-or-break year for Kevin Sumlin in his fifth season as coach of Texas A&M. His staff is loaded with experience and the roster is arguably the most talented it has been since his arrival in 2012.
During the next few weeks, SEC Country takes a look at the 25 most important Aggies who will determine whether Texas A&M is destined for success or doomed for failure in 2016.
No. 15: Speedy Noil, WR
Noil was well hyped before stepping on the field for Texas A&M, and his play during his freshman season of 2014 kept college football fans talking.
A five-star prospect from New Orleans considered to be one of the top athletes in the country, Noil chose Texas A&M over LSU, Alabama, and more than a dozen others. In his first season playing for the Aggies, he caught 46 passes for 583 yards and five touchdowns. A skilled return man in addition to being a wide receiver, Noil ended the season with a team-leading 1,418 all-purpose yards.
The 2015 season, however, was a different story. Noil went in and out of the proverbial doghouse and suffered through nagging injuries which limited his play to nine games. His other stats saw significant drops as well, as he finished the year with 21 receptions for 226 yards and two touchdowns.
A&M is set at wide receiver either way, but a campaign from Noil more similar to his freshman rather than sophomore season could put the team in a league of its own.
The spring game indicated the wide receiver may have returned to form. Noil finished the game with a team-leading 60 receiving yards, including a 36-yard touchdown reception. If he can become the deep threat of the offense while bigger-bodied receivers such as Ricky Seals-Jones and Josh Reynolds work the middle, it could greatly open up the offense in 2016.
Noil is suspended for the season opener against UCLA as part of a punishment dating to last season. He will be eligible to return against Prairie View A&M, which is his only chance for in-game action before the Aggies open conference play against Auburn on Sept. 17.
Check out previous entries from this series below, and be sure to bookmark SEC Country’s Texas A&M Facebook page and return daily to see the newest names on the list.
No. 25: Shane Tripucka
No. 24: Trayveon Williams
No. 23: Justin Dunning
No. 22: Priest Willis
No. 21: Claude George
No. 20: Nick Harvey
No. 19: James White
No. 18: Zaycoven Henderson
No. 17: Avery Gennesy
No. 16: Richard Moore
Up next: A physical force on the defensive interior