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. 16: Richard Moore, LB
Rated a 3-star linebacker out of Cedar Hill (Texas) high school, Moore recorded more than 180 tackles and 30-plus tackles for loss in both his junior and senior seasons.
From sacking the quarterback to breaking up passes, penetrating the backfield to covering the flats, Moore covered the field like a safety yet was always a threat to make a play behind the line of scrimmage.
It took some time for Moore to find the field in his freshman year, but he appeared right at home in his collegiate debut against Alabama on Oct. 17. The linebacker recorded two tackles for loss against the Crimson Tide, and eventually earned his first career start a few games later against Auburn.
Moore finished 2015 resembling the do-it-all linebacker he was during high school. He finished with 39 tackles spread across eight games played. Moore tied for fifth on the team in tackles for loss with 7.5, and was considered the “best run stopping freshman linebacker in the country” according to Pro Football Focus.
Moore will be a critical component of the Aggies linebacker corps this season, a unit that has talent but lacks depth and has a recent history of suffering injuries. If he can maintain his safety-like mentality in coverage while remaining a force in the box, he stands to be one of the most productive defensive sophomores in the country.
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
Up next: redemption season for a speedy wide receiver