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.
Over 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. 23: Justin Dunning
A 4-star safety prospect in the Class of 2015, Dunning signed with Texas A&M after a sterling career at Whitehouse High School (Texas), where as a senior he registered 79 tackles, five tackles for loss and four interceptions.
Dunning, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound mountain of a defender, made his college debut against Ball State in 2015 and notched nine tackles in the 56-23 victory. In total, Dunning appeared in 10 games his freshman season and finished with 20 tackles and an interception.
The Aggies continue to prioritize increased size in their secondary, and Dunning will fit that mold nicely. He has the ability to leap up for interceptions as well as the awareness of when to go for the big play or simply bat down the pass. A natural ballhawk, quarterbacks are baited into believing their receiver is open downfield before Dunning closes the gap with his speed and removes hope for a completion.
While Dunning doesn’t figure to crack the starting lineup over senior Justin Evans, he should see a noticeable increase in playing time as he continues to develop his skills.
Check out previous entries from this series below, and be sure to bookmark the SEC Country’s Texas A&M Facebook page and return daily to see the newest names on the list.