There is hardly anything that can rejuvenate a fan base more than the hiring of a new football coach, especially when he has three conference championships and a national title under his belt.
Along with Jimbo Fisher, the new face in charge, Texas A&M is also bringing in some talented freshmen in a recruiting class that included 13 4-star players and finished 17th in the country in overall team rankings. While some of those players will need some time to adjust to the speed and strength of the college game, Fisher will have a few who will be able to contribute immediately.
Here’s a look at three freshmen who should see the field and make an impact in 2018.
1. Leon O’Neal Jr. (S/KR) – It is no secret that A&M’s defense has struggled in the past few seasons, and that held true against the pass in 2017 as the Aggies allowed 237.6 yards per game through the air. The arrival of O’Neal from Cypress Springs High School in Texas should be able to help A&M address that problem.
He could also take over some of the kick returning duties from NFL-bound Christian Kirk, which would be a good way for him to get some experience.
2. Bobby Brown (DT) – Ignore all the jokes about his name being the same as the rapper popular in the 1980s and what you see is an impressive defensive tackle who could help shore up the Aggies in the trenches. At 6-foot-4 and 285 pounds, Brown will only add muscle onto his frame and should see some time filling gaps for A&M in his freshman season.
3. Jalen Preston (WR) – Quite a presence at 6-2 and 215 pounds, Preston is physically ready for the college game right now. The loss of Kirk as the primary receiver will make room for other guys to step up in the passing game. If Preston can learn the playbook and adapt to the pressure of playing in tough environments, he will become a candidate for newcomer of the year.