USA TODAY Sports
Pencils down, students. Here is the report card for the summa cum laude Texas A&M offense.
Finals are just around the corner for many collegians, and Professor ColoradoAg is ready to hand out some grades to the Texas Fightin' Aggie American football team. Picture me as Donald Sutherland's character in Animal House with you as the experimenting students. I'm tenured at Good Bull Hunting, so there will be no consequences for my behavior.
Today, I'm handing out semester grades for our offensive units and what a treat it has been to witness the achievements of these students.
Quarterback - A+
As a general policy, I am reluctant to bestow an A+ on any entity save a few impeccable scotches. Lifelong learning is a real thing, and there is always room for us to grow and improve. That said, when you have a freshman quarterback that is ready to win the Heisman in a league that everyone said you could not compete in? Well, exceptions are made. Johnny Manziel is going to collect a coveted statue on Saturday night and he is going to one day have his own statue on the A&M campus. You know of his exceptional metrics on the gridiron and his place in the all-time record books. His intangible impact on Texas A&M is off the charts. There is an entire generation of junior high and high school Texas football players that are idolizing him. He has skill position recruits dying to play with him. Johnny has made maroon pretty damn slick and cool.
If I'm picking at nits, I think Coach Sumlin and Kingsbury will have Manziel work on his progressions, taking care of the football, and pocket presence. Pretty standard stuff that all quarterbacks continually try to develop. The sky is the limit for JFF.
Shout outs also go to Jameill Showers and Matt Joeckel for stepping in for relief at various points of the season. Showers would start at most FBS programs and by all accounts, has a fantastic relationship with Manziel.
Running Back - B+
A group effort centered around Ben Malena, Trey Williams, and Christine Michael had plenty of memorable moments in the 2012 season. Malena led the way with 767 yards and 7 TDs. A special teams dynamo, and general great-program-guy, we are privileged to see Ben for another season in Aggieland.
Christine Michael had his ups and downs throughout the year. A suspension, ejection, and contention with the coaching staff likely hindered what could have been. He only carried the ball 88 times on the year - a number far lower than any of us would have expected for a senior back with tons of talent. To his credit, no one is as scary as Christine when he is running angry, and he seemed to be filled with ire for much of the season. He established himself as a great short yardage, goal line back and chipped in 12 TDs.
True frosh Trey Williams showed many flashes of what is likely going to be a phenomenal college career. Trey was great in the kick return game and provided a nice receiving safety valve for Manziel when downfield options proved to be sparse. In the ground game, Williams averaged 5.7 ypc on 59 touches.
As a unit, this group produced admirably. Early season fumbles ding their overall grade. The 2013 and beyond depth chart is an embarrassment of riches. The backs are going to have to bring their best daily to get their carries.
Wide Receiver - A
The Aggie receiving corps featured six players with more than 250 yards receiving on the season. Freshman manbeast Mike Evans burst onto the scene with 75 grabs for 1022 yards and 5 TDs. He is a nightmare mismatch for DBs and provided many huge, clutch moments for the A&M offense. Evans had his freshman miscues such as the bobbled pass/INT against LSU, but his body of work was all-league worthy.
Mr. Record Book Ryan Swope turned in his requisite, exemplary yeoman's work. 809 yards and 7 TDs is macho. Swope will forever be remembered for his massive catches in the Alabama game and goes down as one of the greatest Aggies ever.
The second layer of Aggie receivers deserves high praise as well. Thomas Johnson, Uzoma Nwachukwu, Malcome Kennedy, and Kenric McNeal all manufactured huge moments and big time catches to keep this Ferrari offense humming. As your professor, I'm most proud of these men and their blocking efforts this season. For the Air Raid to work in the SEC, you need a huge buy-in and commitment to sensational wide receiver blocking. These guys were monsters downfield and did everything they could to help each other rack up huge YAC.
Talent is in the pipeline, but the losses of Swope, EZ, and McNeal will be felt.
Tight End - I
Incomplete. Sure, it is smarmy professor of me to issue an "I" at the end of a term, but right now we don't know a couple things - 1) do we use a tight end? 2) do we want to?
Nehemiah Hicks saw action, but was generally a non-factor in the receiving game.
Offensive Line - A
Yes, yes, yes. I know. This all seems like Ivy League grade inflation, but these are all worthy young men born to be in the 1% of society. Joeckel and Matthews are All-American, All-SEC talents, and Patrick Lewis might be the most underrated player on the Texas A&M football team.
Look, offensive linemen don't speak, but if they did, they'd tell you they much prefer run blocking to pass blocking. While blocking for a Heisman trophy quarterback is surely an honor, these guys had to hold blocks for endless amounts of times as Johnny did his whole "run a thousand yards in the backfield, YOLO, LOL, hit Evans on a broken play" routine. In short, this offensive line was disciplined, mean, and exceptional. A big thanks to Mike Sherman for identifying and developing such sound offensive linemen.
Offensive Coordinator - A
Your wife or girlfriend's favorite kollegian, Koach Kliff Kingsbury pulls down a nice mark for his inaugural year in Aggieland. Koach Kool fits with the young, fun mold of this football team, but is a renowned workaholic. Kliff is exceptionally smart, and spends countless hours working on his craft and this offense. Johnny Manziel is the story of the season, but Kliff Kingsbury deserves a world of credit for the managing and development of a freshman as he entered the jaws of the SEC. Kingsbury's stock has skyrocketed throughout the season, and he is sure to be a big-time head coach at a big-time program sooner rather than later.
We'll get to the defense and special teams in another entry. What say you? How would you grade out what I believe is the best offense in the country?