Brendan Maloney-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
This weekend the Aggies host two of the top blue chip prospects in the country for Official Visits. Can you say Wrecking Crew?
Isaac Savaiinaea (ILB) - Honolulu, HI
The 6'3" 230 pound Stanford commit has had Texas A&M high on his list for quite a while. The relationship started when Aggie ST/TE coach Brian Polian left David Shaw's staff to join Kevin Sumlin in Aggieland and has continued to grow despite a verbal to the Cardinal coaches in early July.
The Aggies will not only have to overcome Stanford for Savaiinaea's signature, they'll also have to hold off UCLA and Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish currently have another Punahou High School alum on their roster in All-American LB Manti Te'o who would be my guess to host Savaiinaea on his scheduled visit to South Bend on October 13. Ironically, it's the Stanford Cardinal that come to town that day.
Savaiinaea has the ideal size to man the middle in Mark Snyder's 4-3 scheme. He is a very physical player that takes on and sheds blocks very well and possess the speed to close on a ball carrier very quickly. His ability to play sideline to sideline at his size is what makes him a truly special talent. If the Aggies are able to pull Savaiinaea from Stanford, Coach Matt Wallerstedt will have somebody to come in and immediately compete for the graduating Jonathon Stewart's linebacker position.
Justin Manning (DT) - Dallas Kimball
Also making the trip to Aggieland is the best defensive tackle in the state, Justin Manning. The 6'3" 275 pounder is fresh off an official visit to his thought-to-be longtime leader, the Oklahoma Sooners. Seeing a surprising loss to the Kansas State Wildcats, the first loss at home to a ranked team in the Bob Stoops era, could pay dividends for the Ags with an impressive showing against a reeling Arkansas Razorback team this weekend.
The recent Army All-American is wanted by a who's who of premier college programs across the country but has narrowed that list down to a top four of Texas A&M, Oklahoma, LSU, TCU. Manning will visit his two other finalists in October with TCU hosting Iowa St. (Big 12 slugfest!) and then LSU when they have the South Carolina Gamecocks in town.
When you watch his tape (Sophomore is all I can find), the first thing that jumps out is his explosiveness off the ball. He is on an offensive lineman or shooting a gap before they can get out of their set. Once engaged, he is excellent at using his hands to fight off blocks and get to the ball. In my opinion, Manning is versatile enough to play either defensive tackle position but is best suited for the 3-technique. It is common knowledge that in the SEC, it's the D-Line play that separates the average teams from the good ones. Justin Manning is the type of talent to get Texas A&M into the latter category and would be an excellent piece in an already outstanding unit in the 2013 class.