The Texas A&M Aggies offense took a hit on Tuesday with tight end Jace Sternberger foregoing his final year of eligibility, and the defense suffered a similar loss on Wednesday when linebacker Tyrel Dodson announced that he, too, has declared for the NFL Draft.
It’s been an amazing 3 years Aggieland! Thank you & Gig’em forever pic.twitter.com/1qNpaogzkf— Tyrel Dodson (@tdots25) January 2, 2019
A&M was already losing senior Otaro Alaka, so losing Dodson as well means they will be replacing two thirds of their starting linebackers in 2019. Sophomore Buddy Johnson saw significant playing time this season, and sophomore Anthony Hines should claim a starting spot after missing almost the entire 2018 season due to injury. Beyond that, the Aggies do not have a single scholarship linebacker currently on the roster, having not signed any in the 2018 recruiting class. Defensive back Larry Pryor was listed on the preseason depth chart at linebacker, so he may be a player who makes the transition to help provide depth.
A&M did sign four linebackers in their 2019 recruiting class (Andre White, Ke’Shun Brown, Tarian Lee and R.J. Orebo), however it’s not clear if any of them are ready to come in and play immediately.
While Dodson will certainly be missed in 2019, he left Aggie fans with perhaps his most memorable play in his final game, with a 78-yard interception return for a touchdown in the third quarter of the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl.