The SEC announced their preseason all-conference teams on Thursday afternoon, and Texas A&M had eight players named to the quad, including DT Bobby Brown (first team), TE Jalen Wydermyer, QB Kellen Mond, RB Isaiah Spiller and DB Demani Richardson (second team), and offensive linemen Kenyon Green, Carson Green and Dan Moore (third team).
This is the most players A&M has ever had a on preseason SEC team. And that alone is a testament to the talented roster that Jimbo Fisher and his staff have developed. But what is even more telling are the players who aren’t listed.
- Bobby Brown is the big name on Texas A&M’s defensive line, but players like Jayden Peevy and Josh Rogers are also talented, SEC-caliber interior lineman who will make Brown’s job easier. They’re joined on that line by former five-star recruit Demarvin Leal and Michael Clemons, who has fought nagging injuries for much of his career, but is constantly lauded by his teammates for his physicality.
- Just behind them on the defensive front what is probably the best starting linebackers A&M has had in almost 20 years in the form of Buddy Johnson, Anthony Hines and Ikenna Okeke. This has long been a weak position for A&M, but if this trio stays healthy, they can easily be one of the top groups in the SEC.
- A&M’s secondary has also been notoriously suspect during much of the SEC era, but this may be the deepest group we’ve seen in that timespan. A slew of upperclassmen including Myles Jones, Devin Morris, Leon O’Neal, Travon Fuller, Keldrick Carper and Clifford Chattman are joined by junior college transfer Brian George, talented sophomores like Erick Young, Brian Williams and Demani Richardson, as well as five-star freshman Jaylon Jones. Having this many experienced and talented DBs means not only will A&M have a wealth of choices in deciding who gets the starting nod, they also have capable backups if someone goes down.
That depth, especially on defense, is something new for an A&M team in the SEC, and it’s a big part of why big things are expected of this team in 2020. Anyone can have top talent. Heck, A&M had a team in 2015 that had Christian Kirk, Josh Reynolds, Kyler Murray, Kyle Allen, Daylon Mack, Myles Garrett, Donovan Wilson, Justin Evans and Armani Watts, all of whom are now on NFL rosters. But even all of that talent can’t compensate if the scheme isn’t good or they don’t have capable players surrounding them.
A&M enters 2020 with the same offensive and defensive coordinators for the third year in a row, the first time that’s happened since we joined the SEC. They have the most returning production in the SEC, and are ranked 6th in the 247 Sports Team Talent Composite, which compiles the rankings of the recruits on your roster. They’re behind only Alabama and Georgia in the SEC, and this is the highest A&M has been ranked on this list since it began in 2015.
In a year where so much of the normal prep for college football season has been different, teams with stability, both on their staffs and on their rosters, stand to benefit. A&M has both of those in spades. And while the eight players on that All-SEC team will play a huge role, the experienced and talented players behind them are what will hopefully make this A&M squad stand apart from the ones we’ve seen in previous seasons.
Eight days, folks. Eight days.