Another seemingly foregone conclusion came to fruition on Monday, as Texas A&M junior tight end Jalen Wydermyer announced his intentions to opt out of the Gator Bowl and declare for the 2022 NFL Draft.
I ❤️ U all thank you so much for these last 3 years they’ve been amazing and I’m grateful and truly honored to be apart of the Aggie family #85 signing out pic.twitter.com/X9KvaaXxgK— Jalenwydermyer (@jalenwydermyer) December 20, 2021
Wydermyer is one of many Aggies who will forego playing in the bowl game as they begin preparing for their potential NFL careers, joining fellow juniors Isaiah Spiller (RB) and DeMarvin Leal (DL) as well as seniors Michael Clemons (DL), Jayden Peevy (DL) and Leon O’Neal (S). Spiller, Leal and Wydermyer in particular are expected to be among the first players chosen at their respective positions.
Add in the transfer of QB Zach Calzada and the departure of Defensive Coordinator Mike Elko, and it’s safe to say the Aggie team we see take on Wake Forest will look very different than what we saw for most of the season. And the departures from the A&M roster may not be done either. Junior OL Kenyon Green is projected to be a first round NFL Draft pick, so it would not be at all surprising for him to opt out of this game. You also have juniors like WR Ainias Smith and S Demani Richardson, who likely have NFL aspirations as well, who have not yet announced whether they are returning for their senior seasons.
Wydermyer leaves Aggieland with 118 receptions for 1,468 yards and 16 TDs in his three years as the starting tight end. He will likely be replaced in the bowl game by Baylor Cupp, another highly-recruited tight end who came to A&M in the same recruiting class as Wydermyer, but because of multiple injuries and Jalen’s emergence, has yet to log a reception in his three years in College Station. Looking toward 2022, Cupp will likely be the favorite to win the starting job, but will be pushed by a bumper crop of 2022 tight ends that includes the No. 1 tight end in the country, Jake Johnson, as well as Dickinson’s Donovan Green, and the No. 1 international recruit in Sweden’s Theodor Ohrstrom.