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Absurdly early 2022 Texas A&M depth chart

Let’s see just how wrong this ends up being.

The ink isn’t even dry on the final chapter of the 2021 football season, but it’s never too early to look forward to the next one. OK, maybe it is too early, after all there are a couple more high school recruits and presumably a transfer player or two who could play a prominent role on next year’s team who aren’t even on the roster yet. But I’ll be darned if that’s gonna stop me.

With that, I present you the absurdly early Texas A&M football projected depth chart for the 2022 season. Please note that I don’t have any inside information, or really any advanced football expertise. So this list is the definition of meaningless. But hopefully it’s meaningless fun.

2022 Texas A&M projected Depth Chart

OFFENSE

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QUARTERBACK

  1. Haynes King (RS SO)
  2. Conner Weigman (FR)
  3. Max Johnson (JR)

This one is a total toss up, with King missing virtually all of 2021 due to injury, Weigman just coming out of high school and Johnson transferring from LSU. Jimbo seems to err on the side of experience, so I think if the competition is close, King will be the guy.

RUNNING BACK

  1. Devon Achane (JR)
  2. L.J. Johnson (RS FR)
  3. Amari Daniels (SO)

This is about as clear cut as it gets. Devon Achane will take over lead back duties that he shared with Isaiah Spiller in 2021, with Johnson and Daniels (who both saw 20+ carries last year), spelling him. I don’t see freshman Leveon Moss making a significant impact this season.

WIDE RECEIVER

X:

  1. Caleb Chapman (SR)
  2. Demond Demas (RS SO)
  3. Chris Marshall (FR)

Y:

  1. Ainias Smith (SR)
  2. Evan Stewart (FR)
  3. Moose Muhammad III (SO)

Z:

  1. Yulkeith Brown (SO)
  2. Chase Lane (RS JR)
  3. Jalen Preston (SR)

Another very hard position to nail down, as I think the only 100% locked in starter is Ainias Smith (unfortunately for Evan Stewart). Chapman has been productive when on the field, but has battled injuries his entire career, and may be pushed for playing time by the insanely talented Demas. The Z position is just as interesting, with veterans Lane and Preston potentially getting pushed out by the ultra-athletic Yulkeith Brown (who showed flashes of his elite speed in limited action last season). The good news is that this position, which was riddled with injuries in 2021, has a lot more depth, and should be a bit more impervious to big drops in production.

TIGHT END

  1. Baylor Cupp (RS JR)
  2. Donovan Green (FR)
  3. Jake Johnson (FR)

Cupp is the safe choice here, a former five-star prospect in his fourth year on campus, finally getting his shot after battling injuries and playing behind Jalen Wydermyer. But it’s not out of the question to wonder whether Cupp will ever live up to the billing he had coming our of high school, and if so, I think Donovan Green or even Jake Johnson have a chance to step in and be the guy. Johnson (the brother of QB Max Johnson), is the higher-rated recruit, but I personally love Green’s tape, and I think he is a guy who could step into Jimbo’s system and succeed right away.

OFFENSIVE LINE

LT:

  1. Reuben Fatheree (SO)
  2. Blake Trainor (JR)

LG:

  1. Layden Robinson (JR)
  2. Kam Dewberry (FR)

C:

  1. Bryce Foster (SO)
  2. Luke Matthews (SR)

RG:

  1. Aki Ogunbiyi (RS SO)
  2. Smart Chibuzo (RS SO)

RT:

  1. Trey Zuhn III (RS FR)
  2. P.J. Williams (FR)

The Aggies return a ton of experience along the line in 2022, which should hopefully lead to a big uptick in their play. Fatheree, Robinson, Foster and Ogunbiyi had a combined 35 starts between them in 2021, even with Robinson and Ogunbiyi missing time due to injury, which leaves RT as the only spot that is a significant question mark. While I think Zuhn or Trainor are the likely options here, this may also be a spot where the Aggies yet again look to the transfer portal like they did for Jahmir Johnson last season.

OVERALL THOUGHTS: The Aggies are in the advantageous position of not having any blatant areas of need where freshmen will be asked to come in and start immediately, so if any freshman do manage to crack that starting lineup, it’s because they’re simply that good. Especially at OL and QB, this team should be much improved from last season, and add that to the stability at RB and WR, and you have the recipe for a bounce-back offensive season for A&M.

DEFENSE

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DEFENSIVE LINE

DE:

  1. Jahzion Harris (RS FR)
  2. Elijah Jeudy (RS FR)

DT:

  1. Shemar Turner (SO)
  2. Isaiah Raikes (JR)

DT:

  1. McKinnley Jackson (JR)
  2. Walter Nolen (FR)

DE:

  1. Fadil Diggs (SO)
  2. Donnell Harris (RS FR)

Some of these spots, especially the backup spots, were hard to nail down. A&M just signed what may be the best defensive line class in college football history, and I only have one of them (Walter Nolen) in the two-deep. But it’s important to remember that in the trenches, even elite prospects often need a year or two to develop into SEC-caliber starters, and it’s not like A&M recruited poorly along the line in previous years. One thing I could potentially see happen is for Shemar Turner to move back outside (he played DE in high school) to alleviate a bit of the logjam at DT and make room for guys like Tunmise Adeleye and Gabriel Brownlow-Dindy.

LINEBACKER

WLB:

  1. Harold Perkins (FR)
  2. Chis Russell (SR)

MLB:

  1. Edgerrin Cooper (SO)
  2. Andre White (SR)

Cooper really came on over the second half of the 2021 season to really establish himself as a playmaking linebacker, and he will look to anchor the 2022 defense much in the same way Buddy Johnson did in 2020. At the will spot, the Aggies have experienced options, but freshman Harold Perkins, the No. 1 LB in the 2022 class, may be too talented to keep off the field.

SECONDARY

CB:

  1. Jaylon Jones (JR)
  2. Denver Harris (FR)

CB:

  1. Tyreek Chappell (SO)
  2. Deuce Harmon (SO)

NICKEL:

  1. Erick Young (SR)
  2. Smoke Bouie (FR)

S:

  1. Antonio Johnson (JR)
  2. Bryce Anderson (FR)

S:

  1. Demani Richardson (SR)
  2. Jardin Gilbert (SO)

Another position group where I admit I’m doing a lot of guessing. Jaylon Jones, Tyreek Chappell, Antonio Johnson and Demani Richardson seem locked in as starters (Johnson may make the move from nickel corner to safety), but outside of those guys, there are a ton of players who could push for playing time. And this two-deep doesn’t even account for seniors Brian George and Myles Jones returning for one last go-round.

OVERALL THOUGHTS: The defense loses six starters from a very stout 2021 unit, including the entire front four, which on paper could be a reason for concern. But what they lack in experience, this new defensive line will hopefully make up for in talent. If Perkins can live up to the hype, we should be relatively strong at linebacker, and this secondary has the potential to be the strongest group the Aggies have had in a couple of decades. Lots of change, both with personnel and with new coordinator D.J. Durkin, but the potential is once again there for a very strong defense in 2022.

SPECIAL TEAMS

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KICKER

  1. Caden Davis (JR)
  2. Ethan Moczulski (FR)

Davis, who has handled kickoff duties the past two seasons, will now fill the big shoes left behind by Texas A&M’s all-time leading scorer, Seth Small (I don’t actually know how big Seth’s shoes are). A&M also signed one of the nation’s best high school kickers in Moczulski, who like most kickers, will have to wait a year or two to get his shot.

PUNTER

  1. Nik Constantinou (JR)
  2. Caden Davis (JR)

Constantinou will look to improve on an already great 2021 campaign. The Aggies don’t currently have another punter on the roster, so expect that to be a priority in the 2023 recruiting cycle.

HOLDER

  1. Nik Constantinou (JR)
  2. Jacob Graham (RS SO)

Constantinou will continue his duties as holder on all field goal attempts.

DEEP SNAPPER

  1. Connor Choate (SR)
  2. Levi Hancock (FR)

Choate, aka The 12th Man, gets one more year as the deep snapper, but in a stunning upset, will be backed up by true freshman Levi Hancock instead of Jacob Graham. Hancock is rated as one of the top high school long snappers in the country and committed to A&M as a preferred walk-on over the summer.

RETURNERS

Punt Returners:

  1. Ainias Smith (SR)
  2. Moose Muhammad III (SO)

Kick Returners:

  1. Devon Achane (JR)
  2. Yulkeith Brown (SO)

Punt return is unchanged from 2021, but on kickoffs, I think we’ll see Brown get the nod over Jalen Preston (just as Brown will be a starting WR over Preston as well).

OVERALL THOUGHTS: Seth Small is the only departure from what was a very good special teams unit in 2021. With upperclassmen Caden Davis ready to step in, hopefully we can have another year where special teams does their job and isn’t the primary reason for a loss (which is really all you want out of them).

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