Monday’s national championship game officially marked the end of the 2021 college football season, which meant that beginning Tuesday morning, we go the inevitable deluge of “way too early” rankings for the 2022 season. These are put out but virtually every major publication, but instead of combing through the internet yourself, we’ve compiled them here for your viewing pleasure. And because people love lists, we’ve even ranked them for you, using the only metric proven by science to be relevant: how high they ranked Texas A&M. When these rankings slot A&M identically, ties will be broken based on how they ranked the teams above A&M, with particular attention to where they rank Notre Dame and Ohio State (2020 Playoff snub grudges die hard) and where how highly they ranked Alabama and Georgia (gotta maintain that SEC solidarity).
And for branding reasons, we’ll be ranking the top #12. Enjoy.
Texas A&M is already an offseason winner because of its star-studded recruiting class that ranks No. 1 nationally, and the arrival of quarterback Max Johnson from LSU solidifies the hype.
Another SEC team? Texas A&M was inconsistent this season, but quarterback Haynes King’s early-season injury did not help. LSU quarterback Max Johnson transferred to Texas A&M, and the Aggies have a deep group of young receivers. This is a loaded roster built with four straight classes that have ranked in the top eight according to 247Sports.com. Jimbo Fisher needs to get them back in the College Football Playoff discussion this season in a loaded SEC West. Can they beat Alabama again?
Jimbo Fisher loses a lot of big names from 2021 (RB Isaiah Spiller, DE DeMarvin Leal, TE Jalen Wydermyer and T Kenyon Green) but brings in LSU transfer QB Max Johnson. Running back Devon Achane and WR Ainias Smith are premier playmakers. New DC D.J. Durkin will count on CB Jaylon Jones and DB Antonio Johnson. The nation’s No. 1 recruiting class should produce several impact freshmen, starting with five-star Walter Nolen.
With Haynes King returning and Max Johnson arriving from LSU, the quarterback position should be in better hands. Most of the rest of the lineup is in good shape, thanks to several years of Jimbo Fisher’s recruiting. How quickly will the nation’s No. 1 freshman class make an impact? The nonconference schedule is manageable, with Miami coming to College Station.
The Aggies lose a handful of key pieces from their 2021 squad, but optimism is running high in College Station for a return to the top 10 and a potential push for a playoff spot in ’22. Coach Jimbo Fisher reeled in the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class, and other prospects from standout classes should see more snaps next fall to up the talent level for Texas A&M. LSU transfer Max Johnson, Haynes King, and true freshman Conner Weigman will compete to start at quarterback. Isaiah Spiller will be missed at running back, but the backfield doesn’t lack for options with Devon Achane likely to take on a bigger workload. Tight end Jalen Wydermyer is the biggest loss in the receiving corps, as Ainias Smith, Demond Demas, Caleb Chapman and Jalen Preston are set to return. The departure of guard Kenyon Green is a big loss up front. The defense has to replace coordinator Mike Elko (left to be the head coach at Duke) and key contributors at every level, including Tyree Johnson, Jayden Peevy and DeMarvin Leal up front and Leon O’Neal at safety. However, the returning talent, plus additions from the recruiting trail in recent years, should keep Texas A&M’s defense near the top of the SEC.
The Aggies bring back a lot of talent and will likely start either LSU transfer Max Johnson or Haynes King at quarterback. A young offensive line should get better after another offseason to pave the way for Devon Achane after he averaged seven yards a carry in 2021. A&M underachieved in 2021 under high expectations. The expectations aren’t getting any lower in 2022.
The nation’s top recruiting class gives the Aggies a tailwind heading into 2022. With true freshmen having more of an impact sooner, it will be fascinating to see who contributes. Aggies will be drooling over top QB signee Conner Weigman. There has to be a hint of disappointment after beating Alabama and winning only eight games. Now add Brian Kelly to the mix in the SEC West.
The widespread belief among voters at 247Sports is Jimbo Fisher should have his best team in College Station next fall given what’s coming back for the Aggies and an elite class on the way in. He’s on track to land the highest-rated signing class ever and a few of those players should be instant-impact talents. When projecting college football’s best eight months out, there’s some guessing involved and the belief previous question areas have been solved. The exit of quarterback Zach Calzada to Auburn means Texas A&M will enter the spring with a competition on its hands featuring LSU transfer Max Johnson, Haynes King and five-star freshman Conner Weigman.
The Aggies took a step back in 2021, which wasn’t much of a surprise after they lost four starting offensive linemen and quarterback Haynes King broke his leg in the second game. Now, Texas A&M’s defense, its strength this past season, will have to be rebuilt. Defensive coordinator Mike Elko left to become Duke’s new coach; Aggies coach Jimbo Fisher hired Mississippi’s D.J. Durkin to replace Elko. The entire front four on defense — tackles Leal and Peevy and top pass-rushers Johnson and Clemons — are expected to leave. Leading tackler Hansford will have to be replaced, as well. If King is healthy, he’ll battle LSU transfer Max Johnson and incoming freshman Weigman, the No. 1 pocket passer in the ESPN 300, for the starting job next season.
Injuries slowed down the Aggies in 2021, but A&M still upset then-No. 1 Alabama in a thriller. This season, D.J. Durkin takes over as DC and will have to keep a strong defense from falling off much. But LSU transfer QB Max Johnson is now in College Station, plus Jimbo Fisher’s elite recruiting will move A&M into an expected challenger in the SEC West.
Alabama set the record for highest mark in recruiting rankings history with its otherworldly 2021 class. All A&M did this year was break it. If either Max Johnson or Haynes King excels at QB, the Aggies can be great. But they haven’t won a conference title since 1998 and a national title since 1939.