Our weekly position preview continues as the 2022 scenes gets tantilizingly close. RCB and String have talked about the safeties, cornerbacks, and linebackers but now it’s time to talk about the big fellas up front, the defensive line. Coaches Terry Price and Elijah Robinson will be replacing a lot but there is no shortage of talent waiting in the wings.
Who did we lose?
All four starters from the 2021 season have moved on. Losing Michael Clemons, Jayden Peevy, Tyree Johnson, and Demarvin Leal means Texas A&M will have to find a way to replace a lot of production in a unit that was the heart and soul of this defense for the past two years. These four combined for 26 sacks and 39.5 tackles for loss. Leal alone accounted for 12.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks.
Who do we bring back?
McKinnley Jackson (JUNIOR): After the four starters, McKinnley Jackson was the player on the defensive line who saw the most action in 2021. The defensive tackle out of Mississippi saw action in 10 games, including four starts, largely at nose.
Shemar Turner (SOPHOMORE): Turner saw a lot of action in 2021 as a true freshman. The former five-star recruit is likely to be the starter at the three technique on the defensive line. While I don’t expect Shemar Turner to completely fill the void left by the loss of Demarvin Leal’s production, I don’t think Aggies have anything to be worried about when Turner takes the field.
Adarious Jones (JUNIOR): Jones played in 10 games in 2021, including one start, making 12 tackles on the season. He may not have been as highly recruited as most of the other players on this line, but he is a big body with lots of potential.
Isaiah Raikes (JUNIOR): Raikes totaled eight tackles on the season after appearing in all 12 games, including one start.
What other names should we know?
Texas A&M signed the number one ranked class in 2022, and a large reason for that ranking is the embarrassment of riches A&M was able to secure on the defensive line. Five star prospects Walter Nolen, Shemar Stewart, Lebbeus Overton and Gabriel Brownlow-Dindy could all push for playing time early in their careers in College Station. And that doesn’t even make mention of Enai White, Anthony Lucas and Malick Sylla, all of whom were top 100 national recruits themselves. It really is absurd the amount of talent this team brought in on the defensive front in that 2022 class.
But that stacked freshman class isn’t the only depth on this line. Expect RS freshman Tunmise Adeleye (who redshirted in 2021) to see significant snaps, in addition to sophomore Dallas Walker IV. It will also be interesting to see if guys like sophomore Fadil Diggs and RS freshman Jahzion Harris are able to step up and generate pressure off the edges.
Overall Grade: B-
We know there is a lot of talent and potential along the defensive line for the Aggies going into 2022, but anytime you are replacing four starters there are going to be questions. Texas A&M will have to answer those questions early and often. But if this group lives up to their potential, the Aggies will be a dangerous opponent for anyone in the trenches.