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Big year ahead for a talented group

NCAA Football: Alabama at Texas A&M Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

We spent July previewing the Aggies’ defensive position groups (see the links below), but as we turn the calendar to August, we also turn our attention to the A&M offense. To start us off, let’s talk about a position that is certain to be under the microscope at Texas A&M this upcoming year: Wide Receiver. Lots of talent, and lot of pressure to prove that Jimbo Fisher’s offense can create sustained production from the WR position.

Who did we lose?

A&M lost two high-profile players. Former five-star Demond Demas entered the transfer portal on the heels of legal issues stemming from a domestic violence allegation. Caleb Chapman, who we remember fondly based on his excellent performance against Florida in 2020, transferred to Oregon.

Who do we bring back?

  • Ainias Smith (SR): Arguably the heart and soul of this 2022 team. A returning team captain, Smith caught 47 balls for 509 yards in 2021, including six catches for 85 yards against Alabama.
  • Chase Lane (JR): Lane spent most of the year injured in 2021, but had a solid 2020 season where he grabbed 29 catches for 409. He’s got a knack for being in the right place at the right time and allowing his QB to make the easy plays.
  • Jalen Preston (SR): Jalen has had his struggles at A&M but is coming back on the heels of a solid game against LSU where he accounted for two TDs in a losing effort. The talent is absolutely there.
  • Moose Muhammad (SO): Former four-star talent who had a few big time grabs last year and logged two catches for 52 yards against LSU.
  • Yulkieth Brown (SO): Burner who’s primed to compete for a starting position this year. Yulkieth is a former four-star player from Miami who showed his skillset against Prairie View A&M last year with a 45-yard breakaway run.

What other names should we know?

A&M put together a helluva WR recruiting class in 2022, headlined by five-star Evan Stewart. Stewart might be the most talented wide receiver A&M has had—but five-star Chris Marshall isn’t too far behind him. Four-star Noah Thomas from Clear Springs rounds out A&M’s elite WR haul.

Overall Grade: B

This might be an unfair grade given the talent on roster but we need to see production this year out of this group. Obviously much of that rides on consistent play from the quarterback position, which is something we struggled with last year, but it seems like Max Johnson, Haynes King and Conner Weigman all have the potential to put WRs in a position to succeed.

Jimbo’s offense at A&M has the reputation for not allowing wide receivers to produce, but I think that’s unfair. If you’re the best receiving option then you’ll get the ball — the truth is that three out of the four years he’s been here we’ve had an All-American tight end who got the ball. Jace Sternberger was more of a big flex WR who had 830 receiving yards in 2018. 2019 was a good indicator of what our WR production could look like with question marks at the TE position...Jhamon Ausbon brought in 66 catches for 872, Quartney Davis had 54 catches for 616, and we had a few more with 400+ yards.

The potential is there for success, both in the scheme and in talent on the roster.