With the bowl game complete, this is the time of year that college football writers usually hand out their end-of-season grades for the football team. But given how much change has already happened (and will continue to happen) due to both the transfer portal and a coaching change, looking backward feels rather fruitless. What’s done is done, and a lot of it has little bearing on what this team will do going forward.
With that in mind, let’s look to the future. While a lot will happen between now and Aug. 31, here’s a look at what we think of each position group on the Texas A&M roster. Some appear to be in very good shape, while others have a lot of work to do.
If you’re tabbing starters today, junior Jacoby Mathews and sophomore Dalton Brooks seem like pretty safe bets. You could also see Brooks move into the nickel corner role and slide Bryce Anderson to safety. Junior Jared Kerr may work himself into that mix as well. Add in the guys added via the portal (De’Rickey Wright, Trey Jones) and the high school ranks (Myles Davis, Jordan Pride), and safety is in pretty great shape both in terms of top end talent and depth.
In a word, yikes. The A&M corners appeared to be a liability all season, and that was only worsened for the bowl game with the departures of Tyreek Chappell and Deuce Harmon. They’re not completely without pieces, bringing back Jayvon Thomas, Bravion Rogers, Sam McCall and Tony Grimes (along with surprising walk-on Kent Robinson). But I don’t think this is a position where A&M rests on their laurels. They’ve already added one corner via the portal (Kansas State’s Will Lee) and I fully expect the Aggies to be in the market for more. They also look to close on five-star recruit Terry Bussey, who is committed to A&M but will not sign a letter of intent until February.
Forecast: Cloudy, with a chance of thunderstorms
A mix of good and back with this one. Taurean York played fantastically as a true freshman, but the departure of Edgerrin Cooper to the NFL Draft leaves a big hole to fill. Will that be filled by Martrell Harris? Jurriente Davis? Daymeon Sanford? Chantz Johnson? Transfer Alex Howard? A high school recruit? The Aggies have one spot locked down and a number of options for the second, but it’s far from a position with zero worry.
Forecast: Mostly cloudy
A&M suffered some portal losses with Fadil Diggs and LT Overton, but they do not at all lack talent at the position. They bring back third year starter Shemar Stewart, and have a bevy of options beyond him like third year players Malik Scylla/Enai White, sophomore Rylan Kennedy and incoming freshmen Solomon Williams/Dealyn Evans. I think this is also another position where we see additions from the portal (Purdue’s Nic Scourton being the most obvious of those targets).
Forecast: Partly cloudy
Another position with significant losses, with McKinnley Jackson headed to the NFL Draft, and Walter Nolen/Isaiah Raikes in the portal. But just like DE, the Aggies still have plenty of talent here. D.J. Hicks and Gabriel Brownlow-Dindy are former five star recruits who’s time to shine seems to have come. You also have veteran Albert Regis, second year players Samu Taumanupepe and Jadon Scarlett. Add incoming freshman Kendall Jackson and (hopefully) five-star Dominick McKinley, and the position is still in exceedingly good hands. The one wild card here is Shemar Turner, who is reportedly still mulling over whether to return to College Station or head to the NFL. If he comes back, things get even better in a hurry.
Forecast: Partly cloudy (change that to sunny if Shemar returns)
The Aggies return everyone but Layden Robinson, so that’s the good news. The bad news is that this was perhaps the Aggies’ worst position unit in 2023. How much can a new S&C coach and a new OL coach change that? That’s the big question. But between Bryce Foster, Chase Bisontis (played at G in the bowl game), Mark Nabou, Kam Dewberry and Aki Ogunbiyi, they certainly have veteran pieces to work with. Freshman Isendre Ahfua also comes in very highly regarded
Forecast: Mostly cloudy
If everyone is healthy, this could be the best group of tackles the Ags have had in years. Reuben Fatheree, Trey Zuhn and Dametrious Crownover are a very veteran group, bolstered by Colton Thomasson, Hunter Erb and TJ Shanhan. Ashton Funk and Blake Ivy also represent some good long-term options from the high school ranks. Once again, a lot of this will come down to development/coaching from the new staff
Forecast: Partly cloudy
Most of 2023’s production is gone, with Max Wright graduating and Jake Johnson in the transfer portal, but the Aggies still do not lack options. Donovan Green will return after missing 2023 with a torn ACL, and is backed up by sophomore Jaden Platt and third year player Theo Melin-Ohrstrom. Freshman Eric Karner and Purdue transfer Garrett Miller will be added to the mix as well.
Forecast: Mostly sunny
More good news/bad news here. The good news is that the starting talent is absolutely there with Jahdae Walker, Noah Thomas and Moose Muhammad. The bad news is that outside of them, Micah Tease is the only other scholarship wide receiver currently on the roster. While backup is on the way (high school recruits Izaiah Williams/Ernest Campbell, transfers Cyrus Allen/Javon Harvey), it’s still a position that may head into 2024 thinner than the staff might like.
Forecast: Cloudy with a chance of showers
If Amari Daniels, Leveon Moss and Rueben Owens are all back in 2024, consider this position locked down (and there’s a goo chance Moss and Owens likely taking the bulk of the work). The Aggies may still look to add a high school running back to the 2024 recruiting class, but they likely wouldn’t factor much into the on-field production next season.
Despite some suspect results, QB play was not a problem for the Aggies in 2023. They were just hampered (and often injured) due to a poor OL and an overall lackluster offensive scheme. In a perfect world, both of those problems get remedied in 2024 under new OC Collin Klein and we see a breakout year from former five-star QB Conner Weigman. If he does go down (please not again), we saw enough from backup Jaylen Henderson (and his backup Marcel Reed in the Texas Bowl) to still feel good about the QB position doing enough to not significantly hamper the offense.
While several of these position groups seem to be set up well, it’s how they play as a team that will ultimately matter the most. QB play is rendered irrelevant with a bad OL. A great DL is mitigated by a porous secondary. Having no group be an outright liability may be more important than any one group being absolutely elite.
We won’t know the complete picture on this roster for several more months, and even then we won’t know how they truly pan out until the season begins eight months from now. But if the coaching staff can prove to be worth their salt, the potential seems to be there for the Aggies to turn things around in a hurry.