We are now less than two months from the start of a new Texas A&M football season, and that means it is time to start taking a hard look at the Aggies’ position groups to see what we should expect from them in 2022. In this article, we start with easily A&M’s most experienced unit heading into the 2023 season: Safety.
Who did we lose?
Essentially, no one. Hence why this group is so experienced. Perhaps the only thing that could be categorized as a “loss” is the fact that sophomore Bryce Anderson (who saw spot duty at safety in 2022) is likely moving to nickel corner to fill the void left behind by Antonio Johnson, who is now with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Who do we bring back?
Demani Richardson: Demani is back for a fifth year in Aggieland, something A&M football fans should be over the moon about. It’s hard to overstate how rare and valuable it is to have a FIFTH YEAR STARTER on the back end of your secondary. Richardson set career highs in tackles (73) and passes defended (5) in 2022, and also scored the first two defensive touchdowns of his career. Let’s hope he gets to end his college career on a high note in 2023.
Jardin Gilbert: Gilbert moved into a full-time starter role in 2022, replacing Leon O’Neal, and responded with 61 tackles, 2 INTs and 4 passes defended
What other names should we know?
Demani and Jardin are great starters, but at safety, the backups are also rock solid with Jacoby Matthews and Jared Kerr. Both were blue chip recruits in that 2022 recruiting class and both played (and played well) last season. In the transfer portal era, having experienced depth is a rare luxury, but this is definitely a position where A&M has it. While it’s impossible to be completely injury-proof, there is one position where the Aggies could sustain a major loss (or even two) and still not suffer a massive drop off in on-field play.
Overall Grade: A-
While it’s unlikely any these guys end up as first round NFL Draft picks, there’s talent, experience and depth. The Aggies had the No. 1 pass defense in the country last season, and this group was a big reason why. With everyone coming back, there’s no reason to think they won’t be a strength headed into a very pivotal 2023 football season.