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Why Mike Elko’s recruiting momentum could mean big things for Texas A&M

If Elko can recruit, the sky is the limit in College Station

Texas A&M has received a ton of good news on the recruiting trail in recent weeks, with the Aggies adding 20+ new players - including several instant impact guys - via the transfer portal, and then landing two 2025 blue chip defenders over the weekend. The Aggies have also bolstered their 2024 class by getting an OT to flip from Duke to the Ags, and things are sounding better and better for A&M to hang onto the gem of their class, five-star Timpson athlete Terry Bussey.

Obviously if you’re a college football fan, you get why recruiting is important. In order to have a great team, you need to have great players. But Aggie fans learned the hard way in recent seasons that talent alone isn’t everything. A seemingly elite roster can still be an average football team if the coaching and culture aren’t there. Jimbo Fisher was always known as an elite recruiter, but even when he first came to Aggieland, there were questions about the effectiveness of his offense and the overall health of his Florida State program upon his departure.

Fast-forward a few years, and A&M looks to be in a very similar spot: highly touted recruiting classes leading to underwhelming results, poor offensive line play leading to QB injuries, you name it. But the hope is that, unlike FSU, the Aggies can right the ship quickly. The transfer portal, penalty-free transfers and NIL certainly help speed that process along, but even more important than that is hiring the right coach. The Seminoles did not hire the right guy in Willie Taggart, but A&M hopes that they have found their man in Mike Elko.

And that leads me to why Elko’s recent recruiting success is so important: Because recruiting was not billed as one his strengths coming in. Elko is known as a masterful defensive technician, and also seems to have the detail-oriented mindset necessary to lead a major college football program that has more moving parts than ever before. But he’s also proven to be a breath of fresh air at a program that felt like it had stagnated in recent years. He came in a with a lot of work to do to re-position the Aggies on the recruiting trail, but has seemed to make inroads quickly.

This started with his state-wide tour with Texas high school coaches, repairing and re-establishing relationships that had seemingly been ignored previously, and that has also carried over as he has begun speaking to recruits and hosting them on campus.

Bottom line: With Elko, along with former LSU S&C Coach Tommy Moffit, at the helm, the expectation is that the coaching and the development will be there in a way they had not been in recent seasons. If his Duke teams were any indication, a Mike Elko team will play tough, disciplined football (and meet if not exceed expectations relative to their talent). The biggest question with Elko’s hiring was whether he could recruit at a high enough level to field a team that is not just good, but great.

It’s too soon to say anything definitive on that front, but as far as early returns are concerned, it’s hard to not be optimistic. And if this team can recruit at a high level while also improving the culture, development and scheme put forth by the coaching staff, we could very well see the on-field results Aggies have been longing for.

But as fun as it is to celebrate recruiting wins, the proof is in the pudding, and our first taste of pudding comes Aug. 31 when A&M hosts Notre Dame at Kyle Field.

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