clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Defensive Recruiting Snapshot: Where does Chavis take A&M from here?

Big Chief Tablet Report: the Kendall Sheffield announcement Saturday wasn't exactly how John Chavis wanted to begin cornerback recruiting.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Unfortunately, A&M fans have seen this movie before.

Alabama nabbed another top cornerback in the state of Texas as Kendall Sheffield committed to the Tide at the Under Armour All-American game today, following the lead of Tony Brown in the 2014 class and Maurice Smith in 2013.

This one stings, especially considering A&M coach Kevin Sumlin had thrown all of his eggs, the kitchen sink, and a massive amount of recruiting capital at the Fort Bend Marshall star, only to find out that Sheffield had been Skyping with Saban almost every Sunday, and that is a spectacularly shitty way to find out that alliteration jokes are stupid.

While A&M under Sumlin has recruited at an absurdly high level, cornerback is the one area that has consistently lagged behind, although it hasn't been for lack of effort.  Less than two weeks after Sumlin entered College Station, Devante Harris flipped from Oklahoma, but would be the only high school corner in his class.

Cornerback recruiting since then has been a strange evaluation mix of big guys that can't quite run, and small guys that can't quite tackle, combined with the in-between ones that can't quite seem to get on the field.  Mark Snyder did his guys no favors with a reluctance to play anything remotely resembling press man coverage, and I still don't have any idea what Terry Joseph does on a day to day basis.

But what about the current recruiting cycle?  Justin Dunning, Larry Pryor, and Justin Evans all look great at safety. Roney Elam is an intriguing athlete, but needs a lot of weight room work, and Deshawn Capers-Smith probably fits best at safety, or maybe even an emergency quarterback.  Thinking they had Sheffield, A&M clearly dragged their feet on Kris Boyd and Holton Hill, and may see both head to in-state recruiting rivals.  PJ Mbanasor is currently committed to Oklahoma, but may be open to looking around as Clemson just scored again in the Citrus Bowl.

The Aggies are going to have to get creative to hit their numbers, or Sumlin is going to have to dig deep into his charm bucket to land the requisite talent influx this roster needs.  Or, maybe in a fresh coaching staff, player development on the back end will be something that occurs a bit more regularly.

John Chavis brings a host of philosophies to the table, but the one thing that connects them all is aggressiveness.  This could be a great thing for guys like Victor Davis and Nick Harvey, and a potential new lease on life for Tavares Garner. Alex Sezer has a chance to be a playmaker from the nickel spot, and Noel Ellis brings a heck of a high school pedigree as he attempts to make his way back from a type 1 diabetes diagnosis this fall.

Looking around the A&M defense, after 2 to 3 scotches, one could see the makings of a decent front seven if John Chavis is the defensive mind he's so often made out to be.  Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall at end, Zaycoven Henderson and Hardreck Walker as penetrating tackles, and a linebacking group featuring a seasoned Otaro Alaka, Shaan Washington and AJ Hilliard isn't the worst thing in the world.

Even the safeties have a chance to be very good, very quickly, but without a quantum leap from the cornerbacks in both talent and technique, the Big Chief Tablet unfortunately may just burst into flame.