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Scouting the Texas A&M Class of 2015: Offensive Backfield and Special Teams

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Now that all of the National Letters of Intent are in and the recruiting drama is over, it's time to discuss how good these new Texas A&M Aggies are and where they project within the Texas A&M Football Program. Let's go ahead and start with the crown jewel of the class, Kyler Murray.

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The 2015 Texas A&M signing class features 3 players within the offensive backfield -- QB Kyler Murray, RB Kendall Bussey, and RB Jay Bradford. The gem of the group and of the entire 2015 class is Kyler Murray. But Bussey and Bradford could also be future dynamic players that could help Texas A&M regain a dominant ground game that would put the offense on another level within the Southeastern Conference.

Kyler Murray

Position: QB

High School: Allen (Allen, TX)

Height: 5'11"

Weight: 180 lbs

Analysis:

Kyler Murray's highlights are just a thing of beauty. There aren't many players like him; Murray is a incredibly unique talent. The first thing I notice when I watch Murray is just how in-sync his entire throwing motion is -- from his base, to transfer of weight, hip rotation, shoulder rotation and into the throwing motion, it's all connected and timed perfectly together. You hardly find that at this level. Most of the QBs you will watch at the high school level will either have the arm or accuracy you want in college for your desired system, but very few have the footwork that is needed to be elite at the next level. Murray already is exceptional in this area before he sets foot on the A&M campus.

Of course if you are going to talk about Murray, you have to mention his ability to run as well. He is truly the definition of a dual-threat player. Murray will have SEC defensive coordinators pulling their hair out having to defend not only his arm, but his ability to run, both when the pocket breaks down and also on designed run calls that Texas A&M has adopted within its offense. When you write these type of scouting reports, you want to try and avoid obvious comparisons. But, I have to compare Kyler Murray to Seattle Seahawks' QB Russell Wilson in this regard -- his ability to throw on the run outside of the pocket. It's outstanding and puts Murray on another level. Just like Wilson, Murray can break a defense's will by completing a long passing play while scrambling. He keeps everything in balance while throwing on the run, keeping his shoulders square to the line of scrimmage. That's hard to do and Murray already has it down to a science.

Murray is by far the best QB prospect to come out of the state of Texas since Garrett Gilbert. He may even be the best since Matthew Stafford, but I wasn't paying attention to recruiting when Stafford, Class of 2006, signed with Georgia. He certainly is arguably the best Texas High School Football QB of all-time with a 43-0 record at Allen to pair with 3 state 5A-6A titles.

Projection:

I have no doubt Kyler Murray will have every opportunity to win the starting QB job for 2015. But Kyle Allen ain't no slouch either. The thing that may tip the scale for Kyle Allen over Murray in 2015 will be familiarity with the Aggie offense and having three games against SEC competition under his belt, plus a bowl game victory over a stout West Virginia defense. Murray will get playing time in 2015, whether he is the starter or the backup. The deciding factor may be how well Murray can adapt to playing behind a college offensive line.  At times, Murray can give up on a play too early and try to scramble. He'll have to trust the offensive line in front of him, stay strong in the pocket, keep his eyes up to his receivers and the opposing defense, and complete the pass play. If he shows ability to win from the pocket even when things get messy, Murray just might be the starter in 2015 and beyond.


Kendall Bussey

Position: RB

High School: Isidore Newman (New Orleans, LA)

Height: 5'8"

Weight: 205 lbs

Analysis:

I'll be honest -- I didn't watch any film of New Orleans product Kendall Bussey until he announced he would be signing with Texas A&M on Monday. But man, I was incredibly impressed with what I saw when I watched his highlight tape. Bussey is only 5'8", but it's a compact 5'8" with a lot of power behind him. His build reminds me a lot of Ben Malena who was 5'9".  Kendall was made for this Texas A&M offense -- he is going to be a power runner between the tackles, but also has the hands to be a major factor in the passing game out of the backfield. One of Bussey's best traits is his phenomenal ability to start-stop-start on a dime. When you go through his highlight tape, you'll notice he isn't necessarily a jitterbug type of runner. But the sudden stop plus the explosive start allows him to make a lot of moves in space and evade pursuing defenders. Bussey also doesn't have the fastest feet you'll see from a running back, but his footwork is exceptional because he doesn't waste any steps. Everything he does is intentional and with a purpose, which helps make up for that average to good foot speed. And last but not least the hands -- Bussey will be a factor in the pass game. I honestly believe that if you told Kendall he could only be a slot wide receiver in College Station, he would excel and he would be one of the better receivers on the team.

Projection:

I think it may be hard for either of the two 2015 RB signees to see playing time this fall, just because Tra Carson, Brandon Williams and James White are in front of them. However, I really think Bussey might just sneak in some minutes as our 3rd RB. If he doesn't end up playing in 2015, he will certainly be a main feature for our offense in 2016 and beyond. Here is the question Bussey will have to answer -- how well can he pass protect? If he does that well, Bussey can be an every-down running back in this Aggie offense. His versatility will be his biggest strength for us.

Jay Bradford

Position: RB

High School: Splendora (Splendora, TX)

Height: 5'11"

Weight: 190 lbs

Analysis:

Jay Bradford is one of the forgotten men in the Class of 2015, just because Bradford committed so early in the process to the Aggies and never wavered, even with a shaky Aggie running game in 2014. The first thing I noticed from the highlight tape shown above is that Jay is a long strider. Jay flashes elite explosiveness, and his stride lets him clock in consistent 4.3 40 yard dashes at combine events and 10.6 times in 100 meter track events. Bradford has also recorded a vertical of 35". Once he gets to the second level of a defense, he can open up quite a gap between himself and the nearest defender. Another great trait that Bradford possesses is his vision and commitment to the designed running lane for any given play. His high school team ran their offense out of the I Formation, something you don't see a lot of on the Texas High School Football scene. Bradford knew where his designed hole was and stuck with it even if it didn't seem clean until the last moment.  Too many times running backs don't trust the designed play or offensive line and will try to bounce things outside from the gap they are supposed to be running through, relying on their talent. Bradford doesn't do that, and it led to numerous long runs and TDs. Like Bussey, Bradford doesn't have too much jitter, but he makes small cuts to evade defenders, all the while keeping his running north to south.  That type of style is exactly something new run game coordinator Dave Christensen will be looking for.

Projection:

Unless injuries at the position begin to mount, I do not think we will be seeing Jay Bradford in 2015. I believe that Jay's running style will pair very well with James White in 2016 and beyond, giving the Aggies a real 1-2 power punch inside to establish a power run game and to close out contests in the 4th quarter. Unfortunately, we don't get to see Jay's full skill set on his highlight film. You'll have to go to tape from the US Army All-American game and practices for that. I'll be interested to see if Jay can develop into an every-down running back in College Station, or if he'll be the inside-the-tackles home run threat specialist. Here is the bottom line: SEC defensive coordinators don't want this guy running wild in the future.

Daniel LaCamera

Position: PK/P

High School: East Lake (Tarpon Springs, FL)

Height: 6'4"

Weight: 225 lbs

Analysis:

We'll put the lone specialist Daniel LaCamera into this offensive backfield group to close things out. After all, just like Murray, Bussey and Bradford, LaCamera can be a threat from anywhere on the field. Just watch him hit this 68 yard field goal. LaCamera, who hails from Tarpon Springs, FL (the home of Saint Somewhere Brewing Company), no doubt caught the attention of the Texas A&M staff because not only is he a capable place kicker, but he is also one of the country's best punting prospects. He is truly a dual-threat guy. According to Kohlskicking.com, the best source for kicking and punting recruiting info, LaCamera ranks as the #7 kicking prospect in the country, but also the #22 punting prospect in the country. To top it all off, LaCamera can also nail down kickoff duties, routinely kicking touchbacks. There is no doubt LaCamera has the #LEGTALENT that is needed for elite kicking prospects, but the question will be can he maintain a high level of accuracy to go along with the strong leg. LaCamera converted 13 of 17 of his field goals during his senior year.

Projection:

LaCamera will battle with senior-to-be Taylor Bertolet for field goal duties in 2015. My guess is that Bertolet will be the Aggies' primary place kicker in 2015, with Drew Kaser of course handling punting duties. In 2016, however, it will be the LaCamera show, at least at place kicker. We'll have to wait and see if special teams coordinator Jeff Banks pursues a punter for the Class of 2016.