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Evaluating the Texas A&M Football Program Part III: Defensive Recruiting/Depth Chart

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Part 3 of 4 in a comprehensive look at the Texas A&M Football Program.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

If you haven't had the opportunity and are tired of refreshing twitter and your favorite A&M sites, feel free to check out part 1 here and part 2 here.

The intent of these articles it to take a good look at our roster, both good and bad, and perhaps provide some commentary about recruiting efforts and roster management. Like I said in the last one...YESSIRS and swagcopters are a lot of fun, but at the end of the day good/bad recruiting is defined by the depth chart. So let's take a look

Defensive Line

So out of all the positions Sumlin has recruited, I'd say defensive line is the one where we've probably performed the best. We've got a good mix of DTs and DEs. Terry Price has done a good job overall of managing this roster and finding ways to convince new talent to join old talent. Couple of quick thoughts:

  • That class of 2013 is still abysmal. So much attrition...and Chevis/Manning are likely not to become starter quality players any time soon.
  • The loss of Obioha and Williams will be minimal and should free up more time for guys like Zaycoven and Cunningham to play.
  • TD Moton was a big time addition to the 2015 class.

Linebackers


As good of a job as we've done with DL, we've done equally a a bad job at LB recruiting. Similar to some of the other positions--our linebacker depth chart make me question Sumlin's ability to manage a roster to create quality depth. Couple of quick thoughts:
  • Some of this is bad darn luck. Mike Richardson should be a senior starter.
  • Others of it is character evaluation. Jordan Richmond and Darian Claiborne were really talented players who just couldn't get out of their own way.
  • In my mind there's no reason that you should ever take fewer than 3 LBs in a class. Not taking 3 (like we did in 2012 and 2014) results in big classes like 2015.
  • 2016 should be better than 2015. Three staring linebackers shouldn't be difficult to find in this group.
  • But 2016 marks four years in a row that we are going to count on a true freshman to log significant minutes--Claiborne, Alaka/Walker, Moore and now (hopefully) either Divinity or McCulloch.
  • This group also lacks star power. There's no immediate difference maker here....lots of really good talent but no elite talent.

Corners



Another group that makes me wonder about our ability to manage a roster effectively. Moving Brandon Williams to corner was a stroke of genius that worked out well, but how did we ever get to the point where we needed to convert a running back to have healthy depth at the corner spot?
  • The class of 2013 again comes back to bite us. Sezer and Davis are good players but not good enough to be consistent contributors. Ellis has done a good job at the nickel spot but lacks the size to be an every down corner.
  • Moving into 2016 we lose Harris, Burns (who'd done a good job at that nickel/FS spot), and Williams.
  • Biggest failure was not taking more than 2 DBs in 2014....and Ced Collins was never going to see the field. We needed to circle back and take at least one more
  • 2015 will always be defined as the year of missed opportunities. Boyd, Hill, Sheffield...we needed at least one of those. Capers-Smith and Elam are good players but they were always meant to be matched with a surefire day 1 contributor.
  • Priest Willis is likely a day 1 starter for us next year.
  • I think we need at least 3 in 2016...maybe 4

Safeties



We averted crisis right here through good evaluation and through the use of immediate impact juco players. Let's break this down

  • Remarkable to me that two years straight we went 0-fer on safeties. Marshall (dismissal), Kam Miles (transfer) and John Wiggins (left the team) all left us a fairly large hole to fill.
  • Watts and Wilson are really solid players. Wilson especially was a late steal for us from Utah. That worked out very well for us.
  • Chief likes to run out of the Mustang look so safeties will never have a hard time seeing the field. Given the health issues we had late in the year, i think it's safe to say that we need at least 1-2 players who can contribute immediately (ahem Brandon Jones if you're listening)
  • The combination of Dunning Pryor and Evans is a dream group...Dunning might outgrow the safety position and turn into a rangy linebacker. Pryor is going to be a really good one and Evans is already an eraser who has no issue hitting people.
  • Again the crisis of bad evaluation early was averted by good recruiting later

Final Thoughts


So really I think that out of all the positions here there are some themes that emerged:

  • The class of 2013 was abysmal across the board. Couple of good players here and there but more a group that was defined by attrition rather than addition
  • Seems like the coaches learned their lessons in 2014 regarding character evaluations, we still have some spots of concern.
  • We've shown an inability to manage position rosters consistently. I dont know who's in charge of that--Sumlin or the position coaches, but instead of working to create good depth...at LB and CB both we're just looking to plug leaks through individual players
The next and final version of Examining the Program will look at the coaching roster. Thanks for reading and as always feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.