The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The intersection of Bizzell Street and College Avenue on Monday, Jan. 22, 2024.
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Chancellor John Sharp during a Board of Regents meeting discussing the appointmet of interim dean Mark Welsh and discussion of a McElroy settlement on Sunday, July 30, 2023 in the Memorial Student Center.
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7 players to look for in Southwest Classic

Photo by Photo by Ryan Hartfiel

DeMarvin Leal and Jayden Peevy fight to takedown the opposing ball carrier.

With Texas A&M’s 3-0 start to the season, including a 34-0 blowout win against New Mexico, the maroon and white is on a quest for an undefeated season. The No. 7 Aggies will go head-to-head with No. 16 Arkansas on Saturday, Sept. 25, in the return of the Southwest Classic at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, to kickoff at 2:30 p.m. The Razorbacks are ranked for the first time since 2016 after their Week 2 41-20 win over then-No. 15 Texas. Since joining the Southeastern Conference, the Aggies are 9-0 against the Razorbacks and will attempt to remain undefeated in the series to extend their 12-game winning streak. Here are seven players to watch in the upcoming matchup:
Zach Calzada – A&M
Finally adjusting to the role of “QB1,” the redshirt sophomore has begun displaying the strength of his arm. Calzada threw for 275 yards against New Mexico, 70 of which came from a missile launched to freshman wide receiver Demond Demas. This will be Calzada’s first start against an SEC or a ranked opponent. If Calzada can keep his composure under pressure, he has the potential to make a name for himself and accumulate impressive yardage against Arkansas.
KJ Jefferson – Arkansas
With a combination of athleticism and build, Arkansas’ redshirt sophomore quarterback could cause disarray for the Aggies this weekend. After Jefferson led the Razorbacks to a victory over Texas, he steered Arkansas away from any conversations about their lack of performance in the past. This dual-threat quarterback has documented 632 passing and 180 rushing yards in his first three wins this season. The 2021 A&M defense has yet to see anyone like him, and this will also be an opportunity for Jefferson to perform against a No. 1-ranked defense.
Jalen Wydermeyer – A&M
A&M’s offensive scheme may have a variety of key components, but one ingredient that never changes is the junior tight end. When Wydermeyer has the ball in his hands, he is destined to do damage, averaging 11 yards per catch last season. His dependability has led to 12 career touchdown receptions, the most in program history as a tight end. The physical playmaker is one receiving touchdown away from A&M’s all-time top-10, which he could make against the Razorbacks.
Trelon Smith – Arkansas
Adding onto Arkansas’ assortment of offensive weapons is its junior running back. He is one of four deadly members of the running corps, leading the pack with 216 rushing yards this season. Smith and the other Arkansas rushers ran for 333 yards against Texas, a ranked opponent at the time. The matchup between Smith and the A&M defense will be intense and physical, embodying what SEC play is all about.
Antonio Johnson – A&M
The sophomore defensive back proves age is just a number when it comes to talent. Recording 16 solo tackles and another two assists thus far, Johnson leads the Aggies in total tackles and has played a key role on the top-10 defense. A&M leads the nation in the fewest passing yards allowed, fewest points per game and has yet to let an opponent score a passing touchdown this season. It is possible for the young talent to stun SEC offenses, beginning on Saturday with Arkansas.
Jalen Catalon – Arkansas
Greatly contributing to Arkansas’ success this season is the redshirt sophomore defensive back. Catalon’s ability to locate the ball and stop plays will cause disturbances for A&M’s powerful running corps and standout receivers. The agile competitor is currently second in the SEC for total tackles, with 28, and has two interceptions on record. Catalon’s versatile skill set will continue to reflect in his stats, making him a player to continue to watch for in the SEC.
DeMarvin Leal – A&M
Not only is the junior defensive tackle one of the more aggressive players in the country, but his veteran guidance and physicality on defense has transformed A&M’s program to another level. The Aggies have the ninth-ranked defense in the country, only allowing 3.64 yards per play this season. Leal has recorded 2.5 sacks and 13 total tackles so far. Should he prove he can dismantle SEC offensive linemen and find his way to the quarterback, just as he has done in past years, Leal will once again make a statement on the field.

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