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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

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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The Battalion May 4, 2024

All quiet on the recruiting front for Texas A&M on National Signing Day

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By Lawrence Smelser

Kevin Sumlin signed another top-15 recruiting class in 2017. 

Texas A&M inked a sneaky quiet class on National Signing Day Wednesday, one filled with loads of talent, yet did not jump out as some may have hoped. There were really no surprises or questions to be solved on the final day of recruiting for the 2017 class, unlike the past two years which had been dramatic in different fashions for the Aggies. The calm signing day may have been in large part due to the nine early-enrollees A&M brought to campus at the start of the semester – which included most of its top targets. By getting their key prospects to Aggieland in January, there was less stress in the war room in Bright down the home stretch of the recruiting trail.

Although the Aggies had their 2017 class set in stone before Wednesday came about, maybe a peaceful signing day was exactly what the Aggies needed. In the past two years, A&M lost out on the both of top players in Texas – Malik Jefferson in 2015 and Brandon Jones in 2016 – to rival Texas when each announced on National Signing Day. The Aggies also did not have to stress hard about potentially losing a commit moments before he signed his National Letter of Intent, either. But while the Aggies did not have to worry about top prospects in the waning hours of signing day, they missed out on some the state of Texas’ top talent long before Wednesday. In a year that saw Texas have its third straight losing season, Houston regress from their magical 2015 campaign, and Baylor suffer through…well, do we even have to mention? The Aggies did not take full advantage of their biggest competitors’ woes, losing key in-state players to a handful of out-of-state programs. In fact, the top seven 2017 prospects in Texas chose out-of-state schools, according to 247 rankings – including three each to Ohio State and division rival LSU.

While premier out-of-state schools were able to cherry-pick their Texas talent, A&M fared well outside its borders. Of the nine early-enrollees – which to an extent should be considered the Aggies’ best signees – four came from outside Texas. Although Kellen Mond and Jhamon Ausbon are Texas natives, signing the lethal QB-WR duo, along with four-star linebacker Santino Marchiol all from IMG Academy in Florida was a big win on the recruiting trail for A&M. Establishing a pipeline from the football farm in Florida could also benefit the Aggies in years to come. Marchiol was a member of the stout linebacker class, headlined by Anthony Hines III, the No. 2 inside linebacker in the nation according to 247.

Regardless, Kevin Sumlin and his staff did a superb job completing a 26-man class that finished in the top 15 nationally after a recruiting season that saw a couple hiccups for the Aggies along the way. A&M filled nearly all of its needs as well, with a solid four-man receiving corps leading the way in Ausbon, Hezekiah Jones, Cam Buckley and Mr. Texas Football and converted QB Roshauud Paul. The Aggies did their part in the secondary, too, gaining blue chip safety Derrick Tucker and others including Keldrick Carper and Myles Jones – long, athletic players John Chavis is keen on. The only weakness may be at defensive end, the Aggies most needed position next season with the departures of Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall. A&M gets JUCO-transfer Micheal Clemons and four-star Tyree Johnson, but the Aggies missed out on getting K’Lavon Chaisson  among several others – who could have replaced Garrett and Hall with the same skill level immediately.

As far as instant-impact players go, there are four that could for sure see the field instantly in 2017. Mond is expected to compete for the starting quarterback job against Jake Hubenak and Nick Starkel, and being a dual-threat quarterback will play in his favor adjusting to Noel Mazzone’s run-pass-option offense. His top target at IMG, Ausbon, will have a great chance to compete for an outside receiver position, which are both empty after the departures of Josh Reynolds, Jeremy Tabuyo and Speedy Noil. At 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, Ausbon is a prototypical outside flanker whose size and speed will allow him to compete from the start. The tape and stat sheet of Hines III says it all: the dude can tackle. With the departures of Shaan Washington and Claude George, the Aggies will need its newcomers to fill voids at a position of need on defense and Hines III is the man for the job. His natural abilities and knack for tackling will go a long way for Hines III, too. The fourth is Clemons, who comes in with two years of collegiate experience to a position with needed help and the measurable to step in immediately. The good news is that by getting Mond, Ausbon and Hines III to campus early, they will be able to go through spring practice and gain four extra months of offseason training to help prepare them to potentially take the field immediately this fall. We’ve seen in the case of guys such as Trayveon Williams that signs of great potential in spring ball can transition to success in the regular season – something A&M may need to somewhat rely on next year in certain areas.

Overall, this was a solid class and one that is tight-knit and littered with players who want to be in Aggieland and have for a long time. It wasn’t flashy by any means, but the bottom line is this: A&M got nearly everything it needed and did not have to wait until the final hours to fill every last need. Welcome to Aggieland, class of 2017, or soon to be 2021, everyone at A&M is excited to see what you have in store here these next four years.

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