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

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Texas A&M pitcher Chris Cortez (10) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against Oregon at the NCAA Bryan-College Station Super Regional at Olsen Field on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
One step away
June 8, 2024

Back to work: A&M football team begins spring practice

Photo by Photo by Cassie Stricker

Offensive line coach Jim Turner leads his unit in individual drills during the first

day of spring practice for the football team.

When defensive line coach David Turner cried out, “WHERE’S THE JUICE!?” at senior defensive tackle Reggie Chevis prior to warm-ups, it was clear football was back as the Texas A&M football team began spring practice Wednesday afternoon.
While stars from last year’s squad — including Trevor Knight, Myles Garrett and Josh Reynolds — gear up for this week’s NFL Draft Combine in Indianapolis, the Aggies had their first glimpse at their future squad, which features a handful of talented underclassmen and also welcomes back several key players from injury.
Head coach Kevin Sumlin said although the Aggies suffered significant losses on the defensive side of the ball with the departures of Garrett, Daeshon Hall and Justin Evans, the program was able to reload during the offseason through recruiting. Sumlin reiterated the benefit and importance of having newcomers and underclassmen go through drills in the spring, summer and early fall, which will make a significant difference come the start of the season.
“We signed one of the top junior country [Micheal Clemons] and he’s going to have every chance he can get and show what he can do,” Sumlin said after Wednesday’s practice. “I was really happy with our [defensive] line class this year as far as what we wanted to do and increase our profile, size wise with 6’5, 6’6 guys. When we were recruiting, we were really selective this year we passed on a couple of guys that were maybe not what we were looking for, for our profile for the SEC.”
Aside from the new additions from the recruiting trail, Sumlin said a large group of players who have spent several years waiting for their name to be called will also help the coaching staff effectively fill voids.
“The guys who are here right now have played football for us, they’re experienced and they’ve been waiting their turn,” Sumlin added. “That’s what college football is about.”
One player who has been waiting for his time to shine is sophomore Justin Dunning. He was forced to sit out last season due to a torn ACL suffered during fall camp. Sumlin said the coaching staff is taking his return to full-speed drills slowly, as Dunning (6-foot-4, 235 pounds) is also transitioning from safety to linebacker. This will allow him get reacquainted with the drills and limit the risk of re-injury.
“[Dunning’s] going through individual drills right now,” Sumlin said. “He’s gone through the whole off season conditioning. There’s no question that the kid wants to play. Toward the end of last season, I saw him walking around with the linebackers and [coach John Chavis] and I asked him, ‘What are you doing?’And he said, ‘I think I want to play.’ We’ve taken it kind of slowly with him. He won’t be in any of the team drills this spring; that way he can get used to that position.”
For the fourth year in a row, A&M boasts a competition for quarterback heading into spring ball with two new faces in the room, including four-star early-enrollee Kellen Mond. Senior Jake Hubenak — the only quarterback on the roster with collegiate experience — is vying to fend off the highly touted Mond, redshirt freshman Nick Starkel and early-enrollee Connor Blumrick. Sumlin said it’s too early to tell who will get the nod to start the season against UCLA, but he said the group is bonding and ready to get to work.
“These guys [Mond and Blumrick] are happy to be here and they’re doing great,” Sumlin said of the newcomers. “You got a bunch of guys in [the quarterback room] that are competing and are communicating, including the walk-on guys. We have plenty of arms out there … It’s day one and we have no pads on and we have 14 more practices to go.”

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