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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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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Four Aggies declare for NFL Draft

Photo by Chris Swann

Fifth-year OL Layden Robinson celebrates with fifth-year WR Anias Smith after a first-down during the Southwest Classic against Arkansas at AT&T Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)

Four Texas A&M football players will be heading to the next level as graduate wide receiver Ainias Smith, senior defensive lineman McKinnley Jackson, graduate offensive lineman Layden Robinson and junior linebacker Edgerrin Cooper announced their intentions to enter the 2024 NFL Draft.
Smith, Cooper and Robinson received All-SEC distinction this season. Smith and Cooper earned first-team honors, with Smith taking home the hardware as an all-purpose player and return specialist, while Cooper was recognized as a first-team linebacker. Robinson was named to the second-team.
Smith announced on X on Dec. 8 that a broken finger sustained in A&M’s loss to LSU on Nov. 25 would keep him from playing in the Texas Bowl versus Oklahoma State on Dec. 27. However, he stated he would round out his time on the team by helping coach in the bowl game.
Smith will go down in the SEC record books as the only player to tally 2,000 receiving yards and 250 yards as a rusher, punt returner and kick returner. Across five seasons and 50 games donning the Maroon and White, Smith ranks in the top five in A&M history in receiving touchdowns and total receptions. He’s also in the top 10 in receiving yards, punt return yards and all-purpose yards.
Rebounding from a 2022 campaign cut short by injury after four games, Smith was the Aggies’ top receiver with 53 catches for 795 yards and two touchdowns. He returned 20 punts for 285 yards to average 14.3 yards, which ranked eighth nationally. The Missouri City native returned a punt 82 yards for a touchdown in a 34-22 win over Arkansas. At the postseason team banquet, he was named Offensive MVP.
Jackson has maintained a consistent presence on the A&M defensive line for four seasons, totaling 91 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks over 40 games. In starting each game this season, he made 27 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. He also added a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
The Mississippi product was a team captain in 2022 and 2023 and earned the Aggie Defense Leadership Award, Defensive MVP Award and Strength and Conditioning Defensive Award in 2022.
Robinson was the team’s starting right guard in each of the 11 games he appeared in this season, continuing a string of 31 consecutive starts until he missed the LSU matchup. Under his watch in 2023, the Aggies’ offensive line allowed two sacks or less in eight games. In three such games, A&M had 40 or more passing attempts.
The Manvel product helped give way to a rushing attack that racked up over 200 yards three times and a passing game that threw for more than 300 yards on three occasions. Off the field, Robinson was named to the 2023 SEC Community Service Team.
In 2021, Robinson was recognized on the Associated Press All-SEC Second Team. In 2022 and 2021, he received the program’s Toughness Award and Offensive Strength and Conditioning Award.
In 2023, Cooper put together one of the most dominant seasons in history for an A&M linebacker, tallying 83 tackles, 17 tackles for loss and eight sacks with two forced fumbles. His tackles for loss total led the SEC and ranked fifth among Power 5 players, while his tackle and sack counts were sixth and fourth in the conference, respectively.
Across three seasons of meaningful playing time, Cooper amassed 204 tackles, 30.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, 10 pass breakups and three forced fumbles. In 2021, he was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team.
The NFL Draft will be held in Detroit on April 25-27, 2024.

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