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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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Signing on for victory

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Photo by Photo by Cassie Stricker

Texas A&M head football coach Jimbo Fisher sits with Boling High School recruit Vernon Jackson at the A&M basketball game. 

The Texas A&M football program gained 10 players in the inaugural year of the Early Signing Period that took place from Dec. 20-22. The 10 new players were meager in comparison to other major programs across the country, due to uncertainty regarding the coaching staff.
Despite the low number, the early signing class has no shortage of talent, with signatures from five four-star players, including the No. 2 junior college tight end in the nation, Jace Sternberger, and the No. 13 offensive tackle in the nation, Colten Blanton. Both players are already enrolled.
The Aggies hired Jimbo Fisher on Dec. 1 in the weeks leading up to the Early Signing Period; however, Fisher had to juggle assembling a coaching staff virtually from scratch and jumping on the recruiting trail. Despite the extreme task at hand, Fisher hit the ground running on recruitment, traveling across the state and hosting recruits just days after his arrival. Another thing working against Fisher was the NCAA “Dead Period” that lasted from Dec. 17 to Jan. 11, in which coaches were not able to have any contact with recruits.
With the new staff intact, A&M coaches had a tight turnaround to ensure they hung on to recruits from the last regime who neglected to sign during the Early Signing Day Period and to set out recruiting their own players. The coaching staff was helped by current commits, most notably four-star defensive end Max Wright, and from current and former players, including Johnny Manziel.
Since Fisher and his staff have taken over, the maroon and white has received commitments from Deneric Prince, Tyree Wilson, Jalen Preston and Leon O’Neal. O’Neal, a four-star commit, is the most recent to announce his decision for the Aggies and single handedly lifted the Aggie class from the No. 35 recruiting class to No. 23 when he announced his decision on Monday. O’Neal was committed to A&M under the previous staff, however, he decommitted when they left. Fisher and his staff were able to lure O’Neal back to Aggieland.
With the integration of the new Early Signing Period, the coaching change and the mediocre 2017 season, most people thought this would be a down-year on the recruiting front. However, Fisher has recovered phenomenally and will have a realistic chance to nab 18 of the nation’s top recruits on Wednesday’s Signing Day.
Most notably, Fisher has a chance to land four-star commits Jaylen Waddle, Bobby Brown and Joseph Ossai. Waddle, arguably the top receiver in Texas, will choose between Alabama and A&M and will announce his commitment at 3:30 p.m. Brown originally committed to A&M under the previous staff, then decommitted and committed to Alabama when they left. Brown took an official visit to A&M last weekend and the Aggies are in a close race to land the defensive end. Brown has not announced when he will be signing. Ossai’s final two are Texas and A&M, and most experts are calling it a toss-up. Ossai has not announced when he will officially put pen to paper.
When all is said and done, Fisher will likely have put together a class that ranks in the Top 15 in the nation, a truly remarkable feat, all things considered. The coaching change may have come at a good time for the Aggies as they lost just eight starters. Fisher’s staff is also in very good shape with the class of 2019 after picking up commitments from Brian Williams, Kam Brown and Bobby Wolfe. The A&M 2019 class currently ranks as the No. 4 recruiting class in the nation, according to 247sports.com.
Whatever happens on Wednesday, it is evident that the new A&M coaching staff has revamped its recruiting efforts and will be a force to be reckoned with for years to come.

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