Texas A&M Recruiting: Get to Know the Aggies’ 2017 Defensive Recruits
With National Signing Day in the books it’s time to get to know the 13 defensive players in the 2017 Texas A&M recruiting class.
Texas A&M is going to have quite a few young guns to pair alongside senior starters Donovan Wilson and Armani Watts. If defensive coordinator John Chavis opts to keep Wilson in the nickel that would open up a significant amount of playing time for safety signees Keldrick Carper and Derrick Tucker.
Tucker looked to be an early Texas lean, but the Aggies managed to sway him towards maroon and white. He was just one of several head to head battles that the Aggies won over Texas during this recruiting cycle. As always, BTHOtu.
At corner the Aggies signed three Texas natives: Devin Morris (Caldwell), Myles Jones (Magnolia West), and Debione Renfro (Pearland). Jones looks to be the most SEC ready of the three. At 6’4, 180 pounds its his speed that has been spoken of most frequently. That’s a trait in desperate need on the outside of the Aggie defense.
Morris (pictured below) has to be the most heartwarming story of this class. The long time Aggie fan was the first member of the 2017 recruiting class to commit to Texas A&M, doing so on January 23 after receiving his offer just three days prior to that.
— Devin Morris (@dmorris_11) December 27, 2016
The Aggie coaching staff was very clearly placing an emphasis on height and size this year. Chavis likes to keep his corners one on one with the physical receivers in the SEC. That task is significantly more difficult for smaller cover guys. Thus, none of the five defensive backs in this year’s class measures shorter than 6’2″.
By mid-January the coaching staff had a fairly good sense of what their scholarship limits would be for the 2017 class. With 26 current commits, the Texas A&M staff felt like they could only take one more. That spot would have gone to Austin Westlake linebacker Levi Jones, but he cancelled his January official visit to College Station, eliminating the Aggies from contention.
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If Texas A&M was truly out of the running that might have been for the best. Rather than save the scholarship for Jones, Kevin Sumlin and crew headed back to Houston and put a lot of work into securing the services of Joshua Rogers.
Rogers, a defensive tackle out of Houston Christian, was the Aggies’ only signing day commitment. He joined Bellaire, Texas four star Jayden Peevy who signed earlier that morning.
The need to get bigger up front was evident. Rogers checks in at 6’5″, 290 pounds. He’s been described as a developmental prospect that has all the measurable to succeed at the next level.
Had senior defensive tackle Zaycoven Henderson elected to declare for the NFL, it might have been Peevy filling the gap as quickly as this year. Peevy, 6’6″, 279 pounds will benefit from a year under Henderson and Chavis’ tutelage. Yet, he might be the most underrated player in this year’s class. He’s a big boy that’s going to make a big impact in College Station.
With the departures of Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall, there is plenty of playing time up for grabs. That played a part in the Aggies inking three defensive ends: Hutto, Tx native Ondario Robinson, Tyree Johnson out of Washington D.C., and junior college standout Michael Clemons.
Of the three, Clemons is expected to be a day one starter, while the other two will likely see the field in reserve roles. Filling Garret’s shoes is going to be next to impossible, but the Aggies are going to find a way to get pressure on the quarterback. If that means pressure, Chavis has no qualms with the blitz.
By far the best position group among the 2017 defensive signees is the linebacking corps. Santino Marchiol and Devodrick Johnson join one the nation’s top linebackers, Anthony Hines, as the most talented class of linebackers recruited by Kevin Sumlin at Texas A&M.
Marchiol was one of three new Aggies to finish high school at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. That trio, comprised of Marchiol, Kellen Mond, and Jhamon Ausbon were some of the biggest gets for Sumlin’s staff and a large part of what propelled the Aggies to a top 10 final class ranking.
Johnson seemed to come the closest to not being an Aggie at all. He originally committed to Texas A&M in July before decommiting immediately following an August visit with Charlie Strong and the Texas Longhorns. The A&M staff convinced him to jump back on board in November.
A late push from new Baylor coach Matt Rhule had him questioning his decision up until the final night. In the end, he decided to stay with the Aggies. He made the announcement via Twitter on the even of signing day.
Lastly, there’s Anthony Hines. Depending on which recruiting service you consult, Hines is a top linebacker in the state of Texas and probably deserved a five star rating from those that withheld it from him. Hines is a tackling machine that is going to be an every down player for Texas A&M come September.
The Aggies have needed a linebacker that possess his combination of athleticism and intelligence. Throw away the stars, Hines might be the best member of this recruiting class by a landslide.
***Rankings from 247 Sports unless specified***
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