Monday, June 7, 2010
The Revolving Door: Texas A&M
By ESPN.com staff
Here, we'll take a look at a couple of key players going, staying and coming for each team in the Big 12.
Lee Grimes, Kevin Matthews and Michael Shumard, OL
Texas A&M isn't lacking for talent at the skill positions. They have the best combination of backs, receivers and quarterback in the conference. But if one thing derails the Aggies' offense, it will be the departure of Grimes, Matthews and Shumard, three linemen who helped Christine Michael, Cyrus Gray and Jerrod Johnson, among a few others, rush for 2,394 yards in 2009, second-most in the conference, behind Oklahoma State. If Johnson doesn't have consistent time against in the pocket to throw -- or gets hurt -- against the conference's best teams late in the season, the Aggies can forget any dreams they have of stealing the South for the first time since 1998.
Jordan Pugh, S
Pugh was Texas A&M's second-leading tackler last season, with 84 tackles. Though Texas A&M's defense brings back nine starters, Pugh isn't among them. A three-year starter in the secondary (both corner and safety), he earned All-Big 12 honors for his senior performance. He picked off a team-high three passes and made 2.5 tackles for loss.
Jerrod Johnson, QB
Johnson is no stranger to the Big 12 Blog, but the conference's best quarterback has his eyes set on a South title -- and more -- after a 6-7 season in 2009. Johnson has plenty of receivers to help him improve on his Big 12-best 30 touchdown passes. His impressive speed helped him rush for 506 yards and eight touchdowns, too, but his arm and size (6-foot-5, 243 pounds) are what's attracted the attention of NFL scouts.
Trent Hunter, S
It's hard to talk about the Aggie defense without mentioning Von Miller, but Hunter could blossom into a household name alongside Miller in 2010 after leading the team in tackles as a sophomore last season. He was named to The Sporting News' Freshman All-America team, and earned a second-team All-Big 12 nod last season, setting the stage for a big 2010 season for an Aggie defense hoping to improve under new coordinator Tim DeRuyter.
Luke Joeckel, OT
Mike Sherman's highest-rated recruit from 2010 couldn't have been much more impressive. Joeckel enrolled early at Texas A&M and by the end of spring, had earned the status of starting left tackle heading into fall camp. The 6-foot-6, 280-pound Arlington native looks ready to kick off a possibly special career in College Station this fall, helping plug the holes left behind by the guys listed in the "Going" section.
Toney Hurd Jr., CB
One of three Aggie recruits who earned a spot on the ESPNU 150, Hurd could help improve a pass defense that ranked last in the Big 12 and 105th nationally last season. Hurd hails from Missouri City, Texas, stands 5-foot-9 and weighs 179 pounds. He ranked as the No. 11 cornerback in the nation and the No. 125 overall prospect.
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