Dallas Colleges: Tony Jerod-Eddie

DE Richardson rides DeSoto-to-A&M pipeline

February, 1, 2012
2/01/12
1:49
PM CT
DeSOTO, Texas -- The tradition of DeSoto sending a top-flight defensive lineman to Texas A&M continued when Michael Richardson signed a letter of intent Wednesday in a massive ceremony at the school gym.

The Aggies had three former DeSoto players on last year's team, including defensive lineman Tony Jerod-Eddie.

[+] EnlargeMichael Richardson
DeSoto High SchoolThere was no shortage of Texas A&M gear when DeSoto's Michael Richardson signed with the Aggies.
“It's like a pipeline and I’m keeping the tradition going,’’ said Richardson, an end who is following the same trail that Von Miller blazed with great results five years ago. “Hopefully some other DeSoto guys will follow me next year.’’

Richardson was an early Aggie commitment, but A&M’s head coaching change caused him concern. That concern ended when he met the new staff and new head coach Kevin Sumlin.

“Coach Sumlin reminded me a lot of my high school coach, Coach [Claude] Mathis,’’ said Richardson, one of 22 DeSoto players to sign on Wednesday.

“What really makes me proud is that we had seven defensive linemen last season and six of them signed today,’’ Richardson said.

For the occasion, Richardson wore an Aggies hat that featured the University of Texas mascot, Bevo, with sawed horns.

He said he wore the cap to annoy offensive lineman and good buddy Curtis Riser, seated at the table nearest Richardson. Riser signed with the Longhorns.

New A&M coach Sumlin has plenty to prove

December, 10, 2011
12/10/11
6:13
PM CT

Texas A&M has its man.

Kevin Sumlin is ready to get started in College Station, but he'll have to get his hands dirty very early.

Sumlin's become one of the hottest names in coaching after a 12-1 season in 2011, but he'll have a laundry list of things to prove during his first big-time job after leaving Houston.

The Cougars were his first head coaching job after stops around the Big 12 at Texas A&M, his new home, and in a variety of positions in five seasons at Oklahoma under coach Bob Stoops, including as offensive coordinator.

Every coach with a resumé comparable to Sumlin's faces the same question: Can that small-conference success translate into a bigger pond with bigger fish?

For Sumlin, it's tough to imagine a more difficult scenario for a coach taking over a major program for the first time, especially as a coach that has yet to guide a team to a conference title.

Texas A&M will head into the torture chamber that is the SEC West, where Arkansas went 10-2 with both losses this season to teams that will meet for the national title and finished third in the division.

Mississippi State? It won nine games in 2010 and finished fifth in the division.

[+] EnlargeKevin Sumlin
AP Photo/David J. PhillipKevin Sumlin spent four seasons guiding the Houston Cougars in Conference USA, and now he'll tackle the SEC as Texas A&M's newest head coach.
Sumlin knows Texas. He's recruited it for a decade and will continue to do so at Texas A&M, where he'll go head to head with former Big 12 rivals Texas and Oklahoma to convince players to help the Aggies ascend the SEC totem pole after going 6-6 in their final Big 12 season.

Sumlin's a man with spread sensibilities, though. He'll have to prove he can adjust that system as necessary to succeed in the SEC.

Success in the SEC, as national title participants Alabama and LSU can attest, correlates with defensive success, with rare exceptions for 6-foot-5, 250-pound Heisman winners/No. 1 picks at quarterback who can throw for 30 touchdowns, run for 20 more and rack up 1,400 yards rushing.

Sumlin's job in that department will be finding the right man to coordinate his defense. Current interim coach Tim DeRuyter could certainly stay in that role, despite a rough 2011 season in which the Aggies at one point went 22 quarters without forcing a turnover and finished 66th nationally in total defense and 76th in scoring defense.

The Aggies' linebacker-rich roster suits DeRuyter's 3-4 scheme well, and is better suited to defend the power running games in the SEC versus the pass-happy quarterbacks' league that is the Big 12.

If DeRuyter's not the right man, Sumlin better find the right one.

Can he carry over his success without Case Keenum? He threw an outlandish 45 touchdowns to five interceptions this year, including one game with nine scoring tosses.

Two of those interceptions came in the conference championship game loss to Southern Miss, where Sumlin was denied a league title for the second time in four seasons. Last year, when Keenum tore his ACL, the Cougars went 5-7.

The Aggies brass believed Sumlin could succeed without Keenum, and now, Sumlin will have to convince plenty of others.

Sumlin's personnel will look much different at Texas A&M. In the immediate future, his best player on offense will be former blue-chip recruit and 221-pound power back Christine Michael, who packs plenty of speed but will be coming off ACL surgery on his knee in 2012.

Sumlin will have a first-year starter at quarterback and loses his most physically gifted reciever, Jeff Fuller, while he'll retain his most productive receiver, Ryan Swope.

Defensively, the Aggies will lose top talents like four-year starter at safety, Trent Hunter. Cornerbacks Coryell Judie and Terrance Frederick will be gone. Defensive linemen Tony Jerod-Eddie and Eddie Brown will say goodbye, too.

Sumlin will have to adjust his wide-open passing attack at Houston that shredded Conference USA defenses to life amongst speedier, more instinctive SEC defenses.

He'll have the resources at Texas A&M, which built some recruiting momentum under Mike Sherman and will welcome a top-10 recruiting class in 2012 to some of the best facilities around.

Sherman proved that facilities and lots of talent don't equal wins. The Aggies were 1-5 in games decided by less than a touchdown in 2011.

Sumlin will set out to prove he's the right guy to fix that number and lots of others.

It won't be easy.

Ending A&M's slide will start with defense

October, 6, 2011
10/06/11
1:28
PM CT


Texas A&M needs a win.

Seasons that begin in the top 10 usually don't feature three-game losing streaks. But after two second-half collapses they'd rather forget, this is where the Aggies sit.

"If you start looking at what-ifs, it becomes overwhelming and you start to fall apart," Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman told reporters this week. "But you have to have the maturity and the focus to fix what you can fix at that second, and not worry about what-ifs. You can’t play with what-ifs, you have to play with what is, right now."

And what is right now? A trip to Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas. The Aggies won in West Texas in 2009, but before that, hadn't won in Lubbock since 1993.

That stretch of seven games included losses by 28, 39 and 31 points, as well as a shutout loss.

The good news for A&M? Despite the second-half breakdowns, it still has a team capable of making those past struggles an afterthought.

"Both games we should have won, but for whatever reason we didn’t. We have no one to blame but ourselves. It’s nothing that any of our opponents did to us. We didn’t win," said defensive end Tony Jerod-Eddie.

Said quarterback Ryan Tannehill: "We are so close. Things haven’t worked out. We haven’t capitalized on our opportunities. We haven’t gotten the lucky bounce we need to get. The ball they fumbled into the end zone and ended up recovering, if it bounces to the left or the right, we recover it and the game is totally different. But that’s part of football, sometimes the ball bounces your way and sometimes it doesn’t."

Fixing that has to start with the defense.

A unit that ranked among the Big 12's best a season ago has slipped to the nation's worst pass defense in two weeks. With Seth Doege quarterbacking a business as usual offense at Texas Tech, rewriting Texas A&M's history in Lubbock will require a better night from the secondary. The Red Raiders rank ninth nationally in pass offense and would love for those numbers to improve.

"Their confidence is probably hit a little bit," said defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter. "As we showed them the bad plays we had from Saturday -- and there were way too many of those -- we showed them the things we did as good as any defense I’ve been a part of. Our challenge to them is, who are we guys? Are we this team that busts these coverages, or don’t read routes, and are playing soft, and we don’t get lined up? Or are we this defense that gets after a really, really good offense in Arkansas?"

Q&A: Texas A&M receiver Jeff Fuller

September, 23, 2011
9/23/11
9:30
AM CT
We spent a few minutes with No. 7 Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden on Thursday, and today, it's time for a look at the other side of Saturday's big game: No. 8 Texas A&M.

PODCAST
Landry Locker is joined by Brandon Leone of TexAgs.com to discuss No. 8 Texas A&M's upcoming game against No. 7 Oklahoma State.

Listen Listen
Aggies receiver Jeff Fuller spoke to ESPN.com for a few minutes this week.

David Ubben: What do you remember most about last year's game?

Jeff Fuller: That we lost, for sure. Last year was a tough loss with a lot of turnovers. Oklahoma State's a great team, but I feel like there's a lot of things we could have done ourselves to perfect our game dramatically so we could have less turnovers and things like that that would have given us a better chance to win the ball game.

What are you expecting from the crowd in a game like this?

Oh, man. I expect the 12th Man to be out there loud and proud like they are every game. This is the first time we've had two top 10 teams playing at Kyle Field [since 1975] and it's going to be a wonderful venue and we're just looking forward to going out there and playing my best.

What's the environment like inside the facilities in a week like this?

Everything is real tight. Every day we're in meetings and everybody is really engaged. Coach [Mike] Sherman keeps on harping on us to not beat ourselves, so it's just kind of staying on top of the little things, the details to kind of perfect everything so we'll be ready to play on Saturday.

[+] EnlargeJeff Fuller
AP Photo/David J. PhillipTexas A&M wide receiver Jeff Fuller says beating Oklahoma State "would be huge."
Is this the most experienced team you guys have had in College Station?

I think so. We came in here with Coach Sherman, all of us. Tony Jerod-Eddie, Trent Hunter, Terrance Frederick. We're all Coach Sherman's guys and he kind of brought us up in his system and I think we started like, I don't even know how many freshmen, but I know we started more freshmen than anybody in college football my sophomore year, so we were young. That class is now seniors, and those freshmen are now juniors, and it's really exciting to see guys getting better and perfect things, all the little things, all the small details to make ourselves really a complete team.

Where does that experience pay off most on the field?

It pays off everywhere. Hopefully, we'll do a little bit better job of holding on to the football, we'll do a better job of just not turning the ball over and getting those small details right. Not miss one play and just get a lot of snaps.

What do you feel like a win in this game would mean to the program and fan base?

Being 3-0 would be huge. It would be a huge victory for us. The first two games, we had Idaho and SMU, two great teams, but they were nonconference games, but this is where it really counts. We're just trying to head into this game and try to put another victory on the board.

Big 12 players of the week announced

September, 6, 2011
9/06/11
10:13
AM CT


Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III and Texas A&M defensive end Tony Jerod-Eddie took home offensive and defensive player of the week honors in the Big 12 this week.

Baylor kicker Aaron Jones and Oklahoma State kicker/punter Quinn Sharp shared the special teams award for Week 1.

Griffin III completed 21 of 27 passes for 359 yards and a career-high five touchdowns in Baylor's 50-48 upset of No. 14 TCU. It was Baylor's first win over a ranked team since 2004 and its first win over a top 15 team since 1991. Here's video with Griffin after the game.

Jerod-Eddie had just two career sacks entering this week's game against SMU. In the 46-14 win, he made three of Texas A&M's eight sacks, and finished with six tackles. Here's video with Jerod-Eddie on his thoughts about the game.

Jones made a 37-yard, game-winning field goal to beat TCU on Friday night, and took over kickoff duties in the second half for a struggling Baylor special-teams unit. TCU's average starting position on his kicks was the 18-yard line. Here's video with Jones talking about his historic kick.

Sharp does everything for Oklahoma State and did it all well in a 61-34 win over Louisiana-Lafayette. He made all four field goal attempts (46, 27, 22 and 23 yards) and made all six of his extra points. He also had punts of 48 and 52 yards on his only two attempts, and notched touchbacks on all seven of his kickoffs. He's led the nation in touchbacks the last two seasons.

Video: Texas A&M DE Tony Jerod-Eddie

September, 4, 2011
9/04/11
11:36
PM CT

David Ubben talks with Texas A&M defensive end Tony Jerod-Eddie.

Big 12 position rankings: Defensive lines

July, 21, 2011
7/21/11
11:43
AM CT
We've tackled every other spot, and now we'll wrap up out Big 12 position rankings with the defensive lines across the Big 12.

Here are the rest of the position rankings.
Now that we've finished ranking the complete units, we'll start ranking the top 10 at each position very soon leading into the 2011 season.

This is a decent position for the Big 12 this season, and the top half of the league should feel pretty good about their group. There aren't many studs in this group, but there are a whole lot of solid players.

Brad Madison
AP Photo/Pat SullivanMissouri has one of the Big 12's best pass rushers in Brad Madison.
1. Missouri -- Missouri has the Big 12's best returning pass rusher and a Defensive Player of the Year contender in Brad Madison, but its depth is what lands it on top of the list. Jacquies Smith is solid at the opposite defensive end spot, and Michael Sam and Kony Ealy provide great depth at DE. Dominique Hamilton's absence last season hurt after breaking his ankle against Oklahoma, but he's back, alongside Terrell Resonno. Sheldon Richardson, who may be transferring from junior college, is a wildcard that could be anywhere between a complete game changer, irrelevant or absent.

2. Oklahoma -- Oklahoma's defensive tackles are somewhat suspect, but the defensive end combo of Ronnell Lewis (provided he is eligible come fall camp) and Frank Alexander is on par with the best in the Big 12. Both were preseason All-Big 12 selections, but Jamarkus McFarland needs to make good on his potential. Stacy McGee and Casey Walker should both get time at the other tackle spot.

3. Texas -- Defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat is loaded with potential as the nation's former No. 1 recruit. He had a big impact early last season before being slowed by an ankle injury. Alex Okafor moved outside from defensive tackle just before spring and had five sacks in the spring game. Inside, Kheeston Randall is an All-Big 12 favorite, but Ashton Dorsey had a strong spring and could help out with Reggie Wilson opposite Randall.

4. Texas A&M -- The Aggies have one of the best linemen in the league in Tony Jerod-Eddie, but Jonathan Mathis, Eddie Brown Jr. and Ben Bass have a lot to prove around him after the loss of Lucas Patterson, who was outstanding in 2010.

5. Texas Tech -- Sam Fehoko has moved to defensive end from middle linebacker, and should provide some good speed to the front line. Scott Smith looked on his way to an All-Big 12 campaign last season, but was suspended for the remainder of the season by coach Tommy Tuberville and has yet to be officially reinstated. For now, Dartwan Bush and Aundrey Barr will help out at defensive end, outside of Donald Langley, Kerry Hyder and Pearlie Graves. The Red Raiders did snatch a big pickup from departed UNC signee Delvon Simmons, a defensive tackle that could have an impact immediately.

6. Oklahoma State -- Defensive line is the biggest weak spot for the Cowboys, who have a decent set of ends in Jamie Blatnick and former heralded recruit Richetti Jones, but an even bigger question mark at defensive tackle where Christian Littlehead and Nigel Nicholas enter fall camp as starters.

7. Kansas -- Top rusher turned defensive end Toben Opurum came on strong late last season and should be one of the most exciting Jayhawks to watch in 2011, but the rest of the line leaves a bit to be desired. Keba Agostino has the other starting spot at defensive end ahead of Pat Lewandowski, who had a great spring. Patrick Dorsey and John Williams enter fall camp as starters at defensive tackles.

8. Kansas State -- K-State recruited this position hard in its 2011 class. For now, defensive end Brandon Harold will try to bounce back from a disappointing 2010 after a promising 2009. Lance Dunbar and Taylor Martinez think this group is ranked too high, but Meshak Williams could start opposite Harold, while Ray Kibble and Raphael Guidry should be the tackles inside.

9. Baylor -- Tevin Elliott was limited this spring because of offseason shoulder surgery, and Terrance Lloyd exited spring practice as the starter, but I'd expect Elliott to regain the spot by the time the season arrives. Phil Taylor, a first-round pick, is a big loss, but Gary Mason Jr. will try to fill his spot next to Nicolas Jean-Baptiste.

10. Iowa State -- Having a pair of linebackers combine for 241 tackles is a good and bad thing. They've got outstanding linebackers, but the defensive line was the Big 12's worst last season for a unit that ranked 10th in rush defense and had just 11 sacks. That was the fewest sacks in the Big 12 and more than just three teams in all of college football. The good news is all four starters return, but for now, this is where the Cyclones start. Stephen Ruempolhamer has some promise, but Cleyon Laing, Jake McDonough and ends Patrick Neal and Roosevelt Maggitt have a lot to prove. Jacob Lattimer ran into offseason trouble, but re-appeared atop the depth chart released by the Cyclones on Wednesday.

Thoughts on the media's All-Big 12 team

July, 19, 2011
7/19/11
3:56
PM CT
The Big 12 has released its All-Big 12 preseason team as voted on by the media, including yours truly.

Here's my ballot, for reference.

And here's the preseason team, in all its glory.

OFFENSE

QB: Landry Jones, Oklahoma
RB: Cyrus Gray, Texas A&M
RB: Bryce Brown, Kansas State
RB: Roy Finch, Oklahoma
WR: Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
WR: Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma
TE: Michael Egnew, Missouri
OL: Levy Adcock, Oklahoma State
OL: Kelechi Osemele, Iowa State
C: Ben Habern, Oklahoma
OL: Lonnie Edwards, Texas Tech
OL: Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M

DEFENSE

DL: Brad Madison, Missouri
DL: Ronnell Lewis, Oklahoma
DL: Kheeston Randall, Texas
DL: Frank Alexander, Oklahoma
LB: Travis Lewis, Oklahoma
LB: Jake Knott, Iowa State
LB: Keenan Robinson, Texas
DB: Coryell Judie, Texas A&M
DB: Markelle Martin, Oklahoma State
DB: Blake Gideon, Texas
DB: Demontre Hurst, Oklahoma

SPECIALISTS

K: Grant Ressel, Missouri
P: Quinn Sharp, Oklahoma State
KR: Coryell Judie, Texas A&M
PR: Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma

AWARDS

Offensive Player of the Year: Justin Blackmon, WR, OSU

Defensive Player of the Year: Travis Lewis, LB, Oklahoma

Newcomer of the Year: Malcolm Brown, RB, Texas

Selections by team: Oklahoma (9), Oklahoma State (4), Texas A&M (4), Missouri (3), Texas (3), Iowa State (2), Kansas State (1)

And a few thoughts:
  • Generally, I agree with most of the selections. Nothing was really shocking. Brandon Weeden vs. Landry Jones is pretty close to a coin flip, and let's not act surprised that the quarterback from the bigger program got the nod. Perception is reality, even if the numbers are so, so close. Jones has the Heisman hype coming into the season, certainly more than Weeden, based on little more than the possibility his team runs the table.
  • Running back is going to get a lot of attention, but let's not get riled up. This is going to sound bad, but believe me when I say I don't mean it to: Bryce Brown's selection is more an indictment of the returning talent at running back in the Big 12 than an endorsement of the hype surrounding Brown, who isn't even the clear-cut starter at K-State just yet. Here's what I wrote when I posted my ballot earlier this month. "The second running back spot is near impossible. Just about anyone might get it on the official vote when its revealed by the Big 12. You could realistically make a convincing case for James Sims, Eric Stephens, Joe Randle, Roy Finch and even newcomers like Malcolm Brown, Bryce Brown or Oklahoma's Brandon Williams. And that's the first team!" Well, there you go. For the record, I voted for Christine Michael, and still feel good about it.
  • Finch and Brown tied for votes, giving the Big 12 three running backs. There weren't three spots on the ballot. And it also explains how Malcolm Brown got Newcomer of the Year and Bryce Brown got first-team All-Big 12 running back, despite both being newcomers. It's a little confusing, I suppose, and maybe not everyone did it, but my guess is a lot of ballots had Finch as the first-team running back and Malcolm Brown as the Newcomer of the Year. Not all that surprising.
  • I originally had Luke Joeckel on my ballot, but took him off for Missouri's Elvis Fisher. I think Joeckel will end up being better, and maybe even by the end of this year, but right now, Fisher is the better lineman, and that's how I define the ballot. Perhaps others see it differently. There's no concrete rubric for this.
  • I'm not very surprised to see Ronnell Lewis and Blake Gideon grab spots on the team, though I voted for Tony Jerod-Eddie and Trent Hunter in those spots on my ballot. Second safety and defensive line were pretty tough for me to fill out. Neither spot is very deep in this league, and both Lewis and Gideon have two of the biggest names, which matters in a media vote.
  • Quite a huge gap between Oklahoma and the rest of the league. The Sooners had a lot of guys on my ballot that were close, but five more selections than anyone else in the league? That's impressive, and if ballot deadlines had been after Jamell Fleming's reinstatement, Oklahoma might have had 10 guys on the team. My ballot had Oklahoma State leading the way with seven selections, followed by Texas A&M with six and Oklahoma with five. My ballot also only had six teams represented. The media's Bryce Brown vote put Kansas State on the board, making it seven teams represented on the official team.

Assessing the contenders: Texas A&M

July, 1, 2011
7/01/11
11:11
AM CT
Heading into the season, I see five teams in the Big 12 with a realistic chance to win the league. I'll be breaking them down in order (which won't be the same as my post-spring power rankings) of their chances to leave the season with the Big 12 title.

No. 1 on the list was the favorites: Oklahoma

Today, we take a look at my No. 2: Texas A&M.

Why the Aggies will win the Big 12

[+] EnlargeRyan Tannehill
AP Photo/Rod AydelotteQuarterback Ryan Tannehill will be crucial to Texas A&M's success in 2011.
1. They've got the most complete offense.

Center Matt Allen is the only offensive starter not returning, but the Aggies have a solid line, headlined by a maturing, but already talented pair of bookends with big potential, tackles Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews. At the skill positions, you won't find anything close to a weakness. Texas A&M returns the best running back corps in the league and maybe the best 1-2 punch in the nation with Christine Michael and Cyrus Gray. All of the team's top five receivers return, and Jeff Fuller, who chose to return for his senior season, is arguably one of the five best in the country. Ryan Tannehill doesn't have a ton of starts (six) under his belt, but he was great in a tight spot last year, and led the team in receptions his first two years on the field.

2. They're especially strong in great places on defense.

Those places: Secondary and pass-rushers. That's huge in the Big 12. New joker Damontre Moore, defensive end Tony Jerod-Eddie and linebacker Sean Porter should combine for more than 15 sacks this year and tons of quarterback pressures that could result in some big plays for another defensive strength: the secondary. All four starters return, and Terrence Frederick, Coryell Judie are experienced seniors at corner, while Trent Hunter and Steven Campbell hold down the safety spots.

3. They made it hard to win nine games last year.

Texas A&M already won a share of the Big 12 South last year, despite ranking 10th in the Big 12 in turnover margin at minus-5. Its 30 turnovers (15 INTs, 15 fumbles lost) were the most in the Big 12 and 111th most in the nation. You'd have to think that number will drop this year with Tannehill at quarterback. He struggled in the loss to LSU, throwing three interceptions, but he had just three in his six previous games at quarterback, compared to 11 touchdowns. Five of those 30 turnovers came from Jerrod Johnson in a loss to Oklahoma State, and if the Aggies take care of the ball then, or this time around, they're likely Big 12 champions.

Why the Aggies won't win the Big 12

1. The defensive losses will be too much.

Damontre Moore should slide in and replace Von Miller. I'd expect him to do well, but what about middle linebacker? Michael Hodges was the heart of the defense in 2010 and its leading tackler. When a knee injury forced him out of the Cotton Bowl against LSU, the Tigers gashed the Aggies' defense, which for the few weeks to end the season, looked like one of the Big 12's best and topped the league in rush defense. Hodges is gone for good now, and the Aggies left spring without a solid replacement. For now, it looks like Jonathan Stewart will slide in, but it could end up being true freshman Donnie Baggs. Either way, A&M won't be as strong there, and teams that can run the ball (i.e., OSU, OU) may take advantage. Lucas Patterson is the only other loss on the defensive side of the ball, but my money is on Hodges being missed the most on the field, even though Miller was the No. 2 pick in the NFL draft.

2. They have to travel to Norman.

Texas A&M has been outscored 107-24 in its last two trips to Norman, and Les Miles at Oklahoma State in 2001 is the only Big 12 coach to ever beat Bob Stoops at Owen Field. The odds are definitely against Mike Sherman becoming the second. The Aggies knocked off Oklahoma in College Station last year, but did it largely on the strength of the linebackers, and Hodges and Miller, who helped orchestrate those three goal-line stops to beat the Sooners, are gone.

3. Hype and the Aggies are not happy bedfellows.

Texas A&M looked like a possible Big 12 South contender last year, but the Aggies lost all three of their first real tests, and nearly lost to Florida International in College Station, erasing a 21-7 fourth-quarter deficit to avoid embarrassment. After being written off by most, they rallied for a share of the Big 12 South, but this year, the attention is back on the Aggies, who will likely be toting a top-15 ranking into the preseason. How will the team handle big games early in the season against Oklahoma State and an early trip to Lubbock before the showdown in Norman? Their recent history suggests "not well."

Opening spring camp: Texas A&M

March, 22, 2011
3/22/11
10:28
AM CT
Schedule: Texas A&M opens spring practice today and will close with its spring game on April 16. Selected practices are open to fans and media. Here's the schedule.

What’s new: Not very much, and that's a good thing for Texas A&M's immediate future. Defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter is back for a second year after being heavily pursued by Tulsa in the offseason following his re-establishment of the Wrecking Crew in 2010. The Aggies bring back nine offensive starters, eight defensive starters and two special-teamers from a team that won nine games in 2010. That's the most in the Big 12.

On the mend: Running back Christine Michael is expected to return in the spring after breaking his tibia in the middle of his sophomore season last year. After his injury, Cyrus Gray emerged with seven consecutive games of at least 100 yards, but getting both Michael and Gray on the field is a big help for the Aggies offense. Cornerbacks Terrance Frederick and Coryell Judie will be held out of the spring with injuries, but should be healed up by summer.

On the move: Damontre Moore played plenty of the Joker position last season, especially when Von Miller was slowed by an ankle injury early in the season. He's likely to slide into the same spot, but the coaching staff is open to moving him to a more traditional defensive end spot if the rising sophomore's frame fills out past the 6-foot-4, 248 pounds he played at during his freshman year in 2010. Lucas Patterson is gone, so if necessary, there's a hole at defensive end for Moore to fill. This spring will be a critical period in deciding his future role on the defense. Wherever he plays, he's likely to be a big piece of the Wrecking Crew.

New faces: Quarterback Johnny Manziel is on campus, but early on, he might play a bit of receiver like the Aggies' starting quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, used to. Linebacker Donnie Baggs and offensive lineman Joseph Cheek have also enrolled early.

Breaking out: Linebacker Sean Porter was overshadowed by a pair of stars at linebacker in Michael Hodges and Miller last season, but he could become one of the leaders of the Wrecking Crew this spring and a star himself. The junior outside linebacker could be a household name soon.

Don’t forget about: Defensive lineman Tony Jerod-Eddie. He suffered a broken foot last season against Texas and missed the rest of that game, but he should be back for a big senior season this year.

All eyes on: Tannehill. He took over as the starter midway through last season and was a big reason behind the Aggies' six-game winning streak to close conference play. All of his top targets are back, but he needs to grab a hold of the offense this spring. It will get more difficult next season for Tannehill as teams collect more tape and learn his tendencies. He already knows the offense as well as anyone, but making sure running it is second nature will be integral to making sure his late-season success last year continues into 2011. He'll get a chance to shore up his timing and chemistry this spring.

Cotton Bowl locals: Cyrus Gray leads

January, 7, 2011
1/07/11
11:31
PM CT
The 75th Cotton Bowl between Texas A&M and LSU featured quite a few Dallas-Fort Worth area high school products. Here's how they fared:

TEXAS A&M AGGIES

RB Cyrus Gray (DeSoto): 20 carries for 100 yards (7th straight game 100+). Also completed a 14-yard pass and caught another for 9 yards. With 109 total yards, Gray became the second player in A&M history to surpass 5,000 yards in career all-purpose yardage (5,023) -- joining Darren Lewis (5,138 yards from 1987-90).

WR Jeff Fuller (McKinney Boyd): 7 catches for 83 yards. Finished tied with Ryan Swope for the team lead with a school-record 72 receptions this season. He also surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for the season -- the first in Texas A&M history.

WR Uzoma Nwachukwu (Allen): 4 catches for 38 yards, 2 TDs.

TE Hutson Prioleau (FW All Saints): 1 catch for 0 yards.

LB Von Miller (DeSoto): 6.5 total sackles, 1 sack, 3 tackles for loss.

LB Garrick Williams (DeSoto): 10.5 total tackles.

DE Tony Jerod-Eddie (DeSoto): 1.5 total tackles.

DB Steven Terrell (Allen): 2 total tackles.

LSU TIGERS

CB Ron Brooks (Irv. MacArthur):
4 total tackles, 1 tackle for loss.

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