Losing Luke Joeckel early to the NFL draft was a blow for Texas A&M, but it shouldn't have come as a huge surprise. He's probably going to be a top 5 pick.
Softening that blow was the news Thursday that the Aggies won't be losing both of their star offensive tackles. Jake Matthews announced that he's returning to school for his senior season and will move from right to left tackle.
Matthews' return is a real coup for the Aggies, who once again should be one of the top offenses in the SEC. Heisman Trophy quarterback Johnny Manziel is back along with the Aggies' leading receiver, Mike Evans, not to mention former Oklahoma running back Brandon Williams, who will be eligible next season after sitting out in 2012.
Explosive skill players are nice, but there's no substitute in the SEC for being able to plug in someone with Matthews' talent and experience at that all-important left tackle spot. The 6-foot-5, 305-pound Matthews was being projected by some as a first-round pick, but he said the chance to play with his younger brother, Mike, next season at Texas A&M was a big factor in his returning to school.
Matthews has made 33 straight starts on Texas A&M's offensive line and will enter next season as one of the top offensive linemen in college football.