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Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Offseason spotlight: Texas A&M

By Chris Low

As we welcome Texas A&M to the league, the offseason spotlight today shines on the Aggies:

Spotlight: Running back Christine Michael, 5-foot-11, 213 pounds, rising senior

2011 summary: Michael teamed with Cyrus Gray to give the Aggies one of the best one-two punches in the country at running back. Michael rushed for 899 yards on 149 carries. He scored nine touchdowns and averaged 6 yards per carry. He had his season cut short when he tore his ACL against Oklahoma on Nov. 5 in the Aggies' ninth game.

The skinny: In each of the past two seasons, Michael was well on his way to reaching the 1,000-yard plateau. An ACL tear derailed him last season; in 2010 it was a broken leg. With Gray departing, the Aggies will need Michael more than ever for an entire season in 2012. He'll no doubt be very limited this spring, but it's still an important offseason for him in terms of building back the strength in that knee, not to mention getting over the mental anguish of being injured two seasons in a row. Physically, Michael is exactly what you're looking for in any offense. He's a punishing runner who can move the chains and also pick up yards in chunks. First-year coach Kevin Sumlin is obviously going to put his stamp on the offense, but he's going to need a healthy Michael — and a willing Michael from a leadership standpoint — during this transition. There's always a bit of a learning curve when you change coaches. Throw in the fact that Texas A&M is also jumping to the SEC, and it's going to be more paramount than ever that the Aggies' best players play their best in 2012. Michael will be at the top of that list.