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Checking in from Texas A&M

8/10/2015

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- While everyone else in the SEC opened training camp last week, Texas A&M is just getting started. The Aggies reported for training camp on Sunday and held their first practice of camp on Monday evening in an effort to avoid the worst of the triple-digit heat beating down in Texas.

There were several new faces, most notably on the coaching staff (defensive coordinator John Chavis, receivers coach Aaron Moorehead and offensive line coach Dave Christensen), in the backfield (quarterback Kyler Murray) and on the defensive line (defensive tackle Daylon Mack). With eight starters back on offense and eight on defense there is plenty of intrigue in Aggieland as Texas A&M embarks on its fourth SEC campaign.

Among Monday's high points:

  • Everyone wants to know about the quarterbacks so head coach Kevin Sumlin addressed them right off the bat. All three competing quarterbacks (sophomore Kyle Allen, true freshman Kyler Murray and junior college transfer Jake Hubenak) got turns at 7-on-7 and 11-on-11. "Obviously Kyle came back doing things well," Sumlin said. "Kyler has picked it up really well. Jake, I think he benefits from being at Oklahoma State a little bit (where Hubenak walked on in 2013), just from a structural standpoint, he understands it. Those guys came in and really didn't make too many mistakes from an operational standpoint, if any. The competition is pretty good." Allen returns after starting five games last season, winning three and earning offensive MVP honors at the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. Murray was one of the most anticipated Aggie recruits in recent memory after going 42-0 and winning three state championships at the highest classification in Texas high school football at Allen (Texas) High School and Hubenak transferred from Blinn, where he spent the 2014 season.

  • In addition to Murray, five-star defensive tackle Daylon Mack was also one of the most celebrated recruits in the Aggies' 2015 recruiting class and on Monday he looked every bit of the 335 pounds he is listed at on the official Texas A&M roster. The 6-foot-1 East Texas product actually lost weight in the summer, according to Sumlin. "He's going to get mad at me [for saying this] but the first couple days he was here I don't even think the scale worked [when he stepped on it]," Sumlin said with a smile. "Then it was 350. He enjoyed recruiting, I'll put it that way. So we sat down and talked to him ... from a nutritional standpoint, he changed his diet a little bit and I think he lost between 12-15 pounds. That's what the summer [strength and conditioning] program does for you." Sumlin said Mack played at around 325 or 330 pounds at Gladewater High School and the coaching staff is hopeful Mack is right around 330 come Sept. 5 when the Aggies host Arizona State at NRG Stadium in Houston. "It's 105 degrees out there. He'll probably be around 330 by the first game; that's realistic," Sumlin said. "He's moving around well."

  • Quick personnel notes: The Aggies opened up camp without true freshman running back Jay Bradford. The 2015 recruit, who signed in February, is dealing with an undisclosed medical situation. Sumlin said "Health is more important than football." The team released a statement earlier in the day noting that Bradford would not be on the 105-man roster for training camp. ... Sophomore defensive end Darrell Jackson, who played sparingly last season after transferring from Blinn College, is "undergoing a medical evaluation" according to Sumlin. Jackson is not currently listed on the roster. He had seven tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss in five games in 2014.

  • The quote of the day from Sumlin came on a non-football topic. Asked if he watched the CBS reality show "Big Brother" where former Texas A&M safety Clay Honeycutt was a contestant, Sumlin admitted he did catch one episode."You know I tried to watch it one night," Sumlin said. "They had some kind of crazy deal going where they were pouring stuff in a jug and you had to remember the sequence ... and if you poured it in the wrong sequence it blew up in your face. That's about all I saw, besides people knocking on the door and they open it and he's in bed with some woman. So other than that, I don't know what happened."