Chat with Sam Khan
Welcome to GigEmNation! On Friday, reporter Sam Khan Jr. stops by to chat about the state of Texas A&M football.
Khan joined ESPN.com in 2012 after nearly seven years with the Houston Chronicle, covering the University of Houston, college sports and high school sports. Khan lives in Houston with his wife.
Send your questions now and join Khan Friday at 4 p.m. ET!
Sam Khan Jr. (4:02 PM)
Hello everyone and happy Friday. Thanks for joining. Let's get right to it.
Josh (DFW) [via mobile]
Chances the Ags pull off the upset tomorrow? If they play all out for all 4 quarters (especially the D), keep their foot on the gas, and play relatively mistake-free football, I like their chances. But, then again, I'm pretty sure I'm beyond drunk on maroon kool-aid.
Sam Khan Jr. (4:06 PM)
The key term in your prediction is "mistake-free." That's what they have to be. They could have beaten LSU if not for the turnovers. In some instances, LSU had something to do with that, but there were also some unforced errors by the Aggies. I think they have a decent chance. If I was putting an arbitrary number on it, I'd say 35 percent. They have to be able to run the football, hit some pass plays downfield and not turn it over. On the flip side, they'll have to be like they have been all year on third down and get off the field and that means that defensive front is going to have to shoot the gaps and not let the Alabama O-line dominate. But I wouldn't rule out their chances. The Aggies are a pretty good team.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What is the Coldest College Football Game that Texas A&M will play this season?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:08 PM)
Chris, I think the Ole Miss game in Oxford was the coldest to date. (According to the box score, the game-time temperature was 55). It's not supposed to be cold in Tuscaloosa (mid-70s), so I guess it just depends if the temperature dips in College Station for their last two home games. Maybe the Missouri game on Nov. 24 will be in the 40s or 50s, but I wouldn't be shocked if it wasn't.
Will it be more crucial for our defense or our offense to play better tomorrow?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:10 PM)
Defense. If the Aggies can't get stops on defense, especially in the run game, it won't matter how good their offense is because the Crimson Tide will control the clock and keep Texas A&M off the field. I don't think there's any doubt Alabama would like to have a few long drives.
Will (Poth, Texas)
Howdy and good afternoon Mr. Khan. Do you know how we stand with Ricky Seal-Jones, Makensie Alexander, Kameron Miles, and Isaac Savaiinaea? I heard we are top 2 for Makensie and that would be a HUGE pick up for us along with the other three. Also any news on Mike Mitchell and Justin Manning?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:14 PM)
Howdy and good afternoon to you too, Will. Aggies are in the top two for Ricky Seals-Jones and Isaac Savaiinaea (Savaiinaea decommitted last night and indicated the Aggies and UCLA are his top two). The Aggies are in Justin Manning's top three with Oklahoma and TCU. LSU is no longer an option for him as of last weekend. Mike Mitchell has the Aggies in his top four with Ohio State, Oregon and Oklahoma. As for Alexander, he's a challenge to get to talk (when I reached out to him in recent weeks, he said he "doesn't do interviews" though I know he has before. It's real hit or miss), but I believe another site quoted him as saying he enjoyed his visit to Aggieland.
What's the story on Derrick Griffin? Is he a solid commit, or is his recruitment still pretty open & if so, how likely is he to end up here?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:15 PM)
I would probably consider Griffin a soft verbal. He has told me several times that he's keeping his options open (most recently said he was looking at LSU and Alabama), but that he's still committed to Texas A&M. I know he likes the coaches on both the football and basketball staffs. I think when signing day arrives, he'll sign with the Aggies. But he's not a 100-percent lock at this point.
K.Skates (Austin, Tx)
How is the 2013 recruiting class looking?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:17 PM)
Large. 29 commitments so far and the Aggies are still chasing a few big names. At RecruitingNation we have the Aggies' class ranked No. 12 in the country right now. If they land one of the big fish they're still aiming for, like RSJ or Manning or MItchell, I wouldn't be surprised to see the class jump into the top 10.
Nathan Wade (Houston Texas)
whos the next big recruit to commit? RSJ? Justin Manning? Mike mitchell?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:18 PM)
If you're choosing from those three names, my guess would be RSJ. He said he's going to wait until after his high school season is over before making a decision, but I think he'll end up with the Aggies when it's all said and done.
Hi Sam, love the blog. What are the odds that our two junior tackles come back for their senior season? Heard anything about them or Moore on defense?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:22 PM)
Hey Dustin, and thanks for reading. There hasn't been much in terms of rumblings about any of those guys leaving, but if either of the tackles is projected to be a top-15 pick, I wouldn't be shocked to see them go. My gut tells me that Jake Matthews would come back for one more year. Luke Joeckel could probably go either way, but that's just a guess on my part. With Damontre Moore on defense, I think if he keeps up his level of play through this weekend and the end of the season, I think it will be hard for him not to go. I see some projections, including our own draft experts, pegging him as a first-round pick right now if he were to leave. I think if all three are projected in the top 20, there's a good chance all three go. The only thing I could think that might keep it from happening in that regard is if the Aggies think they have a real shot at a BCS title next year if they were to stay together.
Even if Derrick Griffin signs with A&M what are the chances he actually qualifies and makes it to campus?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:23 PM)
That's something we probably won't know until next summer. When I last talked to him he said he was doing good, but coming into the year he had a lot of work to do. I don't think the chances are high, but you never know.
Garrett (College Station)
Outside of Johnny, who will need to have a big game for the Ags to pull off the upset?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:26 PM)
I think the interior offensive linemen: Patrick Lewis, Jarvis Harrison and Cedric Ogbuehi. The Aggies have to be able to run the ball to keep the Crimson Tide honest. They don't have to be great and run for 200 yards necessarily, but enough to where they can move the chains and keep the offense going. The Tide defensive line is big and strong and it's going to be up to those guys to win some battles up front and help find some running room for Ben Malena and Christine Michael.
Do you see any of the current recruits decommiting or do you see this class for the most part staying together?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:28 PM)
Other than Derrick Griffin, I haven't gotten the vibe that any of the other commits are really on the fence or not strong in their commitments, but any time you have a class this large, I think the chance is always there. I wouldn't be shocked to see them lose one or two before signing day, especially if they add some of the big fish they're still trying to get.
Any idea where we stand with JUCO DE Za'Darius Smith? With the threat of Damontre leaving for the draft he would be a huge get
Sam Khan Jr. (4:32 PM)
The Aggies are going to get an official visit from Smith (it was originally scheduled for the LSU game but got moved to the end of the season) so they definitely have a shot. Florida State and Mississippi State are also teams that have offered him that are in the mix and he'll probably make a decision after taking those visits. But I think the Aggies have a decent shot.
Raif (College Station)
Why doesn't Johnny get more run in the Heisman talk? He is the most exciting player in the country and is putting up stats better than most of the other competition in the SEC no less.
Sam Khan Jr. (4:34 PM)
Raif, probably because he doesn't have a signature win yet. He has some great plays and some amazing statistics but against the Aggies two toughest opponents (Florida and LSU) that didn't happen and the team lost both games. Wins, and more importantly signature wins, matter. The way he can get more run is to beat Alabama this week and have a good game in the process. If that were to happen, he'd probably be at or near the top of the conversation.
With all of the inside linebackers we have recruited so far, who is going to end up where position wise and what will happen if Isaac Savaiinaes or Mike Mitchell to our line backer class?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:38 PM)
Blaine, I think it's a little early to know where all of those guys will end up, because I'm guessing not every inside linebacker recruited will end up as a middle linebacker, since that's the only inside linebacker in the Aggies' 4-3 defense. Right now, they have four inside linebackers committed: Brett Wade, Reggie Chevis, Darian Claiborne and Edward Williams. Of those guys, my guess is Claiborne and Williams would be the most likely to play outside with Chevis and Wade probably staying inside. Savaiinaea is an inside linebacker and Mitchell is an outside linebacker, though I think Mitchell would be athletic enough to play another position entirely if he wanted.
Any news on Damontre Moore's cousin Kameron Miles and where he stands?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:39 PM)
Ronnie, Miles likes what he's seen from the Aggies this season. Right now he's still committed to Tennessee, but he is going to take a visit to Texas A&M after his high school season is over. You have to think the Aggies have a good chance here. If there's a coaching change at Tennessee, Miles said that it would affect his commitment status. So keep an eye on that.
What do you think the odds are that Miami will draft Ryan Swope or any other Aggies? Aggie Dream Team under Sherman!
Sam Khan Jr. (4:41 PM)
Haha. Ben, I think if Swope is hanging around in the later rounds, I wouldn't be shocked at all to see the Dolphins draft him. He's a quality football player and Sherman probably knows that as well as anybody. Sherman isn't the GM though, so it's not like he can call all the shots during the draft. But I wouldn't be shocked if something like that happened, especially if they deem him a good fit for that team.
Billy Basketball (Florida)
Any word on injuries? T-Will?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:42 PM)
I haven't heard that anybody significant will be unavailable. I'd expect Mike Evans and Trey Williams to be out there.
Pops (College Station, TX)
Our scout team RB's (Brandon Williams and Tra Carson) are similar in build and style to Bama's Yeldon and Lacy. Do you think that could be an advantage getting ready for Bama's rushing attack?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:44 PM)
Pops, I don't know if it would be an "advantage" per se, but it definitely helps. Both were big-time recruits coming out of high school and are clearly talented guys. I'm sure it helps having guys of that talent level on your scout team because not everyone does.
Just Think (dfw)
Imagine if we had Seal-Jones, Griffin, Thomas Johnson, & Mike Evans, could anyone defend us especially with trey and brandon williams and tra carson in the back field with Johnny Footbal
Sam Khan Jr. (4:45 PM)
Fun to think about for Aggies fans, isn't it? Think of it this way: if they land RSJ and Griffin, you'll have one of the tallest receiving corps. in the nation (throw the 6-2 Kyrion Parker in that equation too).
What did the recruits that you have talked to think of the black unis
Sam Khan Jr. (4:47 PM)
The reviews I heard were pretty much all positive. Recruits like different uniform combinations and I think black uniforms are pretty popular. I know I liked them and I'm not young enough to be cool anymore.
Do you think its a telling sign that Savaiinaea decommited from Stanford the week after he visited UCLA?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:50 PM)
Daniel, I think UCLA fans can take it as a positive, but I don't know if it's necessarily a sign that he's going to commit to UCLA. Savaiinaea has been pretty up front about his thoughts throughout this entire process. The visit experience for him at both A&M and UCLA was better than Stanford and I think he just figured that both of those schools give him what he's looking for and he decided there's no sense in leaving Stanford hanging any longer. But it's definitely a good sign for UCLA, because before that trip, I would have thought the Aggies were the team he'd end up with if he decommitted from Stanford. Now, I truly think it's a tossup.
How many big time recruits do you think we can convince to come to Aggieland if we win tomorrow?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:52 PM)
Garett, I don't think recruits necessarily make decisions based on a team winning or losing a single game. That being said, an A&M win would go a long way in changing the way the public (recruits included) perceive the Aggies. It would send a message that they're immediate contenders now and potential SEC champions in years to come. That would be huge in recruiting.
How do you think this recruting class end up shaking out when its all said and done decommits and commits still to come?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:55 PM)
I think it'll be a top-10 class because I think they'll land at least one of the big fish they're still chasing.
What happens to the extra recruits because isnt there alimit on the number you can recruit in the SEC
Sam Khan Jr. (4:59 PM)
Several of the commits will count back toward last year's total if they enroll by December. So 25 spring enrollees can be signed and the rest have to be mid-term signees that enroll early (which several current commits will). They signed 19 last year so they can add up to six mid-term guys (unless the one 2012 non-qualifier doesn't count, in which case it would be seven).
How do the Aggies win tomorrow in your opinion?
Sam Khan Jr. (5:01 PM)
Take care of the football. Run the football effectively. Get off the field on third down defensively. Start fast offensively and hit a few big plays down the field in the passing game.
Sam Khan Jr. (5:02 PM)
Alright gang, that'll just about do it for today. Thanks for joining the chat, extra thanks for those who sent in a question. Take care and have a great weekend!