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. (4:01 PM)
Hey everyone, hope you are all doing well on this Friday afternoon. Thanks for stopping by to join the chat. Let's talk some Aggies football and recruiting. Fire away!
what weakness can alabama exploit to beat a&m on sept 14 also what weakness can a
Sam Khan Jr. (4:05 PM)
Steve, while it's a bit early to be predicting games, the areas of concern for the Aggies are going to be at linebacker, defensive line (depth) and receiver (youth/inexperience). I think the area I could see being impactful for Alabama against Texas A&M is in the running game. Last year, Damontre Moore was pretty solid against the run at his DE spot; this year, we don't know who that player is yet. It could be one of the Taylor twins, Tyrell or Tyrone Taylor, but both are thin, so their ability to support against the run could be a concern (they're both athletic pass rushers). That would be the first spot I'd look at. And of course, at linebacker there's some youth and inexperience since two senior leaders are gone. I think your other question might have been what weaknesses will Alabama have that the Aggies can exploit? There's no doubt that the Aggies offensive tempo bothered Alabama. If they can still operate that no-huddle as fast or faster than they did last year, it will give the Crimson Tide trouble because it's so hard to simulate.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What Texas A&M Aggies that were selected in the 2013 NFL Draft will be great in the NFL in 2013?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:07 PM)
Chris, I think you could see Luke Joeckel step in and be good pretty quickly. After going against big time pass rushers in the SEC, I think he's as NFL ready as anybody.
Biggest surprise of the spring?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:09 PM)
That we don't have finalized plans on a Waffle House College Station location yet. In all seriousness, I think the biggest surprise of the spring, in my eyes, was how quickly Nate Askew adapted to the linebacker position. He made some real progress it seemed and I think it's logical to think he's going to be a contributor this fall. Also, I think Floyd Raven's quick progress at safety was a minor surprise. He has ability, and it looks like he came along real well.
Who is the SEC Favorite this year?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:10 PM)
Alabama. Until somebody knocks off the champs, they're the team to beat.
Without Luke, will Texas A@M'S offensive line be as strong as last year's?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:13 PM)
I think it will take some time before they are that good. However, I think by year's end, the dropoff won't be very noticeable. Jake Matthews will make a great left tackle in my opinion and I think Cedric Ogbuehi has a lot of ability, so he could develop into a star at right tackle. And Mike Matthews at center will also be pretty good, I think. Jarvis Harrison is the lone player in the same position he was last year, so it stands to reason that he'll be better. The wild card is probably redshirt freshman Germain Ifedi. But playing right guard with his size (330+) should be just fine for the Aggies.
Martin (New Orleans)
Who is the best team in texas?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:15 PM)
Probably Texas A&M. The Aggies had the best season of any team in the state last year and they return the Heisman Trophy winner. They certainly have some areas that will need to improve because of graduation losses, etc., but if you were ranking the Texas FBS teams today, I'd vote the Aggies No. 1.
Martin (New Orleans)
Who is the best player, in your opinion in Texas A@M's Class?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:19 PM)
If you're talking the 2013 recruiting class, the one that is signed already, I'll trust our scouts and say either Ricky Seals-Jones or Sebastian LaRue. Both are dynamic talents that the Aggies will plug in at receiver. RSJ has great size and athleticism and pretty good speed. LaRue is a burner who is agile and can make big time plays in space. He could plug into the slot or be a factor in the return game. If you're talking the 2014 class? I like La Porte LB Hoza Scott. Big time pass rusher, hard hitter, physical player and good speed for a linebacker.
Frank (New Orleans)
Any players emerging to replace guys like Demontre Moore and Sean Porter?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:22 PM)
Tyrell Taylor and Tyrone Taylor got the majority of the reps at Moore's old rush end spot. I think both have the potential to be quality pass rushers because they're athletic and quick. They are a little on the thin side, at least by SEC power-program standards, so it'll be interesting to see how they continue to develop physically. Porter's old spot will likely be manned by junior college linebacker transfer Tommy Sanders. He has a lot of ability and can make plays. He'll be an impact player for the Aggies this fall in my opinion. Good speed and a good tackler.
Which of the non early enrolled freshmen has the biggest impact next year?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:24 PM)
My guess is one of the two defensive tackles Isaiah Golden or Justin Manning. The Aggies were thin thin thin up front this spring (in part because of injuries) but they need all the depth they can get. I could see either of those guys in the two deep and getting into the rotation if they make quick progress this summer. I wouldn't be shocked to see any of these three offensive skill guys get on the field quickly either: LaQuvionte Gonzalez, Ricky Seals-Jones, Sebastian LaRue. I think you could see one or two of those guys have a role this fall.
Frank (New Orleans)
How is the running game progressing? Will Manziel have to carry the same load as he did in 2012?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:26 PM)
Frank, the Aggies are loaded at running back. Ben Malena returns and so does Trey Williams. Now you add the two transfer backs who sat out last year, Brandon Williams and Tra Carson to the fold. Having all those guys means that Johnny Manziel will be able to distribute and not have to carry a huge load. That being said, some playmakers have to emerge at receiver to replace a guy like Ryan Swope. But the running game should be fine. Both Williamses appear to have star potential. Carson's a bigger, between-the-tackles type who is also a good receiver and Malena just gets the job done, period. Was good last year and is good in pass protection too.
Is A&M looking at the OL kid from Hebron Zach (opps cant remember last name) I have been reading about how well he has done at camps and he has like offers from all over
Sam Khan Jr. (4:27 PM)
Zach Rogers from Lewisville Hebron. He's a class of 2015 recruit. He's definitely on the Aggies radar. I got to see him at the Nike Football Training Camp in the Dallas area and I have to say, I can see why colleges like him so much. He's a really, really good guard.
Austin (Anywhere but Austin)
Looking good on Brandon Harris?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:29 PM)
I think so, yeah. He's pretty interested in the Aggies. They like him too, but so do a lot of other schools. Ohio State offered this week, so did Auburn and Mississippi State. Nebraska already has...he has double digit offers. But when he makes his top five after his spring football is complete, I'm confident Texas A&M will be in it.
Joel (Shreveport )
Do you think A&M can maintain their momentum to consistently fill a 102,500 seat stadium and be a top team in the SEX?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:32 PM)
Oh that pesky 'X' key is right next to the 'C.' Don't worry, I know what you meant, SEC. Joel that's a great question. The only way I know for sure they can consistently fill it is if they continue to win. The Aggies are pretty good about supporting the program regardless, but filling an 80K stadium and a 100K stadium are different animals. The advantage A&M has in filling the stadium is that they have so many students attending (30K) and I don't think that will change at all. If the Aggies can get to perennial top-15 team status, then yes I think they can. If the next 10 years are like the last 10, then you might see some empties.
Smoothered, covered, chunked, topped, diced, peppered, capped or scattered all the way?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:33 PM)
Peppered baby. I like my food hot.
Ok Hebron thats the same school as Jamal Adams maybe staff will get a look at him while seeing Adams
Sam Khan Jr. (4:34 PM)
Who will be the highest picked Texas A@M player in the 2014 Draft?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:35 PM)
Jake Matthews. He would have probably been a first round pick had he come out this year. Give him a year to work at left tackle and I think he'll excel and see his stock rise. Wouldn't be shocked if he was top-10 pick next year.
Who is your favorite TexAgs poster, I know you lurk. Also what is your TexAgs user name?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:37 PM)
Cuppycup without a doubt. GIFs FTW! I also met him (same guy behind the Twitter account, obviously) and he's a great guy. And I do lurk occasionally, but I don't post at all. Never have and probably never will. Posting on forums has never really been a thing for me.
Brandon Harris, looks like his skill set is off the charts, wouldn't be surprised to see a five star rating for him before recruiting ends. Thoughts?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:40 PM)
I know Trent Dilfer liked him a lot when he watched Harris' film and he got to see him live at Elite 11 in Allen, Texas last month. As for five-star status, I can't really speak for our scouts and I know they're very picky about five-stars. They only gave out 10 in the initial ESPN 150. But I do think he'll move up the rankings. He's a talented quarterback with size and tools and he's as smart as they come.
does johnny stay or go after next season?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:41 PM)
If he gets a first-round grade from the NFL when he submits for an evaluation after this season, I think he goes. Strike while the iron's hot, you know? That's just a hunch.
What type of season do you see JFF having in 2013? Will he try to impress the NFL by staying in the pocket longer and throwing the ball downfield?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:43 PM)
I don't think he'll do that simply to impress NFL scouts -- he'll do that because it will be better for the Aggies and this offense if he becomes more proficient in the pocket. Is he still going to run? Absolutely. But the more hits he takes, the more of a chance you have of losing him. So the better he gets as a pocket passer, the more dangerous the offense becomes because then he won't have to scramble every time he tries to make a big offensive pass play. Also, year two in this particular offense is when a quarterback really takes off. See: Case Keenum, Geno Smith, etc. His grasp of it will be better and the Aggies will be better for it. So yeah, he'll do it, but not necessarily just to impress NFL scouts.
If the Aggies ever changed their name, what would want it to be? (I would like the laser dinosaurs)
Sam Khan Jr. (4:45 PM)
The Sandcrabs. It's one of my favorite nicknames. It belongs to Calhoun High down in Port Lavaca, Texas.
Kevin Hart (Houston)
Who do you think is the next person to commit to the Aggies!
Sam Khan Jr. (4:46 PM)
I'll go with Jarrett Johnson, the DE from Katy Seven Lakes. I know he's pumping the brakes for now but I still think he'll commit to Texas A&M.
Kevin Hart (Houston)
Was I your favorite poster on TexAgs before I caught the banhammer?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:47 PM)
You got banned? Tsk, tsk.
Billy Luicci (College Station)
How can I improve as a recruiting expert?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:48 PM)
Very funny. Points off for misspelling Liucci, haha.
Joel (Shreveport )
What are the chances Sumlin leaves for a better job in the next 3-4 years?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:53 PM)
That's a great question and I think it's one of the hardest ones to answer. In 3-4 years, how many jobs will be better than Texas A&M if the Aggies continue to win? They're going to have one of the best stadiums, they already have one of the best weight rooms, so facilities are there. Recruiting base is there (Houston, Dallas, East Texas, etc.). Texas is a nice place to live and while it can get hot, the weather is decent in the non-summer months. And he's already getting paid big money ($3.1 million). As long as he's well compensated and the Aggies are winning, there are only a handful of other jobs that you'd think about, maybe places like Alabama or Ohio State where they have bigger budgets. The question is, does he have NFL aspirations? I don't know if he does. My gut feeling is that he's happy being a college coach and that he could be in Aggieland for awhile.
Can Showers beat out JF for the starting role?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:55 PM)
Jameill Showers transferred to UTEP. He'll spend his final two seasons in El Paso.
Sam, you do a great job of covering the team on here. Are there any plans for expanding the Gig 'Em nation site any time soon to the size of some of the other nation sites on here?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:58 PM)
Trace, thanks for the kind words and for your readership. It is tremendously appreciated. To answer your question, I don't know because those decisions are made way above my pay grade. If the bosses were to decide to add another person, I'd be thrilled to have the help, but I'm not aware of any plans to expand at this moment.
Tim (3rd Coast)
What are the chances the Aggies get on the board for 2015 this summer? Also, where do they stand with Gerald Willis and Speedy Noil? Any news on Myles Garrett?
Sam Khan Jr. (5:03 PM)
Tim they almost got on the board with Daylon Mack, the 2015 defensive tackle from Gladewater, Texas, until Alabama offered him. That led him to pump the brakes. Aside from Mack, who now says he'll probably wait until after his junior season completes before committing somewhere, there's nobody on the 2015 offer list that I would be confident in saying is going to commit by this summer. I wouldn't be surprised if the Aggies picked one up, but right now I wouldn't project anybody in particular. As for Willis and Noil, the Aggies are in their top group (Willis has the Aggies in his top three, Noil has the Aggies in his top four). No real big news on Garrett. He'll spend the summer making lots of trips. He visited Texas Tech last week and I think the earliest you could see him making a decision would be the end of the summer or around the start of his senior season. That's my assumption based my last conversation with him. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if he waited until January for an All-American game or something like that.
Thoughts on backup QB? Pretty scary not having a proven backup.
Sam Khan Jr. (5:05 PM)
The battle for the backup job will continue into the fall between Matt Joeckel and Matt Davis. Just based on what I saw and how reps were distributed during scrimmages, I think Joeckel has the edge now, but I think Davis has the better upside because of his mobility. They'll probably battle it out in the fall and that's also when Southlake Carroll 2013 QB signee Kenny Hill arrives. He'll be in the mix as well and I wouldn't count him out at all.
Sam Khan Jr. (5:06 PM)
Alright everyone, that will about do it for this week's chat. Thanks as always for joining me and we'll do this again two weeks from today. Have a great weekend!
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