SDS will be taking a tour around the conference and looking at each team’s progress – or lack thereof – made during spring camp. Next up, Texas A&M.
Here’s what we learned during Texas A&M’s spring practice:
Staying mum: Don’t expect Kevin Sumlin to name a starter anytime soon; Kyle Allen, Matt Joeckel and Kenny Hill will continue to battle throughout fall camp, and it should be close to the season before Sumlin announces his starter. One thing is for sure: just because Allen is a freshman doesn’t mean he can’t play at an elite level. Allen is the future of the program.
Tra Carson is the guy: The biggest strength the Aggies possess is a dominant offensive line and a strong cast of running backs. Tra Carson continued to impress this spring, and he looks to become the Aggies’ complete and every-down back. Carson flashed great vision and athleticism, and he’s faster than what many perceive. Trey Williams, Brandon Williams and James White will all carry the rock this season, but Carson’s play will decide how many touches the others get.
Ifedi at tackle: All along, we were expecting either JUCO offensive linemen Jermaine Eluemunor or Avery Gennessy to step into right tackle, and we didn’t see guard Germain Ifedi moving outside. The battle for right tackle continues to be intriguing entering fall camp. Ifedi at tackle allows Kevin Sumlin to shuffle the offensive line and get experienced players ready for South Carolina; he wouldn’t have to start either JUCO transfer.
D-line a work in progress: Texas A&M is closer to building depth up front than they were a year ago. Defensive linemen Jay Arnold, Tyrone Taylor and Daeshon Hall all missed time this spring because of injuries, and touted defensive tackle Isaiah Golden withdrew from school following his arrest. Early enrollee Zaycoven Henderson impressed this spring, and he should be in the rotation come fall. Redshirt freshman tackle Justin Manning also showed he’ll make an impact in 2014. Veterans Julien Obioha, Gavin Stansbury and Tyrell Taylor have to take their games to the next level. Come fall, this unit will welcome Myles Garrett, Jarrett Johnson and Qualen Cunningham to the rotation. Depth isn’t an issue; development is crucial.
Mastrogiovanni: Yes, that’s his name. Linebacker Jordan Mastrogiovanni settled into the middle linebacker role this spring, and he proved he’d have a major role in 2014. Up to 235 pounds, Mastrogiovanni was rated just a three-star prospect exiting high school and helps with much-needed depth in the front seven. With Darian Claiborne suspended, Mastrogiovanni could start game one, assuming Claiborne isn’t reinstated beforehand. Nonetheless, even with Claiborne, Mastrogiovanni gives the Aggies two experienced inside backers for 2014.
Let’s break down the biggest takeaways of every spring practice:
- Alabama Crimson Tide
- Arkansas Razorbacks
- Auburn Tigers
- Florida Gators
- Georgia Bulldogs
- Kentucky Wildcats
- LSU Tigers
- Mississippi State
- Missouri Tigers
- Ole Miss Rebels
- South Carolina Gamecocks
- Tennessee Volunteers
- Texas A&M Aggies
- Vanderbilt Commodores
Photo Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports