Texas A&M football: Handing out team superlatives for the 2021-22 season
An 8-4 season is not what was expected. At Texas A&M the bar has been raised, and nothing short of a championship will satisfy. Still, winning 8 games with an SEC schedule means many individuals turned in some outstanding performances, and the Aggies had their share of big moments.
Let’s take a look at the best from the 2021 season.
Team MVP: Aaron Hansford
The senior linebacker has been a leader on defense throughout the season. He led the team in tackles and was 2nd in tackles for loss. In addition, Hansford was among the team leaders in sacks. He was a key to a defense that ranked 3rd overall in the SEC and 2nd against the pass.
Offensive MVP: Isaiah Spiller
It could just as easily have been Devon Achane, but Spiller rushed for 1,000 yards and became just the 7th Aggie in program history to rush for 3,000 in his career. He may not have been as flashy as Achane or Ainias Smith, but Spiller was fairly consistent throughout the season and was the Aggies’ go-to running back.
He’s 1 of only 6 current players among Power 5 teams to rush for more than 2,000 yards and add 500-plus receiving yards in his career.
Defensive MVP: Hansford
A leader on the field, Hansford not only led the team in tackles, but against Prairie View, he scored his 1st career touchdown. He scooped up a fumble and returned it 17 yards to the end zone in the Aggies’ 52-3 victory.
Recruited as a receiver, Hansford fought off injuries and a position transfer to find a home and become a key player on the Aggies’ defense.
True Freshman of the Year: Tyreek Chappell
Chappell stepped in for the Aggies and was outstanding at a corner. He led the team in pass breakups and was among the team’s top 10 in tackles. Chappell was a key player in the Aggies’ pass defense that ranked 2nd in the SEC.
Transfer of the Year: Jahmir Johnson
The graduate transfer from Tennessee played a key role in an offensive line that took time to jell, but found itself midseason and has been a strength ever since.
Most Improved: Antonio Johnson
The sophomore DB stepped up his game and helped lead that pass defense with Chappell that ranked among the top 10 nationally.
Johnson was 2nd on the team in tackles behind only Hansford, and he was among the leaders on the team in tackles for loss.
Biggest Surprise: Early offensive line difficulties
With All-American Kenyon Green leading the way, it was thought that the Aggies’ offensive line just might be one of its biggest strengths. But injuries and some new faces made for an uneasy transition.
A transfer and 2 freshmen worked overtime to overcome their unfamiliarity and molded into a solid group over the last half of the season.
Play of the Year: The field goal
Seth Small delivered a 28-yard field goal as time expired, and Texas A&M knocked off then-No. 1 Alabama at Kyle Field. It was the 3rd time that the Aggies have beaten a No. 1-ranked team. They beat Alabama back in 2012 and defeated Oklahoma in 2002.
The victory stopped a 2-game skid and sparked the Aggies to a 4-game winning streak.
Win of the Year: Beating Bama
The aforementioned victory, a 41-38 shootout in College Station, changed the course of the season. After starting the season 3-0, Texas A&M dropped its first 2 SEC games and stood at 3-2 overall and 0-2 in conference play. With Alabama next on the schedule, things looked rather bleak for head coach Jimbo Fisher and his Aggies.
But that’s when things turned around. Texas A&M played the game of the year, and thanks to Small’s game-winning kick, it put the Aggies back on the right track.