Texas A&M football: 4 most critical position battles for 2020
Now that the 2019 season is in the books, topped with a 24-21 victory over a ranked Oklahoma State team in the Texas Bowl, let’s go ahead and look at what might keep us intrigued about the program during the offseason as we look forward to the 2020 campaign.
The Aggies return 8 starters on offense and another 8 more on defense. That doesn’t leave a whole lot to be decided, and that’s a good thing. But here are 4 critical position battles to keep an eye on for next season.
Zach Calzada vs. Haynes King
As much as Kellen Mond runs the football, it’s a minor miracle that he hasn’t suffered a significant injury. Knock on wood, but having someone waiting in the wings is critical for the Aggies in their quest to continue their climb to the top of the SEC mountain.
Calzada played in 3 games this past season, completing 50 percent of his passes (12-for-24, 133 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT.). The durable Mond hasn’t given his backups much of an opportunity to see the field and Calzada got just a small taste of what it’s like being the team leader in his freshman season.
King is similar to Mond in that he has the ability to run with the football and not just throw it. The No. 4 nationally-ranked dual threat QB in this year’s recruiting class, King could very well become the Aggies’ QB of the future.
Projected winner: Calzada
Isaiah Spiller vs. Ainias Smith
Spiller finished just 54 yards shy of a 1,000-yard season, and scored 10 touchdowns in 2019. He also caught 29 passes for 203 yards. Not bad for a freshman.
Prior to the Texas Bowl, this position would have been the last one on this list. But speedy Smith proved his versatility and displayed an ability that had not been realized prior to it. Smith ran the ball for the first time at Texas A&M, rushing 7 times in the Texas Bowl for 54 yards.
And before wide receivers Quartney Davis and most recently Kendrick Rogers declared for the NFL Draft, I would have been inclined to believe that Smith’s future lies in the Aggies’ backfield alongside Spiller.
But Smith is now needed, it seems, back at his natural position. He’s a wide receiver/returner who will have his opportunity for the limelight next season at those positions.
Projected winner: Spiller
Nik Constantinou vs. The Field
Fisher brought in Constantinou with his first signing class, but how do you follow a record-breaking All-American? That’s the task for Constantinou or a walk-on, taking the place of Braden Mann, the nation’s top punter in 2018 and a top 5 punter this past season.
Constantinou has punted exactly 1 time at Texas A&M. His lone boot measured 57 yards. Now that’s what I call a good start.
He should win the job. But if he falters, the search will be on for Mann’s replacement.
Projected winner: Constantinou
Ryan McCollum vs. Luke Matthews vs. Layden Robinson
Many believed that McCollum would be the Aggies’ center in 2019 after moving over from his guard position. But senior Colton Prater got the nod. But 2020 could be McCollum’s year to anchor the offensive line.
Newcomers Matthews and Robinson could have something to say about it. Matthews moved over to backup guard after coming to Texas A&M as a center.
Robinson redshirted after seeing action in a couple of games this season and could push for playing time this year, but is probably another year away from seeing significant playing time.
Projected winner: McCollum