SB Nation Recruiting: To start out, the Aggies have the 10th-ranked class in the country according to Rivals the year that they've made the move to the SEC and hired a young, energetic head coach in Kevin Sumlin. To the extent that you can separate the two, which change has made the biggest difference on the recruiting trail?
OrionHjarvis: Kevin Sumlin, no question. Sumlin could recruit to a Big12 Texas A&M better than Mike Sherman could to a SEC A&M.
SBNR: With 28 commitments in the class, the Aggies must be close to having a full class, but still have some significant targets like on the board, like Ricky Seals-Jones and. How much room is left and who would Sumlin add to finish the class in an ideal world?
OHj: Hard question because I don't think you'll see all of the current commits sign with the Ags in February. Due to only taking 19 guys last year, there is room for at least six early enrollees on top of the normal 25-man limit in 2013. I say "at least" because there is some uncertainty if the Aggies can count back to the NCAA's 28-man limit or will be held to the SEC's 25-man limit with the realignment last year.
Currently five commits are set to graduate in December: Rob Zimmerman, Reggie Chevis, Brett Wade, Jordan Points, and Alex Sezer. They have room for only 1-2 more May graduates as of now. But as I said, I expect to see some movement within the current class and the Aggies land another May graduate or two.
In an ideal world, Sumlin would end with RSJ, Manning, LB Mike Mitchell, DL Toby Johnson and LB Kenny Flowers from Hutchinson CC, S Justin Cox from East Mississippi CC, and OT Josiah St. John from Trinity Valley CC.
SBNR: Speaking of RSJ and Manning, what are you hearing from the Aggie side about the odds of Texas A&M landing one or both of those star recruits? And to follow up on the Sealy star, how big of an impact will this weekend's game make, with his two finalists going head-to-head? Does the rise of Johnny Football combined with the struggles of the LSU offense give A&M a sizable lead for a player who has made noises about playing in a high-flying offense?
Both are supposed to be in town this weekend on unofficials. With Manning,him delaying his decision and being in CS this weekend is obviously good news for Kevin Sumlin. I expect this one to have some drama leading up to Signing Day even if he commits before then.
I'm not sure the game this weekend will have a significant impact on RSJ unless one of the teams gets blown out. I do believe the Aggie offense on the season as a whole will tip the scales in favor of the Ags.
SBNR: Moving to the SEC, there's a premium on recruiting talent along both lines. The defensive tackle position has four commits, including two of the top players in the state there in Isaiah Golden and Hardreck Walker, not to mention Kerrick Huggins. Just how good is this defensive tackle group and will the Aggies be able to further strengthen it with JUCO DT Toby Johnson?
OHj: No, I don't think Johnson will be an Aggie. Sumlin will strengthen this group however with Manning or another JUCO guy. I'm also not sure that Jordan Points isn't a DT when all is said and done.
SBNR: In July, it seemed like A&M might be settling a little bit by taking a handful of three-star commitments in a class that was rapidly filling up. Are those mostly underrated players who have upside as program depth or better, or was A&M reaching a bit with some of those takes?
I wouldn't say settling. Going into the season, with so many question marks in the secondary and knowing you would lose 2/3 of your LB corp after this year, I think they saw guys at need positions, who could play, and decided to move on them. With that said, I think there is a lot of underrated talent in this class. Kyrion Parker being a three star is criminal. Kenny Hill, Hardreck Walker, and Kerrick Huggins all make the case to be four stars.
SBNR: Of the players currently committed, do you have a favorite, someone whose pledge and skills stand out above the rest? What about major misses?
OHj: My favorite is Isaiah Golden. He's a beast at a need position and being from East Texas myself, those are my people.
On the miss I would say Torrodney Prevot. With his speed and quickness off the edge, he would bring a skill set not currently found in this class.
SBNR: On a final note, A&M has been something of a dormant power in the state of Texas for some years in terms of recruiting. With the move to the SEC and the new staff, how close are the Aggies to becoming a major regional power in the recruiting game, in your opinion?
OHj: Close.Texas is going to continue to get players but I do think you'll see the Aggies start to win a few more of those battles. In fact, I think you saw it this year with guys like Isaiah Golden and Ishmael Wilson who would have been offered by the Longhorns if they had made it to campus before committing to A&M.Sumlin even got Hassan Ridgeway on campus the week before signing day last year after being on the job only a month. The schools that will really be adversely affected however are OU, OSU and Tech. I believe you'll continue to see A&M out-recruit those guys in state.