The Texas A&M Aggies signed a large and successful recruiting class in the first year of the Kevin Sumlin era, as well as the first year that the Aggies competed in the SEC. A Heisman-winning season from quarterback Johnny Manziel helped add a couple of talented receivers late to a class that was already strong in that regard.
Ranked as the no. 10 class in the country by the 247Sports composite rankings, the Aggies signed 32 prospects, including one five-star player and 14 four-star recruits. How tough is the SEC, though? The Aggies finished 10th, but only fifth in their conference, behind Alabama, Florida, Ole Miss, and LSU. Yeah, the SEC is good.
Besides the excellent receivers, the Aggies also added some major beef along the defensive line, including two US Army All-American defensive tackles -- Carthage (Texas) prospect Isaiah Golden and Dallas (Texas) Kimball's Justin Manning.
Bud Elliott’s grade
A-. Texas A&M had room to take a huge class, and indeed it did so, bringing in eight early enrollees and 23 signees, plus a greyshirt. A&M cashed in on the magical season it had in 2012 in a big way. Dynamic receivers in Seals-Jones, LaRue, Williams and Gonzalez lead the way. Defensive line help is also present with four-stars Manning, Golden and Hall. Losing out on Prevot and Mike Mitchell keep the class from being an A.
Top three players
Scout and Rivals rank Seals-Jones as the top receiver in the 2013 class. ESPN pegs him as No. 8. He also played at quarterback quite a bit in high school, often running the read option or speed option. Seals-Jones is left-handed, so odds are the Aggies use him on a wide receiver pass trick play at some point.
The 6-4, 205-pound Williams is a consensus four-star prospect who signed with Auburn coming out of high school, but failed to qualify. In late September, the Georgia native committed to the Tigers again before taking visits to Georgia and Texas A&M and then re-opening his recruitment when Gene Chizik was fired. A final official visit to College Station sealed the deal.
A US Army All-American, the 6-2, 330-pounder is a consensus four-star prospect ranked as the no. 102 player nationally in the 247Sports composite ranking, the no. 8 defensive tackle in the country, and the 12th-best player in the state of Texas. He held offers from Arkansas, Oklahoma, and TCU before committing early in the process -- otherwise his offer sheet would have been much more impressive.
Top three rival classes
The rise of Texas A&M in the state of Texas helped keep the LSU Tigers from signing a single prospect from the state of Texas, even though Les Miles and company signed players from 11 other states.
The Aggies also scored several prospects who had offers from Texas, something that was rare during the MIke Sherman era. None was bigger than Ricky Seals-Jones, the elite jumbo athlete who was committed to Texas early in the process but decided to jump aboard the Johnny Football train in December.
Meanwhile, former in-conference rival Texas Tech stumbled to a lower-tier finish in the Big 12 after losing head coach Tommy Tuberville to Cincinnati.
Biggest National Signing Day drama
Kevin Sumlin and company definitely had some drama going on for Signing Day, managing to flip Lancaster (Texas) defensive end Daeshon Hall from the Washington Huskies. There was plenty of thought out there that Houston (Texas) Alief Taylor defensive end Torrodney Prevot would join him, but the speedy edge rusher shocked Aggie fans by choosing Oregon instead.
To add to it, the Aggies did not allow Rosenberg (Terry) wide receiver Derrick Griffin to sign a letter of intent. One of the top-ranked prospects in the class, Griffin has qualification concerns.
Notes from SB Nation blogs
Good Bull Hunting wrote up the best- and worst-case scenarios for each signee. Top prospect Seals-Jones:
Nothing to see here except the nation's number-two wide receiver prospect who escaped the Mack Brown Decommit Train just as it caught fire this fall.
BCS: It's all in play for Seals-Jones, who is a 6'5", 225 pound freak in the best sense of the word. How about a less explosive Calvin Johnson for good measure?
WCS: On the other hand, RSJ is raw as can be, was injured much of his senior year and expectations are running rampant. Might take him a year or two to get caught up on the nuances of the position at the next level.
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