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How Texas A&M can take 34 2013 recruits

One of the great mysteries in the world of college recruiting is how the Aggies can manage to get around oversigning restrictions to take such a large class. Debunking it all.

Kelly Lambert

It's one of the most prevalent current memes in the world of recruitniks -- how can the Texas A&M Aggies take [Insert ridiculously overinflated number here] prospects in the 2013 class? Isn't that oversigning?!?!?!

Some even joked that head coach Sumlin had hired noted oversigning enthusiast and former Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt as his recruiting coordinator.

Right now, the actual number of 32, is well above the limit.

There's been a lot made of oversigning in recent years, which is the practice of taking more than the number of prospects allowed in a given class.

Between Natioal Signing Day,

Here's a rundown of the rules, courtesy of Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples:

Schools have to adhere to an NCAA bylaw that limits them to 28 signees between Signing Day and May 31. Unchanged is the rule that declares schools can bring in only 25 new scholarship players each academic year.

There is a caveat, however -- Players who do not sign a letter of intent, but rather enroll in January for the spring semester as "early enrollees," don't count against the 25 if there is room left over from the previous recruiting class (for instance, if a school had two spots remaining by virtue of taking 23 and not 25 in a previous year).

In order to clear room, many schools would either grayshirt players (delaying their enrollment) and force or otherwise compel players currently on the roster to take medical hardship waivers (though these must be approved by the conference, most conferences will rubber stamp the diagnosis of the team doctor). Or, in some cases, scholarships just flat-out wouldn't be renewed, as they are given out year-to-year and aren't four-year commitments (at least until recently). Bobby Petrino infamously did that with a handful of players from Texas when he was at Arkansas and burned a number of bridges with coaches in the state in the process.

Some schools still engage in those practices to avoid running afoul of the recent NCAA oversigning legislation.

As it turns out, despite being in the SEC, the Aggies won't be digging heavily into their new conference's bag of tricks, though there is some talk that the coaching staff could ask one incoming player to grayshirt.

So, how can they make the numbers work? It's pretty simple, really -- any school can take 25 "initial counters" in a calendar year, with initial counters being the oddly impersonal phrase used by the NCAA to describe football players who will be on scholarship. However, schools can go up to 28 as long as they stay under the overall 85-man limit.

They can also count early enrollees against the previous class, a major part of the A&M strategy in the 2013 class. Of the 32 current commitments in the incoming 2013 class, nine of them have already enrolled in College Station and will count against the 2012 class' limit, leaving two available spots at the moment (32-9=23, which is two under the max of 25).

Additionally, several players may not qualify academically -- both Rosenberg (Texas) Terry wide receiver Derrick Griffin and Rosenberg (Texas) Terry safety Victor Davis may end up at junior colleges, while several others may have some work to do as well.

And Houston (Texas) St. Pius X quarterback Kohl Stewart is a baseball prospect who has a fastball that often clocks at over 90 mph, so he may opt for the hardball route if he's drafted high enough. The other quarterback commit in the class, Southlake (Texas) Carroll's Kenny Hill, is looking around, having visited Baylor and Kansas State in recent weeks. That only makes sense, considering the Heisman Trophy winner could be starting in College Station for three more seasons.

The crazy thing about all of this? Even though Texas A&M is already well over the 25-person total threshold in the 2013 class, they can take several more prospects, perhaps as many as four or five, depending on how many of those players on the edge end up making the grades, Hill's status.

The current targets for A&M include defensive ends Torrodney Prevot, a USC commit from Houston (Texas) Alief Taylor, and Daeshon Hall, a Washington commit from Lancaster (Texas), as well as Santa Monica (Calif.) wide receiver Sebastian Larue.

The Aggies aren't finished in the 2013 class and likely won't have to jettison any current commits from the recruiting class to make the numbers work, despite how it may appear just from looking at the total numbers.