#31 Texas A&M Football 2017 Preview


Texas A&M Aggies


Overall Rank: #31

#7 SEC

If the college football season was only a two month sprint Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin would not be on the hot seat as the Aggies have always started fast under Sumlin. It’s the month of November that has been a big-time problem as Texas A&M was horrendous down the stretch. They lost to Ole Miss by one and the defense took Thanksgiving night off against LSU in a 54-39 loss to the Tigers. Athletic Director Scott Woodard increased the temperature of Sumlin’s hot seat back in May with publicly coming out saying that this Aggies team needs to win more in 2017. So it will be very interesting to see what happens if Texas A&M stumbles out of the gate and loses a couple of games early on.
2016 Record: 8-5, 4-4
2016 Bowl: Texas Bowl vs. Kansas State  28-33 L
Coach: Kevin Sumlin (44-21at Texas A&M, 79-38 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Noel Mazzone
Defensive Coordinator: John Chavis
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Traveyon Williams, RB, 1,057 yards
Passing: Jake Hubenak, QB, 884 yards
Receiving: Christian Kirk, WR, 928 yards
Tackles: Otaro Alaka, OLB, 74
Sacks: Jarrett Johnson, DE, 4.5
Interceptions: Armani Watts, FS, 2
Other Key Returnees: LG Erik McCoy, C Colton Prater, RG Connor Lanfear, DT Kingsley Keke, DT Zaycoven Henderson, CB Priest Willis, SS Donovan Wilson, K Daniel LaCamera, P Shane Tripucka
Key Losses: DE Myles Garrett, DE Daeshon Hall, S Justin Evans, QB Trevor Knight, WR Josh Reynolds, OT Jermaine Eluemunor, WR Ricky Seals-Jones, OT Avery Gennesy, LB Claude George, LB Shaan Washington,
The quarterback position should be up for grabs heading into fall camp with Jake Hubenak in the lead for the starting job. Hubenak would provide senior leadership at the position and a steady level of production all season long. Incoming freshman Kellen Mond and redshirt freshman Nick Starkel are going to take the competition for the starting quarterback job down to the wire in fall camp. Playmaking should not be a problem in 2017 for the Aggies as Traveyon Williams and Christian Kirk are always a threat to make an explosive offensive play. Now, what is a concern for this Texas A&M offense is the depth at wide receiver after Kirk and the need for new tackles along the offensive front. If those issues can be addressed then the Aggies will light up the scoreboard again in 2017.
Where is the pass rush going to come from with Myles Garrett now a member of the Cleveland Browns? Garrett was the number one pick in the 2017 NFL Draft and collected 8.5 sacks last season along with 15 tackles for loss. Jarrett Johnson will need to increase his sack numbers from 4.5 last season and he should be able to easily surpass that if he stays healthy. Otaro Alaka is going to be a vital part of the defense again in 2017 at linebacker. Alaka has a nose for the football as is the leading returning tackler from last season with 74. A good goal for Alaka would be to get his number of tackles up between 90-100, if not more, to take pressure off of the other linebackers. In the secondary, it will be up to the safety Armani Watts to bring along the cornerbacks as the pass defense was an issue in 2016. The Aggies allowed 250 yards per game in the air.
The Bottom Line:
A trip to the Rose Bowl to play UCLA on Sunday night of Labor Day weekend will kickoff the 2017 season for Texas A&M. This matchup should be dubbed the Coaches Hot Seat Classic as Bruins head coach Jim Mora also needs to have a big season in 2017. Thus, this is a case of the winning coach survives and the losing coach will see their hot seat temperature sky rocket. On September 23rd, the Aggies will battle Arkansas in Arlington in a swing game for both teams. The most important stretch of the season will start on September 30th against South Carolina followed by a visit from Alabama as part of five out of six games at home. If Texas A&M can go on a run and pull off an upset or two they will be in great position to win nine regular season games and possibly save Coach Sumlin’s job.
Projected Bowl: Texas Bowl
2016 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 211.8 (34th in nation, 6th in conference)
Passing Offense: 255.2 (46, 4)
Total Offense: 467.0 (24, 2)
Scoring Offense: 34.8 (34, 3)
Rushing Defense: 191.8 (80, 8)
Pass Defense: 250.0 (91, 13)
Total Defense: 441.8 (90, 10)
Scoring Defense: 24.5 (40, 7)
Turnover Margin: 0.23 (42, 6)
Sacks: 3.00 (14, 2)
Sacks Allowed: 1.62 (36, 6)
Madness 2018 NFL Draft Rankings:
#21 Christian Kirk
#32 Armani Watts
#50 Daylon Mack
Madness 2017 Recruit Rankings:
#52 Kellen Mond
#54 Anthony Hines
#151 Jhamon Ausbon
#179 Hezekiah Jones
#190 Derrick Tucker
#237 Roshauud Paul