The arrival of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football this week was good news for those spending more time at home because of the coronavirus.
Who says you get only junk mail? This year’s edition will make Aggies smile with Texas A&M topping the state’s collegiate power rankings.
“Kellen Mond is a senior,” the magazine says. “Nineteen starters are back. The SEC West has three new coaches. The schedule is manageable. All the ingredients are there for the Aggies to make a run at the SEC crown.”
Texas, SMU, Baylor and TCU round out the state’s top five. SMU quarterback Shane Buechele is on the cover. The former Texas Longhorn is the first Mustang to grace Texas Football’s front since quarterback Lance McIlhenny in 1983.
A&M is ranked 13th in the magazine’s Top 25 with Texas 18th and SMU 25th. Alabama tops the poll followed by Ohio State, Clemson, Georgia, LSU, Oklahoma, Oregon, Florida, Memphis and Penn State.
Aggies on the All-Texas College Team are sophomore running back Isaiah Spiller, senior wide receiver Jhamon Ausbon and junior defensive lineman Bobby Brown III. Second-team picks from A&M are sophomore tight end Jalen Wydermyer, senior offensive lineman Carson Green, sophomore offensive lineman Kenyon Green, junior linebacker Anthony Hines III, sophomore defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal and sophomore defensive back Demani Richardson.
The magazine picks Oklahoma to win the Big 12 followed by Oklahoma State, Texas, Iowa State, Baylor, TCU, Kansas State, Texas Tech, West Virginia and Kansas.
The headline for Texas A&M’s preview is “No two ways about it: The Aggies’ time to strike is now.”
TexasFootball.com’s Shehan Jeyarajah says the Aggies’ ceiling would be a trip to the SEC title game and the ground floor would be losing more than three games.
A&M is picked second behind Alabama in the SEC West, though the magazine has the East and West headlines flopped. Hey, even the bible of Texas football is going to have a hiccup or two in 400 fact-filled, eye-appealing pages. LSU is third in the West followed by Auburn, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Arkansas. Georgia is picked to win the West — I mean, the East — followed by Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina and Vanderbilt.
Texas A&M defensive line coach Elijah Robinson and Calvert head coach Ja’Marcus Ashley made the magazine’s best 40 coaches under 40 years of age. A&M was lucky to keep Robinson, who was pursued in the offseason by Penn State, his alma mater, where he spent a decade as a player and staff member. The 35-year-old Robinson had four solid seasons at Temple (2014-16) and Baylor (2017) under current Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule before coming to Aggieland. Ashley played quarterback for the Trojans. The 2011 Calvert graduate is starting his fourth season.
The Brazos Valley high schools were shut out on the magazine’s Super Teams. The only senior to be listed among his position’s best was Rockdale’s Cam’Ron Valdez, who was included in the top 25 running backs. College Station’s Roderick Brown made the best of the rest in running backs. The Brazos Valley also was shut out in the Class of 2022’s Top 100 and the Class of 2023’s Top 25.
Four of Texas A&M’s six recruits from the state made the Super Teams. Richmond Foster offensive lineman Reuben Fatheree and Denton Guyer defensive back Deuce Harmon are on the first team. Denton Guyer quarterback Eli Stowers is on the second team and Magnolia offensive lineman Matthew Wykoff is on the third team.
A&M Consolidated, despite returning only six starters from an 11-1 team, is ranked fifth in Class 5A Division II. The Tigers are picked to win 10-5A DII followed by Huntsville, Lamar Consolidated and Montgomery. Rudder, with 15 starters back from a 5-5 team, is chasing that elusive first playoff trip that slipped away in a season-ending 38-14 loss to Huntsville in November.
The bad news for Consol, the 10-5A DII defending champ, is that Fort Bend Marshall is ranked fourth and remained in District 11-5A DII. Marshall beat Consol in the area playoffs the last two seasons. But good news is Manvel, which won 11-5A DII last year, moved up to Division I. So if Consol and Marshall both win district they couldn’t meet until the regional final. Two years ago, Huntsville upset Consol, leaving the Tigers as the district runner-up, eventually meeting Marshall in area because Manvel won the district. Huntsville, ranked 12th, also was depleted by graduation, returning only four starters, but Consol has to play at Huntsville. Brenham, ranked 16th, is picked to win 13-5A DII.
College Station, which won the 5A Division II state title in 2017, is ranked 16th in 5A Division I. The Cougars, coming off back-to-back area losses since moving up, are picked behind 11th-ranked Lufkin in 8-5A DI followed by Magnolia and New Caney. The Cougars have plenty of incentive to make sure they finish in the top two because 7-5A DI includes third-ranked Longview and fourth-ranked Highland Park.
Bryan, which won only one league game in Cypress-based 14-6A last year, is picked to finish last in eight-team Central Texas-based 12-6A with Temple, Killeen Shoemaker, Killeen Harker Heights and Killeen Ellison the projected playoff teams.
“We had a competitive JV team and if they can overcome inexperience at the varsity level, we have a chance to take a step forward,” Bryan coach Ross Rogers told Texas Football.
Navasota is picked third in 13-4A DII behind 20th-ranked Cuero and Giddings with Rattlers running back Darius Randle the league’s preseason offensive MVP. Madisonville is picked behind top-ranked Carthage, 17th-ranked Jasper and Center in 10-4A DII.
A quartet of BV teams are ranked in Class 3A. Rockdale is seventh in Division I and rival Cameron is 11th. Franklin is eighth in Division II and Lexington is 12th.
Rockdale is picked to win 11-3A DI followed by ninth-ranked Troy, Cameron and 13th-ranked Lorena in one of the state’s toughest districts, not good news for Caldwell, which is picked sixth, just ahead of McGregor. Franklin, armed with 15 returning starters, should flourish after dropping down to Division II. The Lions are picked to win 13-3A DII followed by Lexington, 14th-ranked Rogers and 21st-ranked Clifton. Anderson-Shiro is picked third in 12-3A DII behind fifth-ranked Newton and Hemphill.
Hearne is ranked 19th in Class 2A Division I. The Eagles are picked second in 12-2A DI behind 16th-ranked Thorndale. Eagle quarterback Micah Smith is the district’s preseason MVP. Centerville, a perennial playoff team, is picked fourth in 11-2A DI behind 14th-ranked Alto, 15th-ranked Groveton and 17th-ranked Grapeland. Normangee and Leon are picked fifth and sixth in a district where all teams made the playoffs last year.
Bremond is ranked seventh in Class 2A Division II. The Tigers, armed with 12 returning starters, are picked behind top-ranked Mart in 10-2A Division II. Bremond linebacker Hunter Wilganowski is the district’s preseason defensive player of the year. Burton is picked to win 13-2A DII. The 12th-ranked Panthers are followed by 20th-ranked Granger, Snook, Somerville, Milano, Iola and Bartlett.
Calvert is ranked third in Class A Division II and Dime Box is 19th. Calvert is picked to win 13-A DII followed by Oakwood, Apple Springs and Chester. The DB Longhorns, who played an outlaw schedule last year, are picked to win 14-A DII followed by Mount Calm, Buckholts and Olgesby.
Brazos Christian is picked third in TAPPS DIII-IV-4 behind Tomball Rosehill Christian and Cypress Community Christian. Allen Academy and St. Joseph are both picked to win TAPPS 6-man districts. The Allen Rams top DI/II-6 and the Eagles are first in DIII-5.