Head coach Kevin Sumlin and the Texas A&M football staff had a very successful Signing Day 2013 with Scout.com rating this year’s class as the sixth best in the nation. Aggie Websider’s David Sandhop provides an in-depth evaluation and rating of each signee, including the eight mid-term signees from December. The evaluation score is based on a 100 point scale with the following criteria:
95-100 Franchise caliber prospect; potential all-American w/ expected development
90-94 All-SEC potential prospect w/ expected development
85-89 Quick contributor and eventual starter w/ expected development
80-84 Contributor and potential starter over time w/ expected development
75-79 Contributor and potential starter over time w/ significant development
In his first installment of player evaluations, David Sandhop looks at the top 10 prospects in the 2013 Texas A&M recruiting class. Aggie Websider will be releasing evaluations of the rest of the class throughout the day.
Jaquay Williams – Outside Wide Receiver
Evaluation score: 99
A&M Class Rank: 1
Strengths: explosion, size, hands, route running, yards after catch, toughness
Hop’s Take: Not much hype surrounding his mid-term signing since he came from prep school, but he was the best WR in Georgia last year. If you were to build the perfect receiver, you’d use Williams for the mold. No weaknesses in his game and very mature physically. He’ll be ready to step-in and compete immediately for the outside receiver spot opposite Mike Evans.
Ricky-Seals Jones – Outside Wide Receiver
Evaluation score: 98
A&M Class Rank: 2
Strengths: elite combination of size and speed, body control, quickness and ability to cut
Hop’s Take: What makes RSJ so special is not only his combination of size (6-foot-5) and sub-4.5 speed, but he can cut on a dime and make defenders miss. Not only will he be a weapon going over the top, but he can also take a quick screen and make things happen. That’s called a nightmare for a cover corner. He’s such an elite, versatile athlete that he could be a high level collegiate DE, LB, or even safety…but receiver is his position at A&M.
Isaiah Golden – Defensive Tackle
Evaluation score: 96
A&M Class Rank: 3
Strengths: strength, body mass, explosion off the ball
Hop’s Take: Golden is a big ball of high energy and strength. For a big guy that will be over 300 pounds when he hits the field next fall, he’s surprisingly quick off the ball with nice closing speed on the QB. But make no mistake, his game is manhandling his man along the line of scrimmage and destroying RB’s and QB’s. He’ll play for A&M from day one.
Tavares Garner – Cornerback
Evaluation score: 96
A&M Class Rank: 4
Strengths: natural coverage skills, fluid athlete, run support, attitude
Hop’s Take: If somebody asked me to describe the perfect measurables for a D-1 cornerback, I’d show them a picture of Garner. He’s a very fluid athlete with natural coverage skills, but he has a very physically mature, medium muscular build that is good for run support and getting physical with receivers in press coverage. Great attitude and mental approach to the game.
Justin Manning – Defensive Tackle
Evaluation score: 95
A&M Class Rank: 5
Strengths: explosion off the ball, natural playmaker
Hop’s Take: Manning isn’t all that big or physically imposing at 6-foot-2, 275 lbs, but his explosion off the line and quickness shooting the gaps is as good as any I’ve seen. He’s not a massive anchor guy that will eat up space like Golden. He’s a guy that will shoot the gap and make a play on the running back three yards in the backfield.
Daeshon Hall – Defensive End
Evaluation score: 92
A&M Class Rank: 6
Strengths: ideal lengthy frame, speed off the edge
Hop’s Take: Hall is another in a line of long, playmaking DE prospects to sign with the Aggies that includes Demontre Moore, Brandon Alexander, and Tyrone Taylor. Hall has all the tools to be a great one and shows flashes of greatness on the field. He needs to improve on locating the ball and getting involved in plays going away from him. At times, he relies too much on his outside move and he runs himself out of a play. But with D-1 coaching, he can become the next Von Miller or Demontre Moore because he is a rare athlete.
Darian Claiborne – Linebacker
Evaluation score: 92
A&M Class Rank: 7
Strengths: LB with skill position athleticism, instincts for the ball, high intensity ball player
Hop’s Take: The fact that he played QB in high school and his lack of length limited his recruiting value in some circles. But he’s not an offensive player that projects on the other side of the ball. He’s a linebacker first. He has a nose for the ball and he attacks with a high motor. In the O-D all-star game, he was the best defender on the field and was a constant presence making plays on the ball. He was also a vocal leader in the game. With his speed and aggressiveness, he makes plays sideline-to-sideline with ease.
Sebastian LaRue – Slot Receiver
Evaluation score: 90
A&M Class Rank: 8
Strengths: speed, quickness, established playmaker on both sides of the ball
Hop’s Take: Gifted skill athlete who could be a high level D-1 player at either slot receiver or cornerback. He fits perfectly Sumlin’s offense. He’s adept at taking that quick screen and generating positive yardage with his ability to make defenders miss. He also excels at finding passing windows in the slot and can catch slants on the run. He has the speed to stretch the defense as well. With Ryan Swope graduating, LaRue has similar skills and will be a nice replacement.
Kyrion Parker – Outside Wide Receiver
Evaluation score: 89
A&M Class Rank: 9
Strengths: length, speed, ability to go get balls in a crowd, excellent footwork
Hop’s Take: Parker isn’t quite in the same league as the top two receivers in this class for now. He’s not as physically mature as those two and will need to hit the weight room. But once he fills out and plays with a little more physicality and toughness, he’ll be the spitting image of Jaquay Williams. If Parker embraces what he needs to do to add mass to his frame, this receiver corps will be scary….I’m talking one of the best ever at the collegiate level.
Tommy Sanders – Linebacker
Evaluation score: 88
A&M Class Rank: 10
Strengths: ability to rush the quarterback, sideline-to-sideline speed and playmaking ability
Hop’s Take: The Aggies need Tommy Sanders to hit the ground running and have a great spring practice. Unfortunately, many JUCO’s take about nine months to adjust to the speed of the D-1 game and the higher expectations of a BCS program. Luckily for A&M, the staff can dangle a carrot in front of Sanders this spring….an immediate starting job. So hopefully the urgency of the situation and extra attention from the staff will shorten the typical JUCO learning curve. Along with Brandon Alexander, Sanders ‘ performance in the spring is probably the most crucial because of need and his potential to rush the passer.