Four-Star Defensive End Commits to Texas A&M

Four-Star Defensive End Commits to Texas A&M

In the past week, Texas A&M landed the nation's top defensive end in Myles Garrett and the state's top overall prospect in the Class of 2015, Daylon Mack. Thursday evening, the good recruiting news on the defensive side of the ball kept rolling when another four-star defensive end verbally pledged to the Aggie coaching staff.

The Texas Aggie football team had high expectations heading into the 2013 season with a returning Heisman Trophy winning QB, an All-American wide receiver, and a top five NFL draft pick at left tackle. But pundits forgot to take into account a defense that lost seven critical starters including playmaking defensive end Demontre Moore to the NFL. As a result, the Aggies are struggling to keep opponents out of the end zone with a young, inexperienced defense. The difficulty on the field has not slowed down Kevin Sumlin's recruitment of elite defensive recruits.

In the past week, Texas A&M landed the nation's top defensive end in Myles Garrett and the state's top overall prospect in the Class of 2015, defensive tackle Daylon Mack. Thursday evening, the good recruiting news on the defensive side of the ball kept rolling in when four-star defensive end Qualen Cunningham of Hamilton High School in Chandler, Arizona verbally pledged to the Texas A&M coaching staff.

"I woke up and felt it might be time. I spoke to my dad and we went over everything and I was comfortable with Texas A&M," Cunningham said. "It's a good fit for me and there's an opportunity to come in and help immediately, so I called Coach Sumlin and Coach Price to commit. They went crazy when I told them."

The 6-foot-4, 230-pound pass rushing specialist says his combination of speed, power, and quickness gives him an advantage at the point of attack, but also has worked hard on his technique and moves in pressuring the quarterback.

"I'm a versatile defensive lineman. I can defend the run and even drop in coverage," Cunningham said. "But I use my speed and power best to rush the quarterback. My dad and my coaches have helped me with using my hands and different moves to get in the backfield. That's my strength."

His father is former Texas A&M defensive lineman and NFL standpoint Pat Cunningham. When growing up, his dad spoke fondly of his years in Aggieland and that rubbed off on his son. Thus, the Aggies were always high on Qualen's list, but it was watching the Aggie defense on TV that convinced him that Texas A&M was the best fit for him.

"Watching A&M on TV, you can see they struggle pressuring the quarterback. I see it as a great opportunity to come in and help immediately," Cunningham said. "I think having a good pass rusher off the edge could be the final piece to the puzzle and things take off from there for the defense."

Cunningham joins soon-to-be five-star prospect Myles Garrett to form a highly-rated duo at defensive end for the Aggies in the Class of 2014. They also join four-star defensive end Jarrett Johnson. Cunningham welcomes the stiff competition when he arrives in College Station after graduation in May.

"I'm not worried about competition. I have faith in my athletic ability and my work ethic," Cunningham said. "The competition will push all of us and we'll be better for it. I look forward to the challenge. I also look forward to having a great DL in the future."

Cunningham plans to take his official visit on January 17 after the season when most of the other commits will come to College Station for a big recruiting weekend. Despite receiving numerous offers from schools such as USC, UCLA, Oregon, Stanford, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Oklahoma, Arizona, and Arizona State to name a few, Cunningham said he's very satisfied with his decision and won't pursue other opportunities.

"I don't know. I'm happy with my decision and Texas A&M is where I will go to school," Cunningham said. "I'm not going to pursue other opportunities, but if a coach stops by to talk, I'll give him the courtesy of listening. But, Texas A&M is the best fit for me."

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