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Texas A&M Football

Texas A&M adds depth as two previous opt-outs rejoin the Aggies

December 7, 2020
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Texas A&M’s football victory total is growing. So is the Aggies’ roster.

The No. 5 Aggies (7-1) have added depth with cornerback Elijah Blades and linebacker Ke’Shun Brown opting back in after having opted out before the season started.

Blades started six games at cornerback in 2019 before a shoulder injury ended his season prematurely. He figures to add depth behind starters Myles Jones and Jaylon Jones.

Brown might be a candidate for special teams when he’s back in action.

Earlier this season, Texas A&M coach Fisher said he was open to allowing players to return if they chose.

“That door has always been open. They’ve all been a part of our family. We want to help them.”
- A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher

“That door has always been open,” Fisher said. “They’ve all been a part of our family. We want to help them.”

Amid uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and turmoil of social justice issues across the nation, players were given the choice to “opt out” of this season without losing scholarships.

Six players, including Blades and Brown, opted out in September. Receiver Jhamon Ausbon, linebacker Anthony Hines, quarterback James Foster and safety Derrick Tucker also opted out.

Blades did not suit up for the Aggies’ 31-20 victory over Auburn last Saturday but is available to play. Fisher said on Monday that Brown is back in practice.

He said the pandemic fears and political issues created confusion that some players needed time to process.

“When you make a decision, information changes over time,” Fisher said. “Sometimes, you reflect on your decision. Some things change in your life. Some things happen in your life. Whatever. I think that’s what’s going on.

“There was a lot of turmoil and confusion going on at that time in America. We had a lot of unknowns. You had a lot of young people making decisions. Now, they make a decision based on the information they have now.’’

Fisher said those opting back in are required to practice for two or three weeks before they’re available to play.

Lia Musgrave, TexAgs
Blades will provide depth at corner as Myles Jones (pictured) and Jaylon Jones have played well in their starting roles.

“We made sure they were physically ready to do it,” he said. “Now those guys are getting back.”

Cynics might scoff at the timing of Blades’ and Brown’s return. The Aggies are on a six-game winning streak and are contenders for the four-team College Football Playoff field.

At the very least, the Aggies could appear in a prestigious New Year’s Six bowl game if they can close the season with victories over Ole Miss on Saturday at Kyle Field and at Tennessee the following week.

A&M players seemingly have no issue with the opt-ins rejoining the team.

“Those are our brothers. We accept them back in with open arms,” senior linebacker Buddy Johnson said. “Guys go through a lot of things. In this sport, you have to be mentally ready to handle those things. If a guy is not mentally ready to handle those things, they have to take time off to themselves. I think those guys are ready.

“They’re one of us. Once you’re an Aggie, you’ll be an Aggie forever, so we’re happy to have those guys back with us.”

Senior quarterback Kellen Mond echoed Johnson’s sentiments.

“I don’t have any problem with it,” Mond said. “At the end of the day, for the most part, I try to focus on what I can control. If they want to come back, that’s their choice.”

Three weeks ago, Hines announced his decision to enter the NFL draft. Ausbon, Foster and Tucker have announced future plans.

“Once you’re an Aggie, you’ll be an Aggie forever, so we’re happy to have those guys back with us.”
- A&M linebacker Buddy Johnson

Johnson said he and others often have contact with the opted-out players, but he doesn’t know their plans.

“We talk to them all the time,” Johnson said. “We don’t ask those types of things. We let them take care of their business how they need to.”

A convincing argument

Some in the national media have recently questioned A&M’s No. 5 ranking for a lack of “convincing wins.”

Fisher made it clear he disagreed with that criticism.

“SEC wins are very convincing. I promise you that,” Fisher said. “Anytime you win in the SEC West, it’s very convincing. (It’s the) Best league in ball. The best players in ball. They’re all very convincing.

“That’s an opinion. You have to base things on facts. Our world in the media right now has got to be opinion, not based on facts.

“How about just play your best football. Do it the right way. Do it with class. Do it with dignity. Those are convincing wins against good opponents. SEC wins are very convincing.”

Notes: Fisher said sophomore safety Demani Richardson is “day-to-day” with an unspecified injury. Richardson did not play in the win over Auburn. Senior Keldrick Carper replaced him in the starting lineup on Saturday.

Center Ryan McCollum was named the SEC’s Offensive Lineman of the Week.

Also, four players were named semifinalists for national awards at their positions, including tight end Jalen Wydermyer (Mackey), Mond (O'Brien), running back Isaiah Spiller (Doak Walker) and punter Nik Constantinou (Ray Guy).

Discussion from...

Texas A&M adds depth as two previous opt-outs rejoin the Aggies

38,933 Views | 13 Replies | Last: 11 mo ago by John Cocktolstoy
94chem
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I 'member once that we were playing pickup basketball, and I got upset because someone pushed me, and I took my ball to go home, and I noticed that the other guys went and got another ball and kept playing, and it kinda looked like they were having fun...and I felt a little silly, but we were having hamburgers, so I went on home. True story.
My Name Is Judge
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Weak

Quitters are quitters

& isn't Brown the guy took his shirt off & tried to fight an old man alum on campus?

That idiot should've been kicked off the team
RiverAg 80
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AG
Brown threatened to "slit" the older Ag. Obviously more threatening than an azz kicking. He should NOT be allowed back on the team.
Justice Beaver
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AG
Ya...**** that. Brown's a thug, and they both made their choice before the season. Now they can pay the consequences of watching their former teammates have a pretty damn good season without them. Maybe it'll make them think twice the next time they want to quit something in life when presented a convenient excuse.
/rant
trav01
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AG
Different story on Brown but I don't blame Blades too much for this. He was injured going into the season and wouldn't have been available until right around here anyways.
Matsui
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AG
Blades had a family member either die or be severely hospitalized early on in covid. That's why he paused.

Brown can go back to Alabama.
West Point Aggie
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AG
Respect their decisions...again
texag0928
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As for Brown, he's a thug, IMO.

And yet, Sully still stands!
johnnyblaze36
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AG
Quote:

"That door has always been open," Fisher said. "They've all been a part of our family. We want to help them."
Regarding Brown, Jimbo is either totally clueless or willfully ignorant. He shouldn't even be allowed on campus period. Either way it's a really bad look for Fisher.
aggiedaddie
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Somebody that has done a great job and worked all year is gonna be replaced by a quitter?

Bad move. Bad move.
John Cocktolstoy
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Did this old Ag press charges, have witnesses? Sounds like there may not be much to it if no charges were pressed.
Websider Todd44 GigEm
My Name Is Judge
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It's on video
John Cocktolstoy
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Where at?
Websider Todd44 GigEm
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