Story Poster
Photo by Craig Bisacre/Texas A&M Athletics
Texas A&M Football

Completing the puzzle: Adding big-play receiving threats key for Aggies

February 12, 2021
25,677

Since arriving at Texas A&M, head coach Jimbo Fisher has been methodically putting together the pieces of a championship-caliber football team.

The puzzle is almost complete. One last piece remains.

One could say it’s quarterback because the Aggies must replace highly-productive Kellen Mond. Except Fisher has an incredible track record of developing quarterbacks, and he has more than a few highly-regarded prospects to develop already on the roster.

The offensive line might seem like the answer, and linemen are like the edge pieces of a puzzle. Use them to set the foundation, and everything else falls into place.

Bailey Orr/Texas A&M Athletics
While the Aggies didn’t take too many shots down the field in 2020, maybe the year's biggest play was a 51-yard bomb from Mond to Chapman vs. Florida.

Except Fisher has a load of five- and four-star prospects in the offensive line. The talent is there for A&M to continue its dominance up front. It’s not a matter of ability but a matter of gaining experience.

From here, the final piece of the puzzle is the receiving position.

To be more specific: Developing game-breaking deep threats that can provide big plays and force defenses to stretch out.

You’d love the thought of Texas A&M receivers routinely running past defensive backs for significant gains.

You’d also love the idea of running backs Isaiah Spiller and Devon Achane running against defenses that can’t crowd the line of scrimmage for fear of getting beat deep.

The Aggies did not have that consistent deep threat last season. Mond threw only 19 touchdown passes. Just five of those covered more than 20 yards.

Two of those were long runs after short tosses. Ainias Smith turned a 5-yard pass into a 47-yard tight rope run down the sideline against Alabama. Chase Lane turned a short throw on a crossing route into a 51-yard touchdown against Mississippi State.

The deep passes for scores were a 51-yard throw from quarterback Mond to Caleb Chapman against Florida. Mond hit Smith down the sideline for 35-yards against Arkansas. Mond threw deep for a 52-yard touchdown to Achane against South Carolina.

Alabama had three touchdown passes of more than 60 yards against A&M.

Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports
Ainias Smith was A&M’s leading receiver in 2020 and amassed 564 yards receiving.

Despite the absence of a vertical threat, the Aggies still managed nine victories and finished fourth in the national polls.

Adding the over-the-top big-play element to the passing game appears to be the key for A&M becoming a national championship contender.

Indeed, that element has been a mainstay to recent national championships. In fact, recent national champions have been infested with NFL caliber receivers.

Alabama receivers DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle project as first-round picks in the 2021 NFL draft. John Metchie, who had a 78-yard touchdown against A&M, may be projected that high in 2023.

LSU’s 2019 championship team was stocked at receiver. Justin Jefferson was a first-round pick of the Vikings. Ja’Marr Chase is projected as a first-round pick in 2021. Terrace Marshall figures to be a high round pick, too.

Clemson won the 2018 national title with receivers Tee Higgins, the first selection of the second round of the 2020 draft, and Justyn Ross, who could be a first-round pick next year.

No question, A&M needs receivers of that caliber. Receivers that dominate the collegiate competition and become high NFL draft choices. The real question is whether the Aggies already have them.

Here are three big “ifs:”

  • If Chapman comes back strong from the knee injury which ended his 2020 season prematurely...
  • If Ainias Smith continues to progress...
  • If Demond Demas lives up to his five-star rating…

If those questions are answered, could the Aggies have the best receiving corps in the Southeastern Conference next season?

Justin Schoenemann
Demond Demas’ unique athleticism makes him a very intriguing prospect.

They might, especially considering they also have Chase Lane and Hez Jones returning, Camron Buckley coming back from injury, and Moose Muhammad and Shadrach Banks‍ — like Demas — are exciting prospects.

There could be some high draft choices among that group, especially Demas, who has incredible talent. He didn’t play much last year and did not catch a pass, but that should not be a concern.

Remember, former Texas Tech star Michael Crabtree redshirted his freshman year and went on to become a two-time winner of the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s best receiver.

Closer to home, Mike Evans redshirted in 2011. He had the best receiving year in Texas A&M history in 2013 and became a first-round draft choice.

Receivers were not a high priority in A&M’s 2021 recruiting class. The Aggies signed only Banks and Yulkeith Brown‍, though they did offer others. That would seem to indicate the big-play potential at receiver is believed to already be on the roster.

In that case, the Aggies would have all the pieces the complete a championship puzzle.

Discussion from...

Completing the puzzle: Adding big-play receiving threats key for Aggies

19,059 Views | 9 Replies | Last: 2 mo ago by 4
Crocker
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Baylor Cupp? Glaring omission, do you know something we don't?

Liked the article and think your points are valid, thanks.
Emilio Fantastico
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
You do realize this is an article about deep threat WIDE RECEIVERs and Baylor Cupp is a TIGHT END.
Crocker
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Hello Emilio - you know, I did originally have the same thought, that perhaps this was only pertaining to wide receivers, so I get your point. However, the author says the following regarding completion of the puzzle:

"To be more specific: Developing game-breaking deep threats that can provide big plays and force defenses to stretch out."

The word 'wide receiver' isn't used and the article refers to Smith as well as Spiller as deep threats, so you do realize THIS ARTICLE ISN'T ABOUT WIDE RECEIVERS ONLY.

Baylor Cupp is a 4/5 star athlete nearly identical in size to Jace Sternberger but much faster, according to the watch anyway. I'm not looking at stats but I can remember Jace going deep many times.

I figure Baylor can be a game-breaking deep threat. Could be wrong on that but ok.
adk9595
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
And an accurate deep-threat QB would help.
bfvp
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Interesting read.
BanderaAg956
How long do you want to ignore this user?
adk9595 said:

And an accurate deep-threat QB would help.

You mean someone that can do better than 3 of 49 deep?
Liberals are Damn Liars! Terminate Section 230! It has been ONLY 72!hours since my last banning for defending my conservative values against liberal snowflake cupcakes and the LIBERAL Mod’s that protect them! Fairness is a myth! Stop trying to silence us! Decent LAW ABIDING HUMAN BEINGS MATTER and so do our voices. When you protect the wicked, the Anarchist, the deviant, you become One of them!

ALL LIVES MATTER - I support police and motorcycle riders. Patriot Gun Owners Unite!
leardriver
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Quote:

In that case, the Aggies would have all the pieces the complete a championship puzzle.

Olin, you're a fine writer. Say 'Yes' to proofreading and editing.

CB, '67
Sometimes if you want a different answer, you have to ask a different question.
smudge14255
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
I may be more excited about Moose than anyone. Given Chapman is back to pre-injury form, having the following in the rotation as deep threats is pretty incredible: Chapman, Lane, Smith, Demas, Moose, Achane, and Spiller. Not to mention some others named in the article, but those I listed alone should keep defenses on their heels, no doubt.
Class of '00
Gig 'em!
4
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
adk9595 said:

And an accurate deep-threat QB would help.

Exactly. In order to have a deep threat wr, you have to have a QB that is willing to throw the ball deep.

I think everyone will be amazed at some of the WRs currently on the roster that magically "develop" into a deep threat next season.
Refresh
Page 1 of 1
 
×
subscribe Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.