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Texas A&M Football Recruiting

A&M's Mike Elko targeting 'quality, not quantity' in 2024 signing class

December 20, 2023
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A time for celebration but not a time for rest.

For Texas A&M's Mike Elko, there has been little time for sleep since being hired on Nov. 26.

"We had to hustle," Elko said. "And we've been hustling non-stop since we've been here."

On Wednesday, the weary-eyed head football coach took the time to enjoy the addition of 12 new Aggies on the first day of the early signing period.

"Today's a celebration," Elko said. "It's a celebration of a lot of hard work for these young men from start to finish in their career and all the people that helped them along their journey to ultimately fulfill their dream of signing a national letter of intent."

With much of A&M's 2024 class official, do not expect Elko to rest just yet.

"The group that we put together is really about quality and not quantity," Elko said. "When you're a new coach and a new staff, you have to make some serious decisions, and I think you can do a lot of things in your first 18 days that can really set your program back for a long time.

"The group that we put together is really about quality and not quantity. When you're a new coach and a new staff, you have to make some serious decisions, and I think you can do a lot of things in your first 18 days that can really set your program back for a long time.
- A&M head coach Mike Elko

"You can compromise values. You can go out and chase things that can make a splash, but at the end of the day, those things don't have long-term value. What we wanted to focus on was quality, and wanted to make sure that the young men we added to this program represented the direction we wanted Texas A&M football to go, and in that end, we did a phenomenal job."

The current signing period extends to Friday. Another opens on Feb. 7.

Elko hopes to make a few more high school additions while continuing to utilize the transfer portal.

"In this day and age, the portal is critical," he said. "There's obviously going to be a handful of kids that are going to be out there and still looking to sign in February, and if there's kids that we think add value, we're certainly going to go aggressively after every single one of those.

"The portal window is open and will continue to be open, so we're going to look to be very aggressive. We already have been to some degree and will continue to be so."

Elko also noted the smaller size of the 2024 haul.

"Obviously, as we move forward to 2025 and beyond, this is a short-numbered class, for sure," he said. "What we didn't want to do is add guys just for the sake of adding guys because I don't think that produces long-term results. We'll probably be a little bit more portal-heavy this year than we would want to be in any normal year, but it's the balance of the two that you're always seeking.

The Maroon & White have also welcomed six transfers since Dec. 10.

With regards to high school players, just four of A&M's 16 verbal pledges remain unsigned.

That includes five-stars Terry Bussey‍ and Dominick McKinley‍ — both of whom are expected to wait until February — as well as long-time pledges Dealyn Evans‍ and Tristan Jernigan‍, who plans to sign on Friday.

"Again, the moral of this story is really quality," Elko said. "A lot of real quality additions to this class, and again, between now and Friday, hopefully, we'll be able to add a couple more to it."

This week alone, three pieces joined A&M's 2024 class.

On Tuesday, Gainesville (FL) F.W. Buchholz DE Kendall Jackson‍ flipped from Miami.

Staying in the Sunshine State, Carrollwood Day teammates WR Izaiah Williams‍ and DE Solomon Williams‍ announced their commitments within minutes of each other on Wednesday.

"I think everyone understands what Texas A&M is about, but relationships are a huge part of recruiting, and they always will be," Elko said. "We have done everything we possible could to make this group as comfortable and confident as we could in the direction we were going."

In a class that spans from coast to coast, just six pledges hail from the state of Texas. Elko noted that is another anomaly.

TexAgs
A&M’s longest 2024 commit, Ashton Funk, was one of the first to make it official. 

"We had some geographic diversity, which is always going to be a big piece of how you recruit on this national stage nowadays," Elko said. "It will always start in Texas. Texas will always be primary, but we're going to have to have the ability to get out and identify prospects all over this country if we want to continue to elevate our brand and to help us grow."

Safety Jordan Pride‍ rounds out a quartet of Floridians. Quarterback Miles O'Neill‍ (New Jersey), tight end Eric Karner‍ (Illinois), linebacker Jordan Lockhart‍ (California) and Isendre Ahfua‍ (Washington) are also products of A&M's national reach.

Offensive linemen Ashton Funk‍ (Katy Tompkins) and Blake Ivy‍ (Clear Springs) signed with the home-state Aggies, as did Converse Judson safety Myles Davis‍ and Refugio ATH Ernest Campbell‍.

"Recruiting has to start inside out," Elko said. "I don't think there is any doubt about the fact that there's more NFL players that get drafted that are from the state of Texas every single year. There's more Division I signees from the state of Texas than there is in any other state every single year. This is our home base."

Elko's work currently extends well beyond roster management as he finishes building his coaching staff — including a defensive coordinator hire that could "come to light in the next 24-48 hours."

With so many moving parts, perhaps even Elko will find time to celebrate.

"The term used to be you're drinking out of a firehose when you take a new head coach job," Elko said. "I don't know if there's a term that actually applies to this... It's a challenge, to say the least, but certainly a challenge that we jumped into as best we could."

Just don't expect him to rest anytime soon.

Discussion from...

A&M's Mike Elko targeting 'quality, not quantity' in 2024 signing class

16,378 Views | 11 Replies | Last: 3 mo ago by Class of 65
fitzwatema
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I like Coach Elko's thought process on recruiting, he has a solid class so far.
SA68AG
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You gotta have both to win big.
RaggedConverge
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AGDAD14
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Sounds like a man who knows he has a long hard road ahead of him, with unrealistic expectations to dodge. I hope the best for him and his staff as they strive and persevere to bring "potential to reality" in Aggieland. Gig'em!
Cotton79
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I want to thank Jimbo Fisher for introducing me (us) to Mike Elko. For without that initial connection, I wouldn't have thought much about a coach from the east coast. Not bad thoughts, per se; just no thoughts. None. Nada. Zip.

BUT, I have liked everything that I've seen from Elko since he got here. His 2nd half adjustments as our DC told me volumes of his ability and skill. (Which Jimbo foretold.) When the chitchat and chatter finally rose to Mount Vesuvius status about vacating Jimbo's post, I immediately thought of Mike.

And now I am so, so glad he's in the driver's seat at Aggieland! This recruiting class?... 'tis nothing, really. Oh, the players are good, no doubt, and I'm grateful they chose to be Aggies. Yet, their introduction to Texas A&M is not even the 1st chapter of Mike Elko's role as the next Aggie Head Coach. It's barely the first couple of paragraphs of that 1st chapter, and I can't wait to see how this all maps out. It's gonna be quite the story!

Whatever it will become, it's gonna be good. Real good!

Gig'em, Mike Elko!
Gig'em, new Aggie football players, one and all!!

laruejd
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Look's like we are not quite replacing our 20 or so transfers.
laruejd
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Sounds like the same cool aid as 5 years ago. I will say I think Elko has more potential to win than Jumbo ever did. I was against the Fisher hire from day one.
Dreigh
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Translation: We will not have a large recruiting class, hope that's cool!
4
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I love how we are after quality not quantity when we have small classes, and stars don't matter when we can't get them, but they really matter in years when we can.

Never change, Texags.
Blackaudi
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Why are we losing all these recruits to the portal! This Blasphemy! And why do we only have 3 five star recruits for 2024?! All this money spent and facilities to recruit all these 3 star players?! WTF! It feels like a curse! We seem to be going backwards here! We can never seem to right the ship here!
Class of 65
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