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Texas A&M Football Recruiting

Recruiting Country: The latest recruiting news surrounding the Maroon & White

February 14, 2024
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TexAgs' recruiting analyst Ryan Brauninger joined TexAgs Radio on Wednesday morning for another edition of Recruiting Country, highlighting the latest news and notes from the recruiting and transfer portal trail surrounding Texas A&M.



Key notes from Recruiting Country

  • It doesn't seem like Mike Elko is built on cliches. No pre-rehearsed stuff he's got going on in his head. You can ask him about recruiting, NIL, the state of college baseball, and off-the-cuff, and he does a good job of it.

  • I have some insight on Elko because of my relationship with him and his son when they were here for the first time. I knew he was gonna be a huge hit with the fan base. He’s a real human being. You hear that coming off of these visit weekends we heard it from the Texas High School Association about how genuine and honest he has been with everybody since he's been head coach.

  • I knew how hard he was gonna work for this place. I knew how much being head coach would mean to him. I knew how seriously he would take the job. In his introductory press conference, he said there is no elevator. You have to take the stairs.

  • They are running strength and conditioning days where culture is built. Whatever happens on the field this fall, these days in February and March, being in spring practice, may be as important as what happens when fall camp starts. You have to start rebuilding the culture here.

  • It seems to me that now there is not a ton of recruiting going on, I think he's enjoying this time. He has his staff, recruited the heck out of the 2024 prospects and got it to the finish line with Terry Bussey‍, Ashton Bethel-Roman‍ and Robert Bourdon‍.

  • Then you think about the roster retention and how they went about it with the portal. Every waking hour, he had to spend on that stuff and not with his team, not building the culture. So I would imagine that to him, these days are super important, and they are way more fun than the days he's had leading up to this point because of what the day-to-day looks like.

  • Now, he can finally start coaching football. He understands in this day and age that there are a million other things going on in the age of college football, but I think at his core he wants to be out there coaching his team.

  • Right now, there is a lot of player evaluation on the class of 2025. Setting their big board at every position and mapping out, “We really liked this kid”. I always use your twins as an example. “We really like Christian Nuño. Where are we at in terms of... Can we get him? Here’s Cruz Nuño. I think we can get him. Is he a good fit here?”

  • There’s a lot of that background going on. They break that down with the organizational structure that he's got. He has people dedicated to digging in on these kids. Obviously, you have to reach a watermark to be recruited by Texas A&M, and I think with as much emphasis he has on culture right now, he has to get that right.

  • You didn't see them reach on questionable character kids late in the recruiting cycle in December and February. Bussey is off the charts as a kid. Bethel-Roman is a quiet kid who doesn't say much. Bourdon is a super high academic kid who was recruited by Stanford, Duke, Northwestern and Michigan.

  • I think that component of recruiting is vitally important to what he's doing and how they go about their evaluation. This is an important time because they are going to start calling kids, coaches, teachers, trainers, and youth football coaches to get a better idea of what this kid brings to the table off the field.

  • Ideally, in every sport, you want super talented low-maintenance players. Low maintenance is one of the most sought-after traits outside of raw talent. Then asking, “Is he high maintenance? Am I going to have to deal with him in my office two to three times a week? Are Mom and Dad going to call and be upset about something that happened in the weight room?Is he going to show up on time and go to class on time?” Those are low-maintenance kids, and that is a really highly sought-after trait in the job world too.

  • Year one results of a good season is a cherry on top. You’re going to put together the recruiting class on the basis of a vision because it's new and there’s some sizzle to it. There are people who are going to be patient with it. Because one, he is trying to rebuild a culture. Two, he is rebuilding a football team and trying to get it firing on all cylinders from an offensive and defensive efficiency standpoint.

  • The first thing is changing the culture, and people understand that. The changing world of college football, in terms of the roster and what you can do in one offseason, completely flip it. People expect results quicker.

  • I’ve been on the record a bunch of times saying just because you have really nice things, you see the construction every day doesn't give you a right to win things. It does raise the expectation level though. I think having all the stuff going on helps with his vision.

  • I think the NIL has jumped in front of facilities, but they are not off the table in terms of importance for families and kids, especially parents who want their kids to be taken care of. If you’ve had to cut corners on facility things to fund other things, then is your training staff up to the task of managing a roster that is up to 120 guys hurt and banged up?

  • It gives parents peace of mind that they have the facility to help them in every facet, and A&M has that. I think a successful year on the field will help. I don't think a run-of-the-mill 7-5 is going to hurt. They are going to do a good enough job of building relationships and selling the vision that I think will withstand some of that. I think they are in a good spot with some of their top targets as we head into the spring. 

  • I said Adam Cushing and Sean Spencer have their work cut out for them, not because they are bad recruiters, but because there is a prerequisite that you land and sign highly-talented players that can provide instant impact but also quality depth in this league.

  • You cannot win in this league without quality, depth and talent along both lines of scrimmage. That is not a cliche. That is a fact. I think they know that. 

  • We can start honing in on those 2025 names that the staff has completely already focused on that A&M has a good chance of getting. In my article, I listed off 12 names because that's kind of what we do here, but I went 6 offensive linemen and 6 defensive linemen. 

  • As things stand today, we know nailing down recruiting this far away from National Signing Day is an impossible target to hit. I think we were able to nail down where we think their priorities lie right now and that could change as we get out to the high school campuses and watch how these guys work out. But, there have been a lot of offers that have gone out based on tapes watched and very little in-person evaluation because that is what you have to do in the off-season. 

  • The stops that Elko made when he first was hired, most of those did not involve football stuff because the programs were just ending their seasons. It's mostly weight room stuff. When they go out and see kids they will see them with their own eyes and get to see some football stuff.

  • Connor Carty‍ is an interior offensive line prospect, who can be a really good center prospect. What most people don't know about him is he is a really good quality athlete. From what I understand, he can really jump. He can flat-foot dunk a basketball, and some of his testing numbers are really impressive in terms of his mobility and agility.

  • Everybody is getting used to names right now. We’re flipping the page to this cycle. Carty is one Jason Howell, and I are going to talk a lot more about because, based on conversations that we’ve had. I think he is rapidly rising up with A&M and other recruiting boards across the region because coaches are finding out that he is not only a technically proficient kid at a good quality high school program, but he has a high athletic upside as well. 

  • With Jackson Christian‍, we have steadily seen his stock rise. He measures in like a tackle at 6-foot-5, 310 pounds. He has a really long wingspan and powerful hands. He is off the chart academically. He plays with a lot of power. I think he has an offensive lineman checklist of attributes but plays more like an interior guy. he has a lot of versatility, and A&M and Texas are both after him. It might be a dog fight.

  • Michael Fasusi‍ is super impressive. A lot of folks think he is the best offensive tackle
    prospect in the country, but two prospects out of Dallas could make a similar claim.
     
  • Being the best offensive tackle prospect in Dallas this cycle means you are probably the best tackle in this country, and three guys have a claim to it with Fasusi, Ty Haywood‍ and Lamont Rogers‍. The A&M coaching staff would jump through hoops just to get those guys, and if they could somehow land just two of those guys, that would be huge.
     
  • If A&M can continue their resurgence in Dallas in general across all positions, getting those guys would plant a giant flag in the ground for Adam Cushing and Mike Elko.
     
  • Kamauryn Morgan‍ reminds me a lot of Malick Sylla coming out of high school. They have a very similar build, play style and both are just long sleek pass-rushers. He's going to have his hand on the ground. He always seemed to like the idea of playing for A&M regardless of who the coach is. A&M can flip the script in the DFW area with this recruiting class.
     
  • Smith Orogbo‍ is an absolute menace on tape. He went from almost completely unknown in November to one of the most offered kids in the state of Texas. He plays similarly to Michael Clemons. He just bullies people with some twitch and power.
     
  • Landon Rink‍ forklifts people and recreates lines of scrimmage against some of the best offensive lines in the city of Houston. He has a super high motor, a way better version of Spencer Nealy coming out of high school. His dad played at Texas, but he has been very open to going to a school that best fits him, and Texas A&M is very much among those schools he’s looking at.
     
  • Rink is a sensational player. When I'm looking at the city of Houston, on my big board of who I want A&M to go after, Landon Rink might be No. 1 on my board.
     
  • Michael Riles‍ is probably the best prospect in Southeast Texas. He reminds me of Dealyn Evans‍, and he makes a ton of plays in the backfield. His coaches think he will be a high-impact Power 5 player. The A&M coaching staff garnered a quick favor with him when they got to College Station, so much so that we were thinking, “Do we need to get stuff ready for this kid to commit?” He’s slowed things down since but will be back in College Station around the spring game. Both sides are feeling each other out right now, but he is a kid I can see in the class at some point.
     
  • DJ Sanders‍ is special. How many 300-pounders do you see move like that? He’s just now getting to the point where he’s harnessing his power and athleticism. It’s the perfect mold for a big-time, game-changing, interior defensive lineman.
     
  • At 6-foot-4, 300 pounds, Sanders has bouncy athleticism. The first time I saw him play I watched him warm up, and he was moving like he was 180 pounds. It’s insane to watch him move. There are some clips on tape where he chases down the ball carrier across the field, plucks the football from the guy like he’s an infant child, and then outruns the other team to the endzone.
     
  • When you watch Sanders open up and run at 300 pounds, he’s just gliding, and he’s a sensational prospect. I’ve been doing this a while now and he has as high of a ceiling as any defensive tackle prospect I can remember. That’s talking about guys like Marvin Wilson, Ed Oliver, T’Vondre Sweat, some of these guys that have been really big impact players, and I'm struggling to find one with a higher ceiling than DJ Sanders. He’s pretty gifted.
Discussion from...

Recruiting Country: The latest recruiting news surrounding the Maroon & White

8,289 Views | 5 Replies | Last: 2 mo ago by Allen76
Bill Superman
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AG
Best write up in a while. Elko's about to pull the rug on the SEC.
TAMU74
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AG
Nice report.
Thanks
DeerSlayer
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one of the best articles I have seen written on TexAgs!
lagoag
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Thanks Ryan, great read.
Allen76
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AG
Wow...a bunch of grown men in that report!

I had to laugh out loud at DJ Sanders video when he twice took the ball away from the opponent and ran it back for a score. The second one was so much like the first one, it just struck me as something hilarious.
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