Coaches have different systems.
Yeah, it's not my most original thought ever, but it's very true. It also shows up pretty clearly each year during recruiting season when one coach is fired. Just look at Texas A&M's first recruiting class under new head coach Kevin Sumlin.
Sumlin was able to build on what fired head coach Mike Sherman had built, which was a Top 10 recruiting class. However, as usually happens, once a coach is fired, his class gets pillaged by every other coach around.
That's what happened to high-profile recruits like Colin Blake and Bralon Addison, who could have been kept, but ended up switching commitments in the last few weeks. Addison, particularly, was a bad loss as he chose Oregon just before National Signing Day. The Fort Bend Hightower quarterback is dynamic, but was moving to receiver with the Aggies.
And maybe that's why he's no longer an Aggie recruit. Sumlin is an offensive whiz, and has a different template for his players than Mike Sherman. Though he lost Addison, Sumlin did add another highly regarded receiver in Thomas Johnson. Maybe Johnson, with his more typical size for the position, will fit better.
That's what the Aggies are certainly hoping. They managed to maintain a good haul, though the class fell short of the expected Top 10 finish. And yet, that finish isn't really what's important. After all, Texas has consistently pulled in Top 5 classes, but those recruits haven't added up to the same level of success as you'd imagine.
That's why recruiting is such an inexact process. Yes, the Aggies class may have lost some top players, but they may be better off in the SEC now because of the players they added.
Those players, like St. Louis defensive end Edmund Ray seem to be better suited for the rigors of an SEC schedule. A huge DE who can run? Sounds a lot like the guys Alabama has had on its defensive line the past few years, right? Devante Harris may be slight, but he's a heck of a cover corner, which should help against some of Florida and LSU's athletes.
It's not perfect, but it's a start. The only question is how many of the guys we'll see next season. Let's run through some of the most likely candidates.
Matt Davis, QB, Klein Forest - He'll be the highest-profile signee, because quarterbacks rule the roost on most teams. Plus, there is a good chance Davis will be starting next season. Rivals.com has his comparable player as Aaron Rodgers, which is a little lazy. He's got the size and athleticism like Rodgers, but with his lack of experience throwing the ball, that's a bit premature. Next season, Davis will probably be somewhere in between Tim Tebow as a freshman and Case Keenum in his first year of starting.
Trey Williams, RB, Spring Dekaney - With Christine Michael coming back for his senior season after that knee injury ended his season, there's little chance Williams will come in and take over as a 25 carry back. However, he could definitely make an immediate impact on special teams, especially on kick returns. One thing is for sure: he will be exciting.
Thomas Johnson, WR, Dallas Skyline - The Aggies lost Jeff Fuller, but will get Ryan Swope and Uzoma Nwachukwu back. Looking at Sumlin's Houston teams, you can see that may be too few receivers for his taste. While Swope will probably fill the Patrick Edwards role, Johnson could easily morph into the deep threat with that 4.4 speed. Still, 35-40 catches and 5 TDs would make Johnson a big contributor to the offense.
Edward Pope, DB, Carthage - The biggest question will be how the Aggie defense made out in this class. They got big, physical defensive linemen, a high-profile linebacker in Jordan Richmond, but the biggest area for concern is the defensive backfield. That's where a big player like Pope could help immediately. If he's both quick and a good hitter, he can probably step into the safety rotation pretty quickly.