Impact Freshmen for the Texas A&M Aggies’ Defense

By Scott Peceny
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Losing a player like DaMontre Moore is never easy to recover from.  Moore’s playmaking ability was matched by few last year, and his 12.5 sacks were by far the most by any Texas A&M Aggie.

But the Aggies must move on and try to replace Moore in addition to five other defensive starters this season.  The Aggies also lose DT Spencer Nealy, MLB Jonathan Stewart, OLB Sean Porter, CB Dustin Harris and FS Steven Terrell.

Half of the faces on Texas A&M’s starting defense will be new when the season starts, and the Aggies will be looking for players to step up into starting roles.  Many of these players will be returning players, but Texas A&M hopes they have guys in their 2013 recruiting class that can step in right away and make an impact as well.

The Aggies have several incoming freshmen that have the talent to play big minutes right away.  They may not have anyone who can replace Moore, but they have a few talented youngsters who can really play.

Their highest-rated recruit according to ESPN is DT Justin Manning.  Manning is a powerful pass-rusher, but at just 6-foot-2, 275 pounds, he needs to gain a little weight to play DT in the SEC.  He will likely take Nealy’s old spot anchoring the middle of A&M’s line at some point, and it could be as soon as this season.  The Aggies also recruited DT Isaiah Golden, who will factor into the DT battle as well.

The Aggies return only one starting linebacker in 2013, but incoming recruit Jordan Mastrogiovanni may be able to fill one of those holes in his freshman year.  Mastrogiovanni is the 7th-best ILB prospect according to ESPN and will look to fill Stewart’s vacated MLB spot.  Mastrogiovanni has good size and instincts, but needs to improve on his speed.

My last freshman playmaker is corner Noel Ellis.  Ellis has a nice combo of speed (4.6 40-yard dash) and size (5-foot-10) for a corner.  Ellis’ potential is huge, and he will be a factor at corner for the Aggies this year.

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