Most everyone agrees on quite a few things with this year’s team in College Station. For example, the Aggies are not going to sneak up on anyone in 2013. Texas A&M will contend for the SEC West and be one of the host of five or so conference teams in the Top 25. And of course the date with the Alabama Crimson Tide on September 14 is the biggest game on their schedule.
But what has come into question over the past few weeks all centers around the Aggies’ depth. Things were looking great at the end of spring practice, but they have shifted quickly to where it seems the players are more worried about the team winning the Rant Sports Honey Badger Award than staying focused for a title run.
And of course you can’t have a conversation about Texas A&M without even the casual fan bringing up the ye ole question of who is going to be the Aggies’ Johnny Manziel in 2013? Which you know just irks the diehards.
But as you sit and think about it, who is the one player that you can pick out as you look over the Aggies’ roster to jump out and have a surprisingly important and break through year for another 11+ win season in the plains of Texas?
To this writer there is one man who clearly jumps out, and that man is running back Brandon Williams.
Williams was a five-star recruit out of Texas ranked as the No. 16 player overall in the 2011 class who ended up selecting the Oklahoma Sooners to start his college career. But after 219 yards on 48 carries in just eight games his freshman year in Norman, Williams decided to transfer back to his home state to play for A&M.
So, what does anyone know about this kid? Not much if anything to be honest. Is Williams going to produce like the stud he was in high school when his number is called or is he the guy who will put up mediocre stats for his career like he did with the Sooners as a rookie? He obviously didn’t push or impress Bob Stoops enough to get any extra carries.
There is no doubt Ben Malena is the starter in College Station. The senior did just about everything alongside Manziel last season, but there is also no doubt Williams will get a chance to make some big plays for the Aggies in 2013.
The formula to win in the SEC has turned into an offense that can spread defenses out, run uptempo plays and have a pair of running backs that try to see who can be the first to 100 yards rushing each game. Williams doing his best to shock and surprise SEC foes will be a key for A&M’s success this season. Not to mention it will help protect the Aggies’ biggest asset in Manziel.
So as the season kicks off, be sure to watch for number 28.
It very well could be the number that unlocks the key to an SEC Title or more in College Station.
M Shannon Smallwood is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the US Basketball Writers Association.
Follow him @woodysmalls.