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Texas A&M Aggies Preview 2022: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the Texas A&M season with what you need to know and keys to the season.
Texas A&M Aggies Preview
Head Coach: Jimbo Fisher, 5th year at Texas A&M, 34-14
13th year overall, 117-37, 2021 Preview
2021 Record: Overall: 8-4, Conference: 4-4
Offense, Defense Breakdown | Keys To The Season
Season Prediction, What Will Happen
Texas A&M Top 10 Players | Texas A&M Schedule & Analysis
Texas A&M Aggies Preview 2022
You want the most crazy-patient-fruststrated fans in college football? Try Texas A&M’s base.
They’ve been taunted by big, shiny, awesome-looking presents under the tree for decades, and they haven’t been allowed to unwrap them.
Everyone likes to throw out Texas as the program that has done the least with the most over the last several years, but it has a national championship and another title game appearance in the BCS/CFP era. It’s more like Texas has had everything at its disposal – including being in the Big 12, not the SEC -and yet somehow screwed it all up.
Texas A&M is actually the program that has accomplished the least with the most, and it’s not because it did anything wrong.
On the contrary, with the possible argument that moving to the SEC from the Big 12 might have kept it from a CFP appearance or two, it has done absolutely everything right.
It got the national championship-caliber head coach and provided him with the resources, financial stability, and the ten-year plan to play the long game so A&M could build everything up for long-term success.
And Jimbo Fisher has been fine. It’s hard to argue too much with a 34-14 record with three big bowl wins in four seasons, but he only has one year so far with fewer than four losses. That’s hardly anything new, though.
With last year’s 8-4 campaign, A&M has endured 23 out of the last 26 seasons with four or more losses. You lose four games at LSU or Georgia or Florida or Auburn, and Hugh Freeze pops up in some sort of a coaching search article.
A&M is getting the players. Fisher and company just came up with one of the greatest recruiting classes in the history of the sport – at least by the projections – but Georgia, Alabama, and LSU always bring in the big-time talents, too, and those three own the last three national championships.
To make things worse, six SEC programs have a national championship in the BCS/CFP era – so does Texas, so does Oklahoma – and Texas A&M is still hanging around with Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, and Kentucky in the No SEC Championship Appearance lounge sipping on rail drinks and enduring the DJ whose idea of a banger is Adele.
The coach is there, the talent is there, the money is there, the smarts to navigate the new era of college football is there, the will is there, the commitment is there, the fan base is more than there, the win over Alabama was there, and living rent free in Nick Saban’s head this offseason is there.
It’s ALL there.
All of the things the program has done to get this point is to position itself as the SEC’s next top dog once Alabama finally takes a step back. But for now, just getting to an SEC Championship and being a part of the College Football Playoff chase would do.
That might not happen in 2022 – all that young talent coming in might take a year or so to kick in – but there’s hope. There are reasonable expectations for national championship greatness coming around the corner.
It’s going to happen. There will be a payoff.
(Don’t mention the word payoff with Texas A&M around Saban, though.)
Texas A&M Aggies Preview 2022: Offense, Defense NEXT
Texas A&M Aggies Preview 2022: Offense
The Aggies have the talent, they have the athleticism, and they have the experience and depth. Now they need to be more explosive and even more consistent.
The style is to control the clock and dominate the tempo, but A&M didn’t do that as much as it would’ve liked to last year. The O was 11th in the SEC averaging 392 yards and 29 points per game, and there’s no reason to not hit 400 yards on a regular basis – it only did it six times – with the playmakers in place.
This will take all of fall camp to cement the quarterback situation, and it still might not be 100% settled in the early part of the season. Haynes King has the talent to be the slim favorite for the job – he threw three picks but lit up Kent State in the opener before getting hurt against Colorado – but LSU transfer Max Johnson looked ready this offseason to take over.
They’re both likely just buying time until super-recruit Conner Weigman is deemed worthy of making the gig his – that might be sooner than later.
The receiving corps has to be turned loose. A&M has a slew of downfield threats who need to be able to start stretching the field more.
Leading yardage receiver Jalen Wydermyer is gone at tight end, but Ainias Smith is a dangerous wideout who needs the ball in his hands even more – he led the team with just 47 catches with six scores. However, he was arrested on charges of DWI and unlawful carrying of a weapon – his situation is fluid.
Elite recruit Evan Stewart has to be a part of fun right away, Jalen Preston averaged 15 yards per catch, and Chris Marshall and Noah Thomas are two other great recruits who might be too good to keep off the field.
A&M doesn’t have another Wydermyer at tight end, but veteran Max Wright should be more than serviceable.
Leading rusher Isaiah Spiller is done, but track star Devone Achane led the team with nine touchdowns runs with 910 yards averaging a gaudy seven yards per carry. He’s the most dangerous back, Ainias Smith will get his share of carries, and Amari Daniels is a nice young back who finished third on the team with 119 yards.
The offensive line was okay at keeping defenses out of the backfield, and it paved the way for over five yards per carry. Three starters are expected back – not including Aki Ogunbiyi, who might be a breakout blocker in the interior if he can stay healthy.
As is, it might not be a star-studded front five, but it’ll be terrific around 6-4, 320-pound guard Layden Robinson, a pro prospect who’ll likely stick at right guard.
Texas A&M Aggies Preview 2022: Defense
How fast can the new guys be ready to roll? The Aggies finished 14th in the nation in total defense and third in scoring D as the the group had an unfair burden to carry. A&M was 7-0 when it allowed fewer than 20 points, and 1-4 when it didn’t.
The pass rush was great, the secondary made a lot of plays, and the run defense was good enough despite a few rough spots. Again, though, will the new stars be ready?
The Aggies lost just about all the stars off the defensive front, but Walter Nolan, Shemar Stewart, Gabriel Brownlow-Dindy, Anthony Lucas, and Lebbeus Overton are all NFL-caliber prospects who take center stage among the epic A&M haul of talent this recruiting season.
There might be veterans in place – McKinnley Jackson is a 325-pound potential wall in the interior and Tunmise Adeleye and Fadil Diggs need to shine on the ends – but the freshman invasion is coming.
The linebackers don’t get enough of the spotlight, but Andrew White is a good-sized hitter in the middle – he made 57 tackles last season – and Edgerrin Cooper can get all over the field from the outside.
The freshmen linebackers aren’t as talented as the linemen, but Ish Harris is a great-looking young linebacker who just needs to bulk up a bit, and Martrell Harris was an elite get for the outside.
Speaking of the new parts …
The secondary is the one area on the defense that doesn’t need the infusion of talent right away, but it got four great prospects in corners Bobby Taylor and Denver Harris and safeties Jacoby Mathews, Smoke Bouie, and Bryce Anderson – Harris and Mathews are the most promising of the bunch. They’re the depth, though.
Safety Antonio Johnson was second on the team with 79 tackles, Demani Richardson third with 65, and corners Jaylon Jones and Tyreek Chappell combined for 15 broken up passes.
There were a few rocky moments – Arkansas and LSU hit too many big plays – but the defensive backs allowed just 13 touchdown passes with ten picks.
Texas A&M Aggies: Keys To The Season, Top Game, Top Transfer, Fun Stats NEXT
Texas A&M Aggies: Keys To The Season, Top Game, Top Transfer, Fun Stats
Texas A&M Aggies: Key To The 2022 Offense
Get the downfield passing game going already.
The quarterback play was just okay, and there weren’t a whole bunch of chances taken down the field to open things up. That has to change, especially with the likely upgrade at quarterback no matter who ends up winning the gig.
Texas A&M’s receivers had plenty of good moments, and Jalen Wydermyer was a great talent, but considering the wideouts in place, it’s not necessarily a plus that a tight end was the leading yardage receiver with just 515 yards.
A&M has guys who can fly, and yet the passing game only averaged 12 yards per completion and a pedestrian 6.8 yards per pass. Compare that with the 7.8 yards per pass in 2020 when Kellen Mond was a senior and in control of the attack.
A&M was 5-0 last season when it averaged seven yards or more per throw.
Texas A&M Aggies: Key To The 2022 Defense
Let the kids play.
It’s not an insane exaggeration that at least half of the teams in college football would be ecstatic to have an all freshman starting 11 from the defensive stars in this Texas A&M recruiting class.
Of course there will be a few busts out of this group, and some will turn out to be overhyped, but for the most part there’s way too much ridiculous skill and talent coming in to not fold into the rotation.
Several of the four and five-star guys could use a few calories and a year in a college weight room, but considering all of the losses on the D line, and the need for good depth across the board, the faster this epic recruiting class makes a splash, the faster Texas A&M gets to where it wants to be.
Texas A&M Aggies: Key Player To The 2022 Season
QB Haynes King, Soph.
Or Max Johnson, or Conner Weigman.
Will Texas A&M finally get national-championship elite quarterback play under Jimbo Fisher? Kellen Mond was great. Even when he was at his best, was he Joe Burrow or Tua Tagovailoa, though? Nah.
Mond went off to be a Minnesota Viking, King was supposed to be the main man last year, got hurt, and he only threw 35 passes. Zach Calzada ended up being the leading passer, but outside of a brilliant performance in the win over Alabama he didn’t dominate the gig. Now he’s at Auburn.
King was a big-time recruit in the 2020 class with sprinter’s speed and a solid, accurate arm. It would’ve been great if he could’ve grown into the job, but a leg injury knocked him out.
Johnson is ready-made to win games for the Aggies, and Weigman would’ve been the star in this year’s recruiting class if not for all the defensive superstars. No matter who it is, A&M needs to be great at quarterback.
Texas A&M Aggies: Key Transfer
QB Max Johnson, Jr.
This is sort of by default since A&M didn’t do a whole lot of big things in the transfer portal.
Johnson coming to College Station was a little bit of a curious move considering the guys already in place, but he’s a proven playmaker who threw 35 touchdown passes and just seven picks in two years as one of LSU’s few positives. He might not have the mobility the Aggie offense might want, but he’s big, has a good arm, and he’s been through the SEC wars.
By the way, he hit A&M for 306 yards and three touchdowns in last year’s 27-24 Tiger win.
Texas A&M Key Game To The 2022 Season
Arkansas, Sept. 24 (in Arlington)
Of course the Aggies would rather get the win over Alabama than anyone else on the schedule, but in a build-up-to-the-main-event sort of way, first they have to get by Arkansas.
The Hogs won 20-10 last year, and that was followed up by an A&M loss to Mississippi State and then the stunner over the Tide. This time around, Texas A&M has to go to AT&T Stadium to deal with Arkansas, then go to Mississippi State, and then go to Alabama … and then go to South Carolina after getting a week off.
Losing to Arkansas again would set a bad tone for a long month of games.
Texas A&M Aggies: 2021 Fun Stats
– Sacks: Texas A&M 39 for 202 yards – Opponents 19 for 121 yards
– Fumbles: Opponents 15 (lost 5) – Texas A&M 9 (lost 3)
– 1st Quarter Scoring: Texas A&M 107 – Opponents 53
Texas A&M Aggies Season Prediction, What Will Happen NEXT
Texas A&M Aggies Season Prediction, What Will Happen
It’s all been sort of assumed that at some point in the near future Texas A&M will be 2021 Georgia or 2019 LSU and be the SEC team of the year to break through and be national-championship amazing – if it’s not Alabama.
However, outside of the 2020 pandemic year outlier – 9-1 A&M probably deserved a spot in the College Football Playoff, even with a relatively light resumé of wins – the program has just that one season with fewer than four losses since Mr. Manziel was doing his thing back in 2012.
A&M might have had an all-timer of a recruiting class, but it still has to replace just about everyone on the defensive front six, the offense has to be more explosive, and in a division with great-to-amazing quarterbacks among the other six teams, the position needs to be great fast.
And Texas A&M still plays in the toughest division in college football.
Set The Texas A&M Aggies Regular Season Win Total At … 8.5
Let’s assume there won’t be another bizarre performance like the close call win over Colorado last year. If that’s true, Appalachian State shouldn’t be a problem, and the Aggies should be able to slip past Miami.
Here’s the issue. A&M got Missouri and South Carolina last year from the East – winning the two games by a combines score of 99-28. This year it has to go to South Carolina and it gets an improved Florida.
The stretch of Miami, Arkansas in Arlington, at Mississippi State, at Alabama, at South Carolina, Ole Miss, Florida, at Auburn is unfair. That doesn’t include the date with LSU to end the regular season.
Give it one more year. The 2023 team should be all the fab freshmen from this year are ready to rise up and be amazing, but even so, the talent is there to push for ten wins, even if the schedule won’t help.