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Texas A&M cracks ESPN’s way-too-early Top 25 rankings

The Mike Elko era at Texas A&M is filled with high expectations. Still, this time, said expectations feel much more rooted in reality, as the former Duke head coach is determined to bring the Aggies back to contention with a blend of toughness and determination coupled with yearly development.

Heading into his inaugural season, it’s okay to be unsure of how things will transpire on the gridiron, but after acquiring 22 players from the transfer portal while closing out the 2024 recruiting class with multiple key singing, including 5-star athlete Terry Bussey, we could be looking at a nine, or possible ten win season right out of the gate.

Avoiding Alabama and Ole Miss this coming season, Texas A&M’s schedule is manageable, barring overall health and how things translate on the field after six years under Jimbo Fisher. However, with the return of talented quarterback Conner Weigman and senior defensive lineman Shemar Turner to the fold, plenty of leadership presides on both sides of the ball.

On Tuesday, ESPN senior writer Mark Schlabach released his new “Way-Too-Early” Top 25 college football rankings, and what may come as a surprise to some of the Aggies fan base, Texas A&M comes in right at the finished line at No. 25. Here’s what Schlabach had to say about their inclusion:

“A little discipline and structure might go a long way at Texas A&M, which lost its footing under former coach Jimbo Fisher. New Aggies coach Mike Elko knows the program well after working as Fisher’s defensive coordinator from 2019 to 2021. Elko inherited a talented roster and added several key players through the portal.

Quarterback Conner Weigman gets new life and might flourish under new coordinator Collin Klein. The Aggies will have to identify a No. 1 receiver during the spring. Purdue transfer Nic Scourton led the Big Ten with 10 sacks last season, and Alabama cornerback Dezz Ricks is among eight defensive back additions through the portal. Versatile freshman Terry Bussey will start his college career in the secondary.”

While Nic Scourton and Dezz Ricks certainly stand out as the more intriguing portal additions, others, including cornerbacks Will Lee Jr., BJ Mayes, and Donovan Saunders, all possess the size and experience in the secondary that it is in dire need of a makeover after last year’s struggles.

Another underrated storyline resides at wide receiver, as the departure of Ainais Smith (NFL Draft) and Evan Stewart (transferred to Oregon) leaves a new opening at the No. 1 spot, as Moose Muhammad III, Jahdae Walker, and Noah Thomas will compete for the position starting next month, keep an eye on former Louisiana Tech WR Cyrus Allen, who brings a wealth of experience, speed and versatility to the table.

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Story originally appeared on Aggies Wire