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January 17, 2006

Filling big needs

Coming off a 5-6 season, it's not hard to understand why some Texas A&M fans are getting restless in the winter months. On the other hand, there is plenty to watch for because the goal in College Station remains the same from coach Dennis Franchione: to finish strong with some top prospects in the final weeks before Signing Day.

Looking back at some of the last few classes for the Aggies, there have been some star-studded groups when considering both the 2005 and 2004 hauls. The Aggies came in at No. 13 in the nation during 2004 and No. 8 in 2005. It certainly helped to bring in top prospects like five-star tight end Martellus Bennett and four-star running back Jorvorskie Lane.

Even though the Aggies sit at No. 29 for this year's class, many believe that more needs may actually be met with this year's group. If another top linebacker and running back join this class, it may actually benefit the Aggies more in the long-run regardless of ranking versus the nation.

Texas A&M still remains a player for running backs like Mon Williams and Michael Goodson. The recent commitment of Dallas back Cornell Tarrant means that if a blue-chip running back is added, it would be the fourth of the class and be a successful running back group to say the least.

Like any other program, the Aggies have had to deal with the circus ride of recruiting. The example is definitely the recent commitment of Lufkin all-purpose back E.J. Shankle. Shankle, who may see time at receiver or another position still doesn't completely fill the need of a top runner.

If that wasn't enough, it looks like LSU may not be completely out of the race and a Signing Day surprise isn't out of the question.

At linebacker, the Aggies have already gathered the pledge from four-star Anthony Lewis. With the recent news of junior college linebacker Larry Grant not heading to Florida after all, A&M has the chance to land not only one but possibly two four-stars with Michael Morgan still a heavy possibility.

Both would fill vast needs for the Aggies' class, but then comes the question of how many spots are remaining. By the way things look at this point, four or five spots are open and may all be filled as we head down the home stretch.

Defensive backs have been a priority and were filled with some top players like four-star junior college safety Jarius Neal. However, his commitment came right before the de-commitment of four-star safety Malcolm Williams who made the switch to Oklahoma.

The quarterback position may actually be an interesting one to end the process. While it looks as if long-time commit Jerrod Johnson will get a shot at the position, the Aggies are also making a push for Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame gunslinger Garrett Green.

A recent offer from Southern Cal certainly does not help things, but it looks like the 6-foot-2, 190-pound top QB in California will be deciding on if he'll take a visit to College Station or not very soon.

While the battles continue for the remaining targets on the board, it looks like regardless of national ranking, the Aggies may be winning the war when it comes to filling the individual needs of their program with their 2006 class.


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