When Texas A&M left the Big 12 for the SEC, getting out of the shadows of the Texas Longhorns was just part of the reason. Since moving to the SEC the Aggies have been establishing a renewed identity as a potential football power and head coach Kevin Sumlin is running with it. Fans of the Aggies know when Texas A&M has received a verbal commitment from a recruit if they follow Sumlin on Twitter, as he will tweet a “YESSIR!” after receiving the good word. Just in the past few days there were three consecutive tweets with the same message, each coinciding with a new recruit on the board for Texas A&M’s latest recruiting class.
The other hashtag making the rounds through the Texas A&M social networks now is #WRTS, which supposedly stands for “We run this state.” Sumlin has not used the hashtag but others have been using it to help support the idea that Texas A&M is dominating the state of Texas when it comes to recruiting compared to both in-state and SEC rivals. So, where is the top talent in Texas heading?
Rivals.com ranks the recruits in each state for the Class of 2014. In Texas, the number one recruit, defensive end Myles Garrett, committed to Texas A&M. So did No. 9 defensive back Nick Harvey. Out of the top 50 players ranked in Texas, 11 are heading to Texas A&M. Essentially, one out of every five of the top players in the talent-rich state of Texas is heading to College Station to play college football. It continues with the Class of 2015 as well. According to the same Rivals ranking for 2015, 12 of the top 50 players in the state of Texas are committed to Texas A&M.
Seven of the top 50 players in 2014 from Texas will be Texas Longhorns. Four will join Baylor, fresh off a Big 12 championship. Two are heading to Texas Tech.
Alabama had a recruiting class widely regarded as the runaway winner, but just one of the top 100 players in the state of Texas will join the Crimson Tide. Of course, that would be the state’s number two recruit, defensive back Tony Brown. Four of the top 50 players in Texas are heading to LSU.
Is Texas A&M running the state of Texas? When it comes to recruiting, it sure seems like it. The question is for how long will that continue to be the case? Texas with a new head coach (Charlie Strong) should start getting back on track in short order, and when the Longhorns are back to battling for Big 12 championships the momentum could balance out a little bit. What Texas A&M will really benefit from would be a division title in the SEC West, and perhaps an SEC conference championship. Accomplish that and running the state could come with even greater ease.
Texas Tech officially announced the hiring of Mark Tommerdahl to be the new special teams coach for the Red Raiders on the staff led by Matt Wells. Tommerdahl takes on the title of associate head coach as well as special teams coordinator and assistant offensive line coach.
Wells previously had Tommerdahl as a special teams coach at Utah State in 2017. Tommerdahl spent the 2018 season as special teams and tight ends coach at Purdue. He has had previous stops at Cal, Louisiana Tech, Texas A&M, Alabama, TCU, New Mexico, Minnesota, and Wyoming during his coaching career since 1984.
During their one season together at Utah State in 2017, Wells and Tommerdahl had a special teams unit that ranked fourth in the nation in blocked punts and owned a top 25 kickoff return defense. Last year, Tommerdahl’s Purdue special teams ranked 39th in punting (while Texas Tech ranked 61st) and 29th in punt return defense (Texas Tech was 40th). Purdue kicked just one kickoff out of bounds last season, while Texas Tech kicked six kickoffs out of bounds.
One of Troy’s top defensive players will be looking to play somewhere new in 2019. Tron Folsom announced he will enter his name in the NCAA transfer portal to begin evaluating any potential options for his final year of eligibility on the football field.
“After talking it over with my family, I will enter my name in the transfer porta and re-open my recruitment as a graduate transfer in the spring,” Folsom said in a message posted on his Twitter account on Friday. “I have no specific schools in mind and will be open minded during this process.”
As a graduate transfer, Folsom will be eligible to play immediately for whatever his new program may be this fall. He will have just one year of eligibility remaining after playing in a total of 38 games for Troy over the past three seasons.
Folsom recorded 9.0 tackles for a loss among his 82 total tackles for the Trojans last season. Folsom also had three sacks and two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown.
After starting each of Maryland’s last 24 games, punter Wade Lees is ready to explore his potential options. According to a report on Friday, Lees has entered his name into the NCAA transfer portal, allowing him to be in contact with other programs who may be in need of a new punter on their football roster.
The oldest player in the Big Ten last season, Lees has one year of eligibility remaining.
Lees punted 67 times with a punting average of 40.93 yards per punt last season for Maryland. He punted five times inside the opponent’s 20-yard line in a game against Penn State last November. It was the second time he had downed five punts inside the 20-yard line in a game during his Maryland career. In 2017, Lees punted 64 times for an average of 39.23 yards per punt. Those numbers put him right about in the middle of the Big Ten punting categories with the second-highest average number of punts per game. Lees started for Maryland for all 13 games played in his freshman season of 2016 as well.
With Lees potentially on the move, Maryland’s roster has just one player listed as a punter on the official team roster published online. Bentley Faulkner, who did not appear in a game in 2018 as a true freshman, figures to take over the punting duties during spring football practices. Expect Maryland head coach Mike Locksley to try adding a punter before the fall, if just for depth as the worst-case scenario.
Technology is a wonderful thing. And because of it, we’ll all be able to witness to Mike Leach instructing his class this spring semester at Washington State. Specifically, the world will be invited to observe the final session of Leach’s course, Leadership Lessons in Insurgent Warfare and Football Strategies, in late April.
Leach’s course is an extracurricular course being offered by Washington State with four separate sessions beginning in late March. The course is only available to WSU students, of course, but WSU knows there is much to be gained by allowing Leach’s class to be viewed by others outside of Pullman.
According to a statement released by Washington State, the final session will summarize all four previous lectures and there will be a live Q&A session. Those watching the live feed will be invited to submit questions in text form for the Q&A too.