Is Texas A&M actually running the state? YESSIR!

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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.

YESSIR

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.

Report: Baylor LB DeMarco Artis, WR Rajah Preciado leave team

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Baylor linebacker DeMarco Artis and wide receiver Rajah Preciado have left the team, according to a report from SicEm365The site reports that the pair leave the program on good terms; both players are still on the online roster as well as the paper roster that was distributed at Big 12 media days on Monday.

Artis was a rising sophomore from Sanford, Fla. He appeared in six games as a true freshman in 2017, recording one tackle and one hurry.

Preciado was a junior from College Station, Texas. Appearing in 18 games over his freshman and sophomore seasons, Preciado did not record a catch but posted 14 career tackles and returned one kickoff for 10 yards.

 

 

Former Ohio State defensive MVP Mike Kudla passes away

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Former Ohio State defensive end Mike Kudla passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, according to a Facebook post from his high school alma mater, Highland High School in Medina, Ohio. Kudla was 34.

Kudla signed with Ohio State in 2002 and immediately helped the Buckeyes to their first national championship since 1968. He would go on to become one of the top 15 sack artists in Ohio State history, a First Team All-Big Ten performer and Ohio State’s defensive MVP in 2005. He recorded 41 tackles, 11.5 TFLs and 9.5 sacks.

Kudla worked in business after football and eventually returned to Ohio State in 2012 as managing director of development for the Fisher College of Business. At the time of his death, Kudla worked as the owner of Core Plex, which “built medical facilities all over the country.”

“Despite his success on and off the football field, Mike remained humble and was extremely generous with his time and resources,” Highland school district director of communications Dawn Marzano wrote in the Facebook post. “He was always willing to share his experience and mentor youth. He was loved and respected by many and will be missed terribly.”

Lincoln Riley suggests there is a competition for QB that nobody should believe

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It’s a standard procedure for a head coach to suggest there is an open competition for any number of positions on a football team, but nobody seems to be buying the idea there is a competition at Oklahoma to replace Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield. And when one of the players supposedly in the running for the job has a lucrative baseball career on the table, the idea is a little more comical.

Kyler Murray was drafted by the Oakland A’s with the No. 9 overall pick in the recent amateur MLB amateur draft. His contract with the A’s guarantees him $5 million and still allows for him to play one more year of football, which Murray has stated is his plan at Oklahoma. Still, Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley addressed the quarterback situation at Big 12 media days on Monday and suggested Murray will have to win the job against redshirt sophomore Austin Kendall.

“Kyler’s not the quarterback yet,” Riley said when asked how the offense will change with Riley at the position following the departure of No. 1 overall NFL draft pick Mayfield to Cleveland. “There’s a really good competition going on and Kyler’s gonna have to fight like crazy to win this job.”

Sure. OK. Whatever you say, Riley.

It is worth noting Murray appeared in seven games for the Sooners last season with 18-of-21 for 359 yards and three touchdowns without an interception in backup duty for Mayfield. Kendall redshirted last season and was named one of the team’s Offensive Scout Team Players of the Year. Kendall did make appearances in two games in 2016 in a back-up role. While Kendall may have a bright future in Norman, few are willing to accept Oklahoma is welcoming back Murray to potentially be a back-up quarterback when he could jump right into his pro baseball career right now.

But this could just be nothing more than the latest example of a coach simply setting the tone for the offseason and holding the bar high for even the most talented of players on the roster. Riley may be blowing smoke, but it could also pay off in the long run of the 2018 season.

Tennessee DL Ryan Thaxton suspended, charged with domestic assault

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Tennessee defensive lineman Ryan Thaxton has been suspended by the football program after being arrested and charged for an alleged domestic assault of his girlfriend. The incident leading to the arrest and charge occurred over the weekend.

According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, Thaxton was arrested Sunday night and charged with domestic assault and false imprisonment. According to police records, Thaxton is accused of pushing his girlfriend to his dorm room while she refused to follow him. It is reported Thaxton than carried the unidentified woman to his dorm room and blocked the door so she could not leave as an argument continued inside the room.

“We are aware of the incident,” a statement from Tennessee read. “The student-athlete has been suspended from all team activities while law enforcement and the university investigates.”

Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt is scheduled to address the media at SEC Media Days on Wednesday.