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Houston adding pair of P5 safeties via transfers

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New Houston head coach Dana Holgorsen is busy compiling his first football roster with the Cougars. Two new additions to the roster will come from a pair of power conference programs with the additions of safeties Thabo Mwaniki and Jordan Moore.

According to a report from Tulsa World, Mwaniki is heading to Houston after making his decision to leave Oklahoma State last November. After starting the first four games for the Cowboys, Mwaniki was reduced to a backup role in the Cowboys defense.

Moore, who previously played at Texas A&M, announced his decision to transfer to Houston on Sunday night with an image on his Twitter account. The image of Moore in a Houston football uniform included the message “New chapter,” thus noting he was ready to start with a clean slate with the Cougars. Moore announced his decision to transfer from the Aggies just before Christmas.

Moore will be required to sit out the 2019 season and will be eligible to play again beginning in 2020 due to NCAA transfer rules. However, because he only appeared in four games for Texas A&M in 2018, he can preserve a year of eligibility under the NCAA’s redshirt rule. That would make him a redshirt sophomore in 2020.

Mwaniki still has a redshirt option to use as well. Mwaniki appeared in seven games for Oklahoma State last season so he would have to use his redshirt year for the 2019 season, which he would have to sit out anyway due to NCAA transfer rules. Mwaniki will have two years of eligibility to use at Houston.

Stanford’s Kaden Smith opts to leave early for NFL

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For the second time this year, one of the most talented tight ends in the country has decided to ply his football wares at the next level.

Early Tuesday afternoon, Jace Sternberger used Twitter to announce that he’s leaving Texas A&M early.¬† On the same social media website a short time later, Stanford’s Kaden Smith confirmed a similar decision as he wrote that, “after much thought and discussion, I have decided to forego my senior year and declare for the 2019 NFL Draft.”

Despite missing the last three games because of an injury, Smith caught 47 passes for 635 yards and a pair of touchdowns this season.    He was third on the Cardinal in both receptions and receiving yards.

The 6-5, 252-pound Smith will finish his time down on The Farm with 70 receptions for 1,049 yards and seven touchdowns.

Nearly a year ago to the day, fellow tight end and former Smith teammate Dalton Schultz announced that he was declaring early for the draft.

Texas A&M’s Jace Sternberger to forego senior season, enter draft

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One of the top tight ends in the nation has decided to take his leave of College Station and ply his football wares at the next level.

On Twitter early Tuesday afternoon, Jace Sternberger announced that he is “foregoing my senior year and declaring for the 2019 NFL Draft.” “Aggieland is a special place, and I will always be proud to be an Aggie,” Sternberger wrote to end his social media missive.

Sternberger’s announcement comes a day after A&M woodshedded NC State in the Gator Bowl.

Sternberger, who began his collegiate playing career at Kansas before transferring, leads all tight ends nationally in touchdown catches this season with 10 and is second at 17.3 yards per catch (among tight ends with at least 20 receptions).¬† His 48 catches are sixth at the position, while his 832 receiving yards were second to UCLA’s Caleb Wilson’s 965.

He was named a consensus first-team All-American at the conclusion of the regular season and was also a finalist for the 2018 Mackey Award won by Iowa’s T.J. Hockenson.

No. 19 Texas A&M closes Year 1 of Jimbo era by blasting NC State in Gator Bowl

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Jimbo Fisher¬†is still finding his way in the big, bad SEC, but he’s still got this ACC thing figure out. His 19th-ranked Aggies scored the final 45 points to race past NC State 52-13 in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl in Jacksonville on Monday night.

Texas A&M opened the game with a 2-play, 71-yard drive that was all Kellen Mond. Texas A&M’s first snap was a 9-yard pass from Mond to¬†Kendrick Rogers, and its second a 62-yard Mond touchdown run.

NC State (9-4) responded with a 13-0 run, aided greatly by a Mond interception inside A&M territory. His tip passed landed in the arms of Wolfpack defensive lineman¬†Eurndraus Bryant¬†at the Aggies’ 27-yard line, setting up a 9-yard¬†Ryan Finley¬†pass to¬†CJ Riley. Two¬†Christopher Dunn¬†field goals, from 43 and 49 yards, put NC State up front 13-7 at the 10:45 mark of the second quarter, but Texas A&M seized the lead back with a run of its own.

A 28-yard strike to tight end¬†Jace Sternberger¬†and a 30-yard rush by¬†Trayveon Williams¬†put the ball at the NC State 2, leading to Williams’ 2-yard plunge to put the Aggies back in front.

After an NC State three-and-out, Texas A&M went 72 yards in 11 plays, closing on a third-and-goal 6-yard strike to Rogers with 32 seconds left in the first half. Mond led all players in passing and rushing, connecting on 13-of-23 passes for 142 yards with a touchdown and a pick while rushing for 82 yards and another score on four carries.

Finley tried to serve up more points to the Aggies by tossing a late interception, but¬†Seth Small‘s 52-yard field goal on the final play of the first half sailed wide right.

That theme continued in the second half, when Finley was picked by A&M linebacker Tyrel Dodson, who took the ball 78 yards for a touchdown.

Williams put the game away for good by posting consecutive touchdown runs on A&M’s next two possessions, a 17-yarder and then a 93-yard that put the Aggies up 42-13 at the 13:56 mark of the fourth quarter. He finished the game with 19 carries for 236 yards and three touchdowns.

After a 35-yard Small field goal, the Aggies closed the game with a rushing touchdown by 12th man Cullen Gillaspia with 22 seconds left in the game.

Texas A&M out-rushed NC State 401-134, while Finley finished his college career hitting 19 of 32 passes for just 139 yards with a touchdown and two picks.

Fisher’s 9-4 debut matches the second-best showing by Texas A&M in seven seasons of SEC membership. The Gator Bowl’s Dec. 31 kickoff was perhaps fitting for the maroon and white, as they close 2018 with a sign that 2019 will become the Year of Jimbo.

Late surge puts No. 19 Texas A&M ahead of NC State in Gator Bowl

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Kellen Mond bookended the first half with touchdowns to give Texas A&M a 21-13 halftime lead over NC State at the Gator Bowl.

The Aggies opened the game with a 2-play, 71-yard drive that was all Mond. Texas A&M’s first snap was a 9-yard pass from Mond to¬†Kendrick Rogers, and its second a 62-yard Mond touchdown run.

NC State responded with a 13-0 run, aided greatly by a Mond interception inside A&M territory. His tip passed landed in the arms of Wolfpack defensive lineman¬†Eurndraus Bryant¬†at the Aggies’ 27-yard line, setting up a 9-yard¬†Ryan Finley¬†pass to¬†CJ Riley. Two¬†Christopher Dunn¬†field goals, from 43 and 49 yards, put NC State up front 13-7 at the 10:45 mark of the second quarter, but Texas A&M seized the lead back with a run of its own.

A 28-yard strike to tight end¬†Jace Sternberger¬†and a 30-yard rush by¬†Trayveon Williams¬†put the ball at the NC State 2, leading to Williams’ 2-yard plunge to put the Aggies back in front.

After an NC State three-and-out, Texas A&M went 72 yards in 11 plays, closing on a third-and-goal 6-yard strike to Rogers with 32 seconds left in the first half. Mond led all players in passing and rushing, connecting on 13-of-23 passes for 142 yards with a touchdown and a pick while rushing for 82 yards and another score on four carries.

Finley tried to serve up more points to the Aggies by tossing a late interception, but¬†Seth Small‘s 52-yard field goal on the final play of the first half sailed wide right.

NC State will take the ball to open the second half.