With Texas A&M taking a brief hiatus from the field concurrent to the school's spring break this week, we'll look back at notes and nuggets from the first five practices of spring football for the Aggies. Here's the second installment:
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas A&M defensive line coach Terry Price sent a clear message to his players this spring: Being where they were last year is not going to cut it this season.
The Aggies defensive line was part of a defense that ranked last in the SEC and in the bottom 30 nationally in many statistical categories.
"We're going to be completely different from last year, from the bottom to the top," junior defensive end Julien Obioha said.
Part of the Aggies' hopes for improvement stems from the influx of arriving talent, augmenting the defensive line's quality and depth. The Aggies signed five defensive linemen in the 2014 recruiting class, and four are on their way this summer. One is already on campus, and he's making waves in his short time practicing with the team: Zaycoven Henderson.
The four-star prospect from Longview (Texas) High School was the lone early enrollee among the Aggies' defensive line recruits, and stood out in the Aggies' first scrimmage of the spring on Thursday.
"Zaycoven Henderson was noticeable," coach Kevin Sumlin said. "He was with the [second team], but he's a guy that really needs the summer to get into football-playing shape, but there's no doubt that he's a very, very talented young man and is benefiting from graduating early."
At 310 pounds, Henderson certainly has the size desired for his position. Teammates have noticed his ability as well.
"That guy is very, very strong," Obioha said. "He has meat and potatoes. Henderson is just a strong guy. Strong, fast, athletic -- whatever is good about a D-lineman, Henderson has right now."
Given his good start to spring practice, it might not be a surprise to see Henderson earn some time with the first team when the Aggies return to the field next week. Obioha noted that Henderson's work ethic appears to be good, and his passion for improvement is evident.
"He's young and he's hungry to learn right now," Obioha said of Henderson. "That's one of the best things about him; he wants to get better. He has all the talent in the world. If he keeps his ambition up, he can do whatever he wants."
That's good news for Price and the A&M defensive line, which needs all the help it can get if it's going to improve this fall.