In a year's time, things have changed quite a bit for Texas A&M. Look no further than national signing day as evidence.
In 2012, much of the attention and concern regarding the Aggies' recruiting class heading into signing day was on whether the Aggies could hold on to one of their most notable commitments, ESPN 150 receiver Bralon Addison.
It didn't happen, as Addison flipped to Oregon and signed with the Ducks.
This year has represented a 180. Rather than wondering if a player might defect from the class, the Aggies and their fans are anticipating adding one, and possibly two, highly-touted prospects to their already stellar recruiting haul. The Aggies are ranked No. 7 in the ESPN Class Rankings heading into signing day.
ESPN 300 defensive end Torrodney Prevot, a USC commitment and four-star defensive end Daeshon Hall, a Washington commitment, will be making signing day decisions. The Aggies have a chance to land one of them, possibly both.
That would be some rich icing on an already impressive cake.
The class did have some defections either by way of decommitments (the Aggies had nine players who would potentially be receivers committed at one point and lost three of them) or qualification risks (ESPN 150 tight end Derrick Griffin won't be signing with the Aggies today). There's also a grayshirt in the class, as four-star offensive tackle J.J. Gustafson indicated Tuesday that he will enroll next January.
But overall, the Aggies have capitalized big time on their first-year success in the SEC.
Coming into signing day, the Aggies already had 10 players committed that were either in the ESPN 150 or ESPN 300. It is easily one of their best classes in years and perhaps one of the best in school history.
Needs are addressed all over the place. They needed receivers and they stocked up with five led by ESPN 150 duo Ricky Seals-Jones and Sebastian LaRue. ESPN 150 athlete LaQuvionte Gonzalez will likely be a slot receiver at Texas A&M, giving the Aggies a nice six-pack at the position.
With two linebackers graduating, LB was a need area and ESPN 300 inside linebacker Jordan Mastrogiovanni, a former Oklahoma commit, headlines a group of five in the class. Defensive tackle was also a point of emphasis, with depth needed there. ESPN 150 Justin Manning, ESPN 300 Isaiah Golden and three-star duo Hardreck Walker and Jordan Points will help shore things up there.
In the state of Texas, the Aggies have flexed their muscle. They have the top quarterback (Kohl Stewart), the top defensive tackle (Manning), the top inside linebacker (Mastrogiovanni), the top guard (Joas Aguilar), the top safety (Kameron Miles), the No. 2 receiver (Seals-Jones), the No. 2 athlete (Gonzalez). If they add Prevot, that would give the Aggies the state's top-ranked player at six different positions. Not bad for a team that used to rank behind Texas in recruiting rankings for years.
The Aggies have also shown the ability to go out of state and get quality players. Both LaRue and ESPN 300 cornerback Noel Ellis are out-of-state prospects, with LaRue hailing from California and Ellis in Louisiana. There are also players from Georgia, Tennessee and even Hawaii in the class as the Aggies are expanding their recruiting footprint.
Going 11-2 with an SEC schedule and having a Heisman Trophy winner can do that for you.
The job done by head coach Kevin Sumlin and his staff has been nothing short of impressive. And if the Aggies continue to have success on the field, this might only be the beginning of their success off of it.