As the 2012 season approaches, GigEmNation will take a look at where the Aggies stand currently and in the future at each position group. Today, we glance at the linebackers.
Porter, Stewart and Jenkins entered camp as the starters with the 6-foot-4, 244-pound Stewart manning the middle. Porter and Stewart are both seniors and linebackers coach Matt Wallerstedt cited both as leaders. Porter had a team-high 9.5 sacks and a team second-best 17 tackles for loss last year and is a preseason first-team All-SEC selection by the league's coaches. Stewart led the team with 98 tackles last year from the inside linebacker position while starting all 13 games. Jenkins, a 6-2, 220-pound junior, is coming off a 61-tackle season in which he earned honorable mention Big 12 defensive newcomer of the year honors. Sophomore Donnie Baggs, is a talent who has shown flashes but needs to become more consistent, according to Wallerstedt. Ward appeared in nine games last year as a true freshman and is an "SEC-looking Mike linebacker" at 6-2, 244, according to defensive coordinator Mark Snyder. Richardson, a true freshman from DeSoto, Texas/Desoto, has been getting positive reviews from teammates on his offseason.
Taylor, a 6-4, 212-pound sophomore, appeared in 10 games last season as a true freshman. He'll be able to provide speed at the outside linebacker spot as he continues to grow. The Houston/Galena Park product is the brother of true freshman defensive end Tyrone Taylor. Richmond, a 6-3, 225-pound true freshman from Denton, Texas/Ryan, has been getting similar positive comments from teammates and coaches like fellow freshman linebacker Richardson when it comes to work ethic and athleticism.
Wade, a 6-2, 220-pound inside linebacker from Kennedale (Texas) High is the 14th-ranked inside linebacker in the country and 40th-ranked prospect in Texas. He's a good run-defender with good enough athleticism for passing downs. Chevis (Houston/Sharpstown), is also a four-star inside linebacker. At 6-2, 235, Chevis ranks 19th at the position and 50th in Texas and is a strong tackler. Claiborne, a 6-1, 220-pound player out of Port Allen (La.), is ranked 32nd nationally among inside linebackers but will likely figure in as a weakside linebacker when he arrives at Texas A&M. Williams, the 52nd-ranked inside linebacker in the country. The 6-1, 215-pound athlete is an instinctive player with a good blend of size and speed. Also keep an eye on safety commitment Shaan Washington. While he's projected to be a safety for the Aggies, he's willing to play anywhere and could be a future outside linebacker for Texas A&M.