Welcome to the new world of Texas A&M recruiting.
It's a world where the Aggies can seemingly go anywhere and have a real shot to get a player they want. Head coach Kevin Sumlin spoke in the offseason of expanding his team's recruiting footprint beyond just Texas and Louisiana and into states that are considered "SEC country," and even nationwide.
SEC country is precisely from where ESPN 300 receiver Tony Stevens (Orlando, Fla./Evans) was plucked. Texas A&M got involved with the former Florida State commitment earlier this fall, secured an official visit then blew the 6-foot-4, 184-pounder away when he took in Aggieland.
Yes, the Aggies have higher-ranked players in their recruiting class, but every ESPN 300 member they've scored -- including tight end Derrick Griffin and athlete Ricky Seals-Jones, both of whom will likely end up at receiver -- is from their home base of Texas or neighboring Louisiana.
Stevens is representative of what the success of this season, a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback and the exposure the SEC provides can do for the program in recruiting circles. Stevens freely admitted earlier this week during practices for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl that he wouldn't have considered the Aggies if they weren't in the SEC.
“I never had interest in Texas A&M [before the move]," Stevens told RecruitingNation’s William Wilkerson.
Stevens is the first prospect from the state of Florida in the Aggies' 2013 class, which now sits at 35 commitments. But the Aggies also scored three players who hail from Georgia (via junior colleges and a prep school) and one each from Alabama, California, Hawaii and Tennessee.
Sumlin's plan to take Texas A&M recruiting nationwide is happening in a big way.