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Katy four-star defensive end Malick Sylla, left, and four-star defensive back Bobby Taylor, right, pose for a photo together during Early Signing Day at Katy High School on Wednesday morning. Sylla and Taylor are part of a Texas A&M recruiting class that was ranked third nationally entering the day.
Texas A&M football entered Early Signing Day on Wednesday with its 2022 recruiting class ranked third nationally, according to 247sports.com. It’s possible when it’s all said and done that the Aggies could have the top class in the country.
Texas A&M is a hot ticket these days among Greater Houston area recruits like Bridgeland five-star quarterback Conner Weigman, Fort Bend Marshall four-star receiver Chris Marshall, and Atascocita four-star offensive lineman Kam Dewberry, among others. Head coach Jimbo Fisher has serious momentum. He is a national championship coach, having won at Florida State in 2013, and has signature wins over Alabama and LSU during his tenure in College Station. His passion for Texas A&M and his approach toward players are difficult to ignore.
VYPE : @KamDewberry talks with VYPE after committing to the Aggies. \n#txhsfb #EarlySigningDay \n(@KPRC2RandyMc @DavidNuno @kbtxsports @TexAgs @BarstoolTexasAM @ConnerWeigman @AlexMill20 @AggiesToday @KBTXDonnie @MaxPreps @247Sports @Perroni247 @HumbleISD @HumbleISD_AHS)pic.twitter.com/FZVh7Iyjem — VYPE Houston (@VYPE Houston)
But no matter how much success A&M has garnered in recruiting—and Fisher has three consecutive classes ranked in the top 10 nationally entering 2022—it hasn’t translated to meaningful postseason success. Under Fisher, the Aggies have been to the Gator Bowl twice, the Orange Bowl once, and the Texas Bowl once. A&M has not won a national title since 1939 and has won 10 or more games in a season just twice since 1999.
Even this season, the Aggies are ranked No. 25 in the country, 8-4 heading into the Gator Bowl on New Year’s Eve.
So, what is it, exactly, that makes the Aggies so attractive to recruits?
“The environment, for one,” Katy four-star defensive back Bobby Taylor said. “The 12th Man. Of course, the winning aspect of it. Coming from a winning program, of course I wanted to go to a program that was winning. I didn’t want to go somewhere to feed off the winning by itself, but somewhere I can be a part of something to build to it.”
Added Clear Springs four-star receiver Noah Thomas: “It’s the facilities, the bond with the coaches. A whole bunch of stuff. I know a lot of dudes going here and it’s going to be a lot of fun. They’re trying to bring in the Texas boys and represent. It’s going to be a big recruiting class. Just wait on it.”
VYPE #EarlySigningDay : @ClearSpringsFB WR @Thomas3Noah talks with VYPE about signing with the Aggies on Wednesday. #txhsfb #GigEm #NSD22 \n\n(@KPRC2RandyMc @DavidNuno @kbtxsports @TexAgs @BarstoolTexasAM @ConnerWeigman @AlexMill20 @AggiesToday @KBTXDonnie @ClearSpringsHS)pic.twitter.com/xJh3yTRNXT — VYPE Houston (@VYPE Houston)
Texas A&M certainly has its perks. It is close to Houston, a little more than an hour and a half drive. And for the lack of significant postseason success, the Aggies do win. Since Fisher got to College Station in December 2017, Texas A&M has gone 9-4, 8-5, 9-1 and 8-4. Twice, the Aggies have finished second in a hellacious SEC West.
“It felt like a second home,” Katy four-star defensive end Malick Sylla said. “It was an environment I wanted to be in. I knew I could go in, work and hopefully win a national championship.”
Fisher knows how to appeal to players individually and their own goals, which worked with Taylor and Dickinson four-star tight end Donovan Green.
“I get to play early,” Taylor said. “That was the biggest thing for me. I could come in here my senior year, get things done here. One thing I benefited from was doing summer school last year so I could enroll early, play spring ball, develop my body. Stuff like that.”
“You can always say whatever you want, but actions are going to go farther than your words,” Green said. “He’s (Fisher) shown me how much they use tight ends and how they can produce them at a high enough level to go to the next level. You can’t beat that. Being that they are so close, and, again, they are at another level getting the ball to the tight ends, there’s just not a better place for me.”
The Aggies’ being oh-so-close to turning the corner and becoming a consistent force to be reckoned with is also endearing. Recruits like that A&M wins. But, as Taylor said, they want to be a part of the team that puts the program over the top and in the same sentence with the Alabamas and LSUs of the world.
“A couple of days before I committed, it was just me and (teammate) Donovan (Green) just talking,” Dickinson four-star offensive tackle PJ Williams said. “I had A&M in my top three and I told him I just wanted to commit. I wanted to build a dynasty there. So, after that day, we just talked and both agreed if it was A&M we both agreed on, we wanted to go there together. That was our chance and that was our ride.”
There is a distinct vibe at Texas A&M with recruits. It’s the spot. It’s the place to be. The Aggies’ Class of 2022, which includes nine Houston area talents, is proving it.
“It was the best family atmosphere I got out of everybody else,” said Dewberry, who chose the Aggies over Texas and Oklahoma on Wednesday afternoon on ESPN. “I felt home.”
(VYPE Media managing editor Joshua Koch contributed to this report).
Katy three-star linebacker Ty Kana poses for a photo with his parents on Early Signing Day on Wednesday morning at Katy High School.
It didn’t take long for new Texas Tech football coach Joey McGuire to make an impression on Katy three-star linebacker Ty Kana.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Kana decommitted from the University of Southern California on Oct. 25. He ultimately found a football soulmate in McGuire, a highly regarded leader in Texas high school and college coaching circles who was hired to lead the Red Raiders on Nov. 8.
“I like Coach McGuire,” said Kana, who held 13 offers, including Baylor, Oklahoma State, and SMU. “I like what he’s building over there. That program has the opportunity upon it to become a powerhouse. The recruiting class Coach McGuire has gotten in the past month … he’s got the recruits. We’ve got the talent.
“Things are going to change in Lubbock pretty soon.”
.@FootballKaty three-star LB @tykana42 talks about @JoeyMcGuireTTU, signing with @TexasTechFB, playing at Katy High, and more. #txhsfb #EarlySigningDay @KPRC2RandyMc @texashsfootball @RedRaider_FB @RedRaiderSports @KatySportsMed @Katyfootball @KatyISDAthleticpic.twitter.com/XixWJtF2n7 — VYPE Houston (@VYPE Houston)
McGuire got his start in the high school ranks. He led Cedar Hill to three state championships in 2006, 2013 and 2014 before going to Baylor. He was an associate head coach and linebackers coach with the Bears before accepting the gig in Lubbock.
“His brand of football, going all the way back to his high school days at Cedar Hill, is freaking physical, hard-nosed, put your head down and work,” Kana said. “That kind of football, like what we pride ourselves on here at Katy. He likes that, and I liked seeing that he’s going to put that on his program at Texas Tech. That’s one of the things that stood out to me.”
Kana was a three-year letterman and team captain at Katy. He compiled 304 total tackles with 31 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries and a fumble caused in helping lead Katy to a 39-3 record over the last three seasons and the 2020 Class 6A-Division II state championship.
“There’s nothing in the world I would trade for my time as a Katy Tiger,” Kana said. “It’s been a great four years. Lots of memories, lots of teammates that have come and gone. It’s been a wild four years for me.”