What John Chavis Means to Texas A&M


Since joining the SEC, the Aggies’ defense has been the primary reason keeping Texas A&M from winning a championship. Although a solid, unit in 2012, the defense was plagued by the graduations of senior leaders like Sean Porter, Spencer Nealy and Steven Terrell and the early departure of Damontre Moore.

The 2013 team included guys like Johnny Manziel, Mike Evans, Jake Matthews and Cedric Ogbuehi on the offensive side of the ball. Although two of those players will be remembered alongside the greatest to ever wear maroon and white, the pressure of always having to put up another score eventually became too much for even Johnny Football.

Dec 29, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Texas A&M Aggies defensive coordinator Mark Snyder speaks at a news conference for the Chick-fil-A Bowl from the Sheraton Hotel. Texas A&M will face off against Duke in the 2013 Chick-fil-A Bowl on New Years Eve. Mandatory Credit: Paul Abell-USA TODAY Sports

When Mark Snyder (defensive coordinator at Texas A&M from 2012-2014) was let go, it seemed apparent that Sumlin was going to go after a top-notch defensive coordinator. As the weeks went by, Aggie fans watched name after name crossed off the list. Hopefuls among fans were coaches such as Will Muschamp, Bud Foster, Brent Venables, but Ags everywhere (myself included) began to feel very worried as each of those men chose another job about the vacancy. Would the defense ever return to the Wrecking Crew days?

Then, the reports broke that John Chavis had officially been hired to coordinate the Texas A&M defense, and Aggies everywhere breathed a sigh of relief. It seemed like a dream come true – the only man who was 3-0 against Johnny Manziel was now roaming the sidelines donned in maroon. (Okay, technically, he sits up in the press box, but still). Nine months later, it seems every bit of the home run hire as it did in January.

Through two games, the Aggies have already looked vastly better, amassing nine sacks against an Arizona State team that several were giving serious consideration as a Playoff contender.

Sep 5, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies defensive lineman Daeshon Hall (10) celebrates after a defensive play during the fourth quarter against the Arizona State Sun Devils at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall have been the primary highlight of the revamped defense, cornerstones of Chavis’ aggressive scheme. But other players like JUCO transfer Justin Evans and running back turned corner Brandon Williams have been almost as impressive.

While Chavis’ results on the field have been the buzz around Aggieland for the last three weeks, the benefit of having him in maroon and white will extend far past this season.

Chavis coached at Tennessee for nearly twenty years, which included thirteen seasons as the defensive coordinator, including the 1998 season when the Volunteers won the National Championship. Chavis then was hired at LSU in 2009, right at the beginning of the SEC West’s dominating run as the toughest division in college football. While Chavis has a successful track record speaks for itself, Sumlin nabbed an added bonus as Chavis has proven he can outsmart what are among the most efficient offenses in the nation – the offenses that A&M will be tasked with beating this fall.

Chavis has also stated that he would love to conclude his career at Texas A&M. “Chief” is 58, and still has at least a decade of high-profile football ahead of him. We can ooh and ahh over the 2015 unit all we want (and deservedly so), but a step back shows that Chavis’s best defenses in Aggieland have yet to take the field. With a few classes of Chavis-targeted recruits, the defenses of the future should be even better than they are today.

Reports also surfaced this week that Chavis turned down a raise at LSU to come to Aggieland. The Tigers have been among the prominent banner-carriers in the SEC, and for Chavis to willingly leave Baton Rouge including a large sum of money to come to Aggieland says a lot about what he believes is possible under Kevin Sumlin.

Now, to be fair, A&M is also paying Chief upwards of 1.5 Million dollars a year, but the fact remains that Les Miles pulled out all the stops to keep Chavis at Death Valley.

Oct 11, 2014; Gainesville, FL, USA; LSU Tigers head coach Les Miles celebrates as he walks off the field after they beat the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. LSU Tigers defeated the Florida Gators 30-27. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

And failed.

Chavis now oversees a young, improving Aggie defense with big things on their mind.

The Aggies have been putrid on defense for two seasons, and it seems that Kevin Sumlin has found the man to lead them back to glory.

Is the Wrecking Crew here? Time will tell – it is possible that the defense will not put everything together this season.

But the most important thing is that the Chief is here.

And he doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.

Seventeenth ranked Texas A&M takes on the Nevada Wolfpack this Saturday at Kyle Field.

Nov 23, 2013; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; Texas A&M Aggies defense lines up against the LSU Tigers during a game at Tiger Stadium. LSU defeated Texas A&M 34-10. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports