Despite the fact that both of their defensive ends got drafted this past year, Texas A&M has the slight advantage on the defensive side of the ball as well. Yes, Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall were both NFL Draft selections, but the guys filling their shoes aren’t push overs by any means. Jarrett Johnson, Qualen Cunningham, and Cisco Jr College transfer Michael Clemons are the men who are looking to set the edge for the Aggie D. Each of these players have good experience.
When Johnson and Cunningham filled in last year, they played their heart out and made some good plays. Clemons has the potential to start as well. He made JUCO look easy and his humongous frame should make him difficult to block. Either way, the Ags are in good hands.
Linebackers and DBs
With a solid, young crop of linebackers Texas A&M is going to be quick to the ball and anxious to knock some heads. Where the Aggies look the strongest though, is their safeties. Armani Watts and Donovan Wilson have been making plays at Kyle Field for the past three years and improve each season.
Watts is projected to accompany Christian Kirk and be taken in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Watts is also the defensive captain for the Aggies and he was third in the nation two years ago in solo tackles. Both of these guys have tremendous run support skills and if they can do as much in the passing game, these two will be the original 12th Man’s own Legion of Boom.
The Longhorns have their own defensive stud as well. Malik Jefferson, the stud inside linebacker, is a two-year starter for the Horns and is looking to have his best season yet. With his already high draft stock increasing by the day, he knows that an exceptional junior year could lead to a bigger paycheck next April. Breckyn Hager is also entering into his junior year for the Horns. He led the team in total tackles last year and was third in the Big 12 in tackles for a loss. If he and Jefferson stay healthy then the opposition may have some issues.