Texas A&M Football: 5 most important Aggie freshman in 2017

(Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) /
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Texas A&M Football
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3. Tyree Johnson | Defensive end

3-Star, St. John’s College High School (Washington D.C.)

It would be nice if Tyree Johnson was a Myles Garrett or even a Daeshon Hall clone that could slide into one of the open defensive end spots and terrorize opposing quarterbacks immediately. He’s not quite that explosive, at least not yet.

The Washington D.C. defensive end will be a quality depth piece in 2017. Why does he rank so high on the list if he’s not going to start? Because depth on the defensive line is critical in the SEC. It’s a league won and lost in the trenches. When Myles Garrett went down last season there were healthy bodies able to fill in during his absence.

More: What does the Defensive End depth chart look like in 2017?

Johnson will be one of the fill-ins this year. It’s not that he doesn’t have the talent to start; he’s expected to take over one of the starting roles in 2018. Yet he needs a bit more muscle on him before he’s ready to go out and duel with the best of the offensive tackles in the SEC. A few weeks in the weight room will help Johnson cement himself as a key contributor off the bench. The quality and quantity of that contribution is up to Johnson.

The Aggie defense suffered numerous significant injuries last fall that ultimately doomed the second half of their season. It’s foolishly optimistic to expect Johnson to have a full season to watch and learn before being asked to do it himself on Saturdays.