Another big-time player is leaving Aggieland in Armani Watts. Even though, there’s still Derrick Tucker and the return of Donovan Wilson, the Aggies still need another safety. Wilson may not be the same after his knee injury and he’ll be gone after next year. Enter Leon O’Neal, the eighth ranked player in Texas. The Cypress, Texas native stands and 6-foot-1 and tips the scale at 190 pounds, a respectable size for an 18-year-old kid. He uses his size too, flying down hill to swallow up ball carriers in their tracks.
To me, he’s a bigger Armani Watts. He’s more of a run support guy but can still drop back into coverage with no issue. Missed tackles have given the Aggies some problems in the past. Adding someone like this hard-hitting safety could take away big plays before they even develop or at least cause the ball carrier to slow down so someone else can come make the tackle.
The next man up
It’s the little things like this that separate the good teams from the great. The things that we take for granted are what make us who we are. We’ve gotten used to Watts and Wilson, streaking downhill to eat up runners. Now that one is gone and one is coming off a terrible injury, the Ags need some fresh legs to fill the role. I firmly believe that O’Neal will be contributing from day one.
Like everyone on this list, O’Neal has also been heavily recruited, receiving offers from 34 different schools including Clemson, OU, Alabama and Georgia. Him coming to Aggieland is huge. The Ags have had some difficulty in the defensive backfield as a whole. Adding another playmaker is the only way to get better. I think when his fundamentals improve along with his football IQ, he could easily become a Karl Joseph like player.