Texas A&M football: Building a starting lineup with only 2018-19 recruits

(Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images) /
4 of 8
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Defensive Backs

CB – Elijah Blades – 4-star in 2019 (JUCO), No. 4 overall, No. 1 at his position
CB – Erick Young – 4-star in 2019, No. 96 overall, No. 10 at his position
Rover – Leon O’Neal – 4-star in 2018, No. 75 overall, No. 8 at his position
S – Brian Williams – 4-star in 2019, No. 72 overall, No. 6 at his position
S -Demani Richardson – 4-star in 2019, No. 80 overall, No. 7 at his position

Contrary to the linebackers, the defensive backs in these last two classes are absolutely stacked. I mean you can see it in the rankings above — the group features four top 100 recruits and a JUCO recruit who was the best at his position and a 4-star recruit from his original recruiting class ranked anywhere from No. 87 to No. 256.

Blades is a contender to plug and play. While the defense as a whole improved last year, the secondary took steps back. All positions should be seen as up for grabs this year and maybe even next year, and especially the cornerback spots.

O’Neal got the occassional chance to play as a true freshman and did not disappoint. He stepped up in Donovan Wilson’s absence in the Gator Bowl and recorded his first career interception along with a few tackles. He may be the only starter of the group in 2019, but will definitely be the leader of the defense by next season.

Elko has shown a willingness to play safeties at the rover position, which is more of a hybrid linebacker than a true defensive back. It feels like all three are interchangeable given their skillsets and size, but O’Neal has a year on the other two and the Rover is arguably the most important position for Elko.