The Texas A&M Football team has had a lot of attention surround their returning talent on offense. With players like Jalen Wydermyer, Ainias Smith, Isaiah Spiller, and Kenyon Green returning, the potential is impossible to ignore.
That said, this has caused the Aggies’ defense to be ignored since the conclusion of the 2020 season.
A&M may not have the same level of excitement on defense, but they have a strong nucleus of players that will likely return a top-tier SEC unit. This includes players like Jaylon Jones, Jayden Peevy, DeMarvin Leal, and notably, Aaron Hansford.
Texas A&M Football LB Aaron Hansford was named to the Butkus Award Watch List on Monday
Even more under the radar than the defense itself is linebacker Aaron Hansford, the team’s leading returning tackler with 49. Buddy Johnson led the team in total with 86 before departing for the NFL. Hansford will look to fill his role as the team’s top tackler.
Hansford has one of the most unique backstories on this Texas A&M team, as the elite Aggie linebacker originally came to College Station as a wide receiver. He was technically an athlete, but the D.C. native played wideout during his freshman campaign, pulling in a trio of catches for a total of 39 yards.
Fast forward to 2021 and Hansford is the A&M’s best linebacker, being recognized as one of 51 guys on the Butkus Award watch list, an award given to the nation’s best linebacker. Texas A&M has a recent Butkus Award winner in Von Miller back in 2010.
Hansford may have been in Buddy Johnson’s shadow last season, but this year, he should continue to improve at the rapid rate that we’ve already had a small glimpse of. Last year, Hansford posted new career highs in every category that a linebacker can post a new career-high in.
Here’s what his final stat line looked like from 2020.
- 49 tackles, 7 TFL, 3 Sacks, 1 PD
The numbers themselves don’t jump off of the page. That said, as the team’s returning leader and a player who has shown rapid improvement, you can expect a huge year from Hansford in 2021. It seems like TAMU always has strong linebacker play and the former wide receiver is set to be the next great A&M LB.
If Texas A&M has a strong year defensively, Hansford will almost assuredly play a huge role in it. Look for this speedy Aggie linebacker to make plays all over the field in 2021.