The Texas A&M Football team has a handful of players who have been receiving national recognition throughout the entirety of the offseason. On offense, you see players like Jalen Wydermyer, Ainias Smith, and Isaiah Spiller on preseason watch lists, while the defensive side of the ball holds just as much promise.
Notably, the Aggies have players like DeMarvin Leal, who is expected to be one of the best players in the entire country at any position. The Aggies’ history of having strong defensive linemen helps his cause. The most impactful player on this defense, however, might be hiding in the shadows.
That player is Micheal Clemons, a 6th-year defensive lineman who will bring more experience than any other player in college football. Clemons was largely forgotten about after suffering an injury five games into the 2020-21 season.
Texas A&M Football LB Micheal Clemons will keep the Aggies organized and consistent
Something that seemingly doomed the Aggies in 2021 is a lack of maturity on the defensive side of the ball. This was most evident in the secondary, especially against Alabama, but it extended all over the field.
Even more specifically, the Aggies had to replace Clemons, who was the team’s original starter for Tyree Johnson, who has struggled to break onto the scene. That said, Johnson was second on the team in sacks in the past two seasons and looks like a promising player. The fact that Jimbo Fisher is seemingly sticking with the more experienced Clemons says a lot about his confidence in the 6th-year graduate senior’s abilities on the field.
Last season, Clemons finished with 4.5 tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks despite appearing in just five games before being knocked out for the season.
While a relatively inexperienced Leal will be starting in one of the defensive end slots, a more-than-experienced Clemons will be filling in on the other side.
For this reason, Clemons shouldn’t just be looked at as a single player — he should be viewed as a mentor for every young player on Texas A&M’s defensive line. If there’s a player who knows where to be and when to be there, it’s Clemons. This extends from DeMarvin Leal all the way through to McKinnley Jackson.
In fact, we still aren’t sure what Jackson’s status is after his arrest was announced late last week. If he isn’t eligible to play, Clemons will have his hands full mentoring a pair of young players in Shemar Turner and Tunmise Adeleye.
With an experienced linebacker corps that includes Andre White and Aaron Hansford, this run-stuffing unit should be near the top of college football again. Last season the Aggies finished with the second-best rush defense in the country, allowing just 92.0 yards per game. In 2021-22, that could get even better.
Keep DeMarvin Leal and Micheal Clemons on your radar as arguably the best 1-2 edge punch in the game.