This Texas A&M football player was quietly the most important in 2021

Aaron Hansford, Texas A&M football Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Aaron Hansford, Texas A&M football Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

The Texas A&M football team was full of stars in 2021. I’ve made mention of the handful of Aggies who will be departing for the NFL in Jalen Wydermyer, Kenyon Green, and Isaiah Spiller, among others. That said, some of the best Aggies on the team went under the radar throughout the season.

Those complementary players were showing out all year long in guys like Tyreek Chappell, Micheal Clemons, and McKinnley Jackson. Still, one of these guys stands above the rest.

That guy is Aaron Hansford, who has an inch of hair on his head for every year of college football that he has played. The Aggie linebacker first saw action in 2016 and had A&M made the College Football Playoff, could have potentially been playing in 2022.

Texas A&M football LB Aaron Hansford wasn’t a big headliner but had a huge impact in each game

If someone brings up Texas A&M’s defense in 2021, one name will come to mind — DeMarvin Leal. Leal was undeniably the most talented player on the entire unit and should be a surefire first-round 2022 NFL Draft pick despite a small arrest earlier this month.

Behind Leal, however, the number two spot is up for grabs on this unit. Many could argue that it was his defensive line counterpart in Tyree Johnson while some would say that freshman Tyreek Chappell was extremely impactful. I think you have to give the second spot to one specific player.

That player is Aaron Hansford, who was quietly a tackling machine in 2021.

With the departure of Buddy Johnson after the 2020 season, Hansford was an obvious candidate to lead the team in tackles. He did just that — the sixth-year senior recorded 89 tackles on the year, a team-high for Texas A&M. It wasn’t just normal tackles, either. Hansford recorded 8.5 tackles for loss and a pair of sacks.

In the passing game, Hansford deflected four passes on the year, keeping opposing quarterbacks on their toes. Perhaps most notably, however, was Hansford’s scoop and score touchdown in a 52-3 blowout against Prairie View A&M.

Most of all, the energy that Hansford brought to this Aggie defense was key. As one of the older guys on the unit, he set a strong example and had his team ready to play, as any linebacker should.

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Hansford won’t be the first name you remember from his team, but it should be.