Texas A&M Football: Why Ainias Smith won’t lead the team in receiving

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

The Texas A&M football team loses production at almost every position next season, including important spots like quarterback, tight end, and defensive line. One position that isn’t losing production, however, is the wide receiver spot.

Originally, the Aggies retained virtually all of their talent at the wide receiver spot. This did take a small hit when a former five-star receiver and Aggie contributor in Demond Demas was arrested and ultimately entered the transfer portal.

Still, the unit remains almost entirely intact. This includes guys like Jalen Preston, Ainias Smith, and Caleb Chapman. A&M will also add the second-best receiver in the 2022 class in Evan Stewart, who could be an early impact player.

Will Ainias Smith repeat as the Texas A&M football team’s leading receiver in 2022?

Last season, Ainias Smith led all receivers in receiving yards. I specifically note this as “receivers,” as Jalen Wydermyer led the entire team in receiving yards with 515 yards. Smith was one step behind him at 509 yards.

But Smith may not be the team’s leader again. Here’s why.

For starters, it was a relative down year for Texas A&M at the wideout spot. Only a single player surpassed 500 yards and nobody came close to 1,000. For a school that has seen players like Mike Evans drop 1,000 yards per season with ease, last year could definitely be considered an off-year. Don’t expect this to happen again.

As a team, Texas A&M averaged 208.6 receiving yards per game — that ranks 88th in the nation. The Aggies will look to drastically improve that number next season.

The Aggies will also have a new tight end with the aforementioned departure of Jalen Wydermyer in a role that will likely be filled by a freshman. Don’t expect the tight end position to lead the team in receiving yards again in 2022.

Something that will help A&M’s passing game will be the presence of a number one wide receiver. With all due respect to Ainias SMith, he is built for a complimentary role in the slot. He’s not necessarily the biggest deep threat — he’s better with short receptions and yards after catch. A vital role, but usually not the leading receiver in Jimbo Fisher’s system.

Two players could fill the WR1 role. That would likely land on either Evan Stewart or Caleb Chapman, two guys who are the epitome of a deep-threat. I would expect one of these two players to leapfrog Smith as the team’s top wide receiver on the stat sheet.

Next. Conner Weigman is already getting first-team reps. dark

That said, Smith will continue to be arguably the team’s most valuable all-around player, making huge contributions offensively and on special teams as a return specialist.