Secondary for Texas A&M Football Completely Transformed Thanks to Elko's Portal Work
Less than two weeks ago, as Texas A&M football faced off against Oklahoma State in the Texas Bowl, Aggie fans looked on with dismay as a story with which they had become all too familiar over the course of the 2023 season unfolded once more. The Cowboys were lighting the Aggies up with an aerial assault that the corners for Texas A&M football seemed unable to stop.
Even though the Aggies had an excuse for this in the bowl game—after all, they were forced to start mostly freshmen and walk-ons after injury and portal entries had decimated the position—this had been happening all season. The Miami game was an ominous bellwether for the struggles the Aggie defensive backfield would face. The Alabama game saw much of the same. Ole Miss and LSU took full advantage of the weaknesses the Aggies had on the back end.
Of course, to lesser teams, the Aggie pass defense seemed stifling. The Aggies allowed less than 6 yards per attempt to seven of the teams on their schedule, and Arkansas only exceeded that mark due to a late-game completion of 50 yards after hovering around the 5 YPA mark for most of the game. But to teams that had the ability to throw downfield with consistency, the secondary for the Maroon and White was easy pickings more often than not.
Mike Elko doubtless saw this deficiency very clearly when considering this job. He was well aware of the challenge that awaited him, and seeing the Texas Bowl in person confirmed the apprehensions he surely had. To that end, he has transformed the back end of the Aggie defense, almost overnight.
It began with the commitment of former KSU DB Will Lee, who was the first commit to the Aggies in the portal almost a month ago now. Central Michigan all-conference S Trey Jones followed suit before long, as did Vanderbilt S De'Rickey Wright. These were all three quality additions that would push for starting spots without a doubt.
Those were great adds to the room, for sure. But it was this most recent spate of commitments that showed Elko's prowess. Over the last three days, the Aggies have added eleven commits, and four of them have come from the defensive backfield. Marcus Ratcliffe out of San Diego State, Donovan Saunders from Cal Poly, Jaydon Hill from Florida, and BJ Mayes from UAB have all given their pledges to the Aggies in this time frame, and the Aggies could add more soon.
This is a major haul for Texas A&M football. Even those guys who won't start right away will be there to provide depth and competition, thus pushing the position to greater heights. If this is an indication of what's to come under Mike Elko, Texas A&M football fans should be excited. Recruiting was supposed to be the weak spot for Elko—but if this last month is any indication, that narrative has been blown out of the water.