Texas A&M Football Shows They Can Still Outlast Heavyweights in Top Recruiting Battles
One of the biggest fears when Jimbo Fisher was fired as head coach of Texas A&M football was that the roster for the Aggies may begin to come apart at the seams. Further, unless the Aggies were able to keep Elijah Robinson around, it seemed inevitable that the Aggies would lose something in the way of recruiting prowess.
Only two months into his tenure, Mike Elko and the staff he has assembled in College Station have almost completely erased those concerns.
Now, to a degree, some of what the Aggie fans feared did indeed come true. Robinson left, and with him went several high-profile defensive linemen—both via decommitments and portal entries (though, if you believe the insiders, some of those were coming no matter what). A couple of high-profile commits backed off of their pledges and instead went to rivals—though, again, that had started even before Jimbo packed his bags.
Nearly every hole that was left, however, was filled almost immediately. Fadil Diggs leaves? Nic Scourton emerges. The secondary is depleted? How does 7 high-quality portal DBs sound?
The impressive work that Elko has been doing in the portal has been oft-discussed. What has been underdiscussed is how he has done a remarkable job keeping the roster together overall. I know that I personally did not feel as though we would see near this many high-profile guys stick it out—and some even remove their name from the portal to return to College Station.
The final dimension, which we got to see some of back in December, was high school recruiting. Admittedly, there was some consternation among Aggie fans in this regard after Cam Coleman and Dominick McKinley chose to go to other SEC West programs that had been hotly pursuing them. In fairness, though, you expect that from a recruit when their position coach/main recruiter goes elsewhere, as Dameyune Craig and the aforementioned Robinson did.
The lone commit remaining who had yet to sign was Terry Bussey. Unlike the other two, he was an in-state kid. Even so, LSU began to turn up the pressure. The Tigers, fresh off of two 10-win seasons (one of which saw them visit Atlanta for an SEC Championship berth) brought a lot of confidence to their late push—perhaps too much.
For all their confidence, however, what mattered is who Terry was signing with on the morning of February 7. That day saw him inking with the Maroon and White, rather than the Purple and Gold. Make no mistake, this was a bigtime, national, prove-it kind of recruiting victory. And it was won by a man who many fans had slotted as a below-average recruiter.