Texas A&M Football Down 30 Scholarship Players vs Oklahoma State
Due to a combination of injury, NFL draft entrants, and transfer portal departures, the Texas A&M football team will look quite different at certain spots in this evening's matchup versus the Oklahoma State Cowboys. In fact, the Aggies will be only trotting out a total of fifty five scholarship players for tonight's bowl game, down from a maximum of eighty five.
So where have the Aggies been hardest hit? Quarterback obviously comes to mind, though that's not news to Texas A&M football fans. Jaylen Henderson started each of the final three games, and will be behind center for this game as well. Running back is relatively healthy, with each back looking like they will be available for this one. The offensive line should mostly be intact, with the exception of Layden Robinson, who has declared for the NFL draft.
The position with the most attrition on the offensive side is doubtless wide receiver. Ainias Smith is out with injury. Evan Stewart has declared his intention to transfer. Noah Thomas is also injured. Raymond Cottrell and Jordan Anthony are gone already. That leaves the Aggies with only three scholarship receivers: Moose Muhammad, Jahdae Walker, and Micah Tease. That is quite a skilled triumvirate, to be sure, but you'd hope to have more depth going into a game like this.
The top tight end for the Aggies, Jake Johnson, is also gone to the portal. Max Wright and Theo Ohrstrom will be available, however. I anticipate a fair amount of heavy TE sets against the Cowboys and a strong dose of the rushing attack against an Oklahoma State defense that hasn't exactly excelled versus the run.
On the defensive side, things are more dire. The Aggies will be without Walter Nolen in the middle, as he is now transferring to Ole Miss. Fadil Diggs is reportedly practicing, so we may see him, but he has declared his intent to transfer to Syracuse. Same for Isaiah Raikes. McKinnley Jackson is headed to the draft, but it is not yet known whether he is playing in the bowl. LT Overton is transferring to Alabama. The Aggies will likely start Shemar Turner, either Diggs or Shemar Stewart (depending on if the former is playing), and then go with Jackson (if playing) or Gabe Dindy and Hicks on the inside. I would love to see a bit of big Samu Taumanpepe in the middle of the DL as well!
Edgerrin Cooper is not playing in the bowl, as he prepares for the draft. Chris Russell should get the nod in his place alongside Taurean York. Corner is quite thin for the Aggies as well, with both Tyreek Chappell and Deuce Harmon in the portal. I'd think we see Jayvon Thomas and Sam McCall out there.
Overall, this will be a quite depleted Texas A&M football team. Still skilled? Absolutely. Far less experienced? For sure. If the Aggies can pull off the win tonight, I'll be very impressed.