Projecting starting defensive backfield after Mathews announces transfer

Who will man the back end of the defense for Texas A&M football?

Nov 11, 2023; College Station, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies defensive back Dalton Brooks (25)
Nov 11, 2023; College Station, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies defensive back Dalton Brooks (25) / Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Projecting the starting DB lineup for Texas A&M football following Jacoby Mathews transfer announcement

Though the transfer announcement by Jacoby Mathews was a bit of a surprise to Texas A&M football fans, the Aggies are still in a relatively prodigious position when it comes to the defensive backfield. Mike Elko, as we all know, identified that area of the team as in dire need of an upgrade upon arriving in College Station, and supplemented the players already on campus with a huge influx of portal talent.

There was already bound to be some shakeup even before Mathews made his announcement, in other words. The talented rising junior very well might have staked his claim on a spot—he was the presumptive starter, at least in my book—but it wouldn’t have been without a fight.

With Mathews headed to the portal, it’s time to reevaluate who may be manning the back end of the defense for Texas A&M football. Let’s take a look at who may trot out against Notre Dame with the starters on August 31.

Cornerback: BJ Mayes and Will Lee

This is something of a tough projection, and I could see this one going differently with the return of Tyreek Chappell. But I think Mayes is the cream of the crop when it comes to cover corner, and he brings a wealth of experience to the position. Lee graded out as one of the top corners in the nation as well, and his measurables well-resemble what Elko wants out of the position. Chappell and Jaydon Hill could both make a case here, however.

Safety: Trey Jones and Dalton Brooks

You’ve got two ends of the spectrum, here. Jones is a sixth-year player; a lower-recruited guy out of high school who made his name up at Central Michigan before using this final year to capitalize ahead of an NFL bid. Brooks was a highly-rated prospect out of small-town Texas in his second year—but boy, has he flashed in his limited time. This guy is not afraid to lay the wood. Brooks has a bright, bright future ahead, and pairing him with Jones would be a nasty combo for opponents.

Nickel: Bryce Anderson

Is this really any surprise? Anderson will feast in Elko’s system. A true leader on the defense, he has the skills to be a piece that gets moved all around, just like Antonio Johnson was (though their builds are pretty different). This is a spot that we could see Jaydon Hill get some time at as well, and Vandy transfer De’Rickey Wright will be a situational specialist as a 5th DB from time to time.