Texas A&M football spring position preview: Corner is deep, but needs a star

This Texas A&M football team is set up for success in the defensive backfield if they can get the right pieces to fall into place.
Sep 30, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies defensive back Tyreek Chappell (7) breaks
Sep 30, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies defensive back Tyreek Chappell (7) breaks / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Texas A&M football has the tools to see a big time resurgence at corner if they get one guy to step up

For quite some time, it has felt like Texas A&M football has been conducting a poorly-conceived balancing act at the corner position. Every year, there seems to be a lack of quality depth on this squad at the position. Fans had to cross their fingers every season that there wouldn't be a bad injury of some kind

That time, hopefully, seems to be past us by this point. Mike Elko attacked the portal with a purpose for Texas A&M football, bringing in some great options at that oft-troubled spot in the defensive backfield.

The depth chart, now, seems extremely strong at the cornerback position. Not only were the Aggies able to retain three-year starter Tyreek Chappell (who has actually been getting some snaps at nickel, apparently) after he entered the portal, but they picked up several more guys who could emerge as viable options—or even top-end talent—at corner.

Will Lee, the first big commitment of the insane portal run that the Aggies went on, was a big pickup for the Maroon and White. Lee stands at a rangy 6'2", and has elite cover skills. The knock on him is a lack of physicality shown at times, but if he covers well enough, it may cancel that complaint out.

Dezz Ricks was another monster pickup via the portal. Formerly the second-ranked overall prospect in the 2024 class, he reclassified up to the 2023 class, where he was still a five-star, and signed with Alabama. After a year where he had limited playing time, he entered the portal and is now here in College Station. He is one of the most physically gifted prospects at the position the Ags have ever had on campus, and boasts an elite ceiling.

If I had to pick a guy who I think we will see as a starter on August 31, though, I would be hard-pressed to not choose BJ Mayes. The UAB transfer has a very developed game, and came in ready to contribute right away in his final year of college football. He's a great cover man and a heavy hitter when he tackles; I'd be surprised to not see him starting against Notre Dame, barring injury.

Texas A&M football also has a couple of guys on the roster that, while maybe not ready to contribute this year, still have great upside. Donovan Saunders from Cal Poly and sophomore Jayvon Thomas are two such corners. Thomas came in with an elite skillset, but showed some growing pains in his time on the field last year. Saunders has size and length and showed a lot at the lower level, but making the jump to SEC ball could take a year of development.

The long and short of things here is that there's a lot of talent here. If they can get one or more guys to step up and shut down one half of the field, it will aid Mike Elko immensely in how he wants this defense to function. I think Mayes can play that role for this season, and Ricks has the tools to do that going forward. Others have shown the same potential, but for prognostication purposes, I see those two as having the most upside.

It's hard to argue that the Aggies aren't in a much better place than they have been previously at the corner spot. There's still another portal window that Texas A&M football must weather before the roster is set in stone for the fall, but I feel confident that this staff will navigate it well.