Texas A&M football spring position preview: Defensive tackle has sky-high ceiling

Though Walter Nolen is now gone, the defensive tackle position for Texas A&M football could still be a big time strength for this team.

Sep 3, 2022; College Station, Texas, USA;  Texas A&M Aggies defensive lineman Albert Regis (15)
Sep 3, 2022; College Station, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies defensive lineman Albert Regis (15) / Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Texas A&M football spring position preview: Defensive tackle could improve on last year's dominance

It's hard to overstate just how destructive the defensive front was for Texas A&M football in the middle of last season. Though they took a while to rev up and they tailed off a bit near the end of the year, there was a stretch from about the Auburn game through the South Carolina game where this group looked about as dominant as I've ever seen a DL unit be—reminiscent of the 2018 Clemson line that visited Kyle Field in the second-ever game of the Jimbo Fisher era.

Of course, it wasn't just the prowess of the bookends of the line that made this happen. The interior made their fair share of plays as well. As we look forward to next season, though, the two top contributors along the interior defensive line—Walter Nolen and McKinnley Jackson—have moved on to Ole Miss and the NFL, respectively.

It's not just those two, either. Isaiah Raikes is out the door as well, off to Syracuse. LT Overton, who would rotate inside at times, is gone to Alabama.

So defensive tackle should be a lock to take a step backwards, right?

Not so fast.

Though the depth may be something to watch, the top talent at the defensive tackle position is still stellar for Texas A&M football. It all starts with freshman David "DJ" Hicks, who really began to come on strong last year. After all the opt-outs, he saw a lot of action in the bowl game, repeatedly wrecking the front for Oklahoma State. He's a breakout candidate for this season if there ever was one.

The continued maturation of Albert Regis is another factor to watch. Regis was not highly-rated coming out of high school, but he was hotly pursued by both the Aggies and Longhorns for good reason. Going into his fourth year on campus, the redshirt junior could make an impact as a starter.

Then, you have the as-of-yet untapped potential of Gabriel Brownlow-Dindy. I named Dindy as one of the players on this team with the most to prove in spring due to his highly-anticipated recruitment not yet resulting in concrete results, but I fully expect those results to come. The man is a monster, and has flashed big time in his snaps so far. Big #99 is a guy to watch in the spring game.

Transfer DT Rodas Johnson brings an element of maturity to the room that will be needed after the departure of a McKinnley Jackson. Though Johnson isn't as physically talented as McKinnley, I expect him to be a positive force both on and off the field, even if he doesn't end up starting this fall.

A guy who, in my mind, is relatively far from starting, but may see some heavy situational use, is Samu Taumanupepe. The hulking DL from Atascocita, coming in at 6'3" and 380 LBs, can benefit big time from Tommy Moffitt's strength and conditioning program, and can easily be a true nose tackle-type that is immovable in the center of the line—think Jordan Davis at UGA.

There's a lot to be excited for in this group—especially if Hicks and Dindy begin to blossom this year. If there comes a time in the fall where the starting group is made up of those two, then opponents had better be scared. Even if not, though, this DT group has plenty of talent.