Barring any early morning surprises when national letters of intent start rolling into the Texas A&M Athletic Department fax machine, coach Dennis Franchione and his staff will welcome 18 new players into the Aggie family on Wednesday.
The 2006 recruiting season has been an uphill struggle for the staff. The Aggies were coming off a disappointing year, and coupled with the national championship that Texas won on the back of Vince Young, many of the state's top prospects quickly committed to the Longhorns this spring.
However, even with some of the built-in disadvantages this recruiting season, the staff did a nice job of bringing in difference-makers and solid prospects at need positions. While this year's class will be one of the smallest in terms of quantity in Franchione's tenure at A&M, the potential for a majority of these players to step-in and upgrade the current talent pipeline is there.
The Aggies nabbed a few headliners on offense, but none more heralded than McAllen Memorial running back Bradley Stephens. The Parade All-American is a Rivals.com four-star prospect and had one of the best careers of any high school running back in Texas history.
Rivals.com four-star athlete Brandon Williams is also a part of this class after playing quarterback at Beaumont Central, but Williams could play a number of positions at A&M and not necessarily on offense.
If there is one significant weakness in this class, it's the lack of numbers on the offensive line. The Aggies picked up only one lineman in last year's 2006 class, and the team will be graduating six starters and rotation guys in 2006 and 2007 combined. In a year when A&M was looking to bring in a deep and talented offensive line class, the top talent in the state opted for Austin. The Aggies will likely ink just two offensive linemen, but the class ideally needed three or four to restock the pipeline to avoid having to possibly play inexperienced true freshmen in 2008, something that no college coach wants to do.
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