Recruiting Q&A with TexAgs’ Ryan Brauninger

Eric Nahlin

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Dec 19, 2011
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TexAgs’ Ryan Brauninger joins to catch us up on the state of Texas A&M recruiting.

Jimbo Fisher has a very active recruiting staff and an expanding footprint. It’s hard for an outsider to keep up so I solicited some help.

Inside Texas: Give us a general overview of the current Aggie class.

Ryan Brauninger: I think A&M has done another solid job of attacking deficiencies in their roster as well as understanding what type of player fits schematically for what Fisher and Elko want to do. They’ve targeted a few out of state kids that were lightly recruited because of that aforementioned fit. Like everybody in the country this cycle, trusting your evaluations for this class is paramount. The lack of film and the elimination of the camp circuit has made those film sessions much more important. Overall though, I like the shape of A&M’s current group. How they close will sort of determine what the national narrative looks like at the end of calendar.

IT: In your estimation, who are the best recruiters on the staff? I always hear about Terry Price. I think Josh Henson is good and is finding you guys true tackles. I felt he should have been a candidate at Texas at one point.

RB: We (TexAgs staff) talk about this quite a bit, actually. Price is obviously the seasoned veteran, and I think ya’ll are undoubtedly the most familiar with him because he’s been butting heads with the Longhorns for almost ten years now as a coach at A&M. Henson got a bad rap early on from the A&M fanbase, but when you look at who he’s gotten committed since arriving, it’s hard to argue against his early track record. However, to me, the biggest recruiting stud they’ve got on staff right now is Elijah Robinson. He’s a rising star in the coaching industry and has played a key role in A&M landing a lot of their top defensive targets in the last two classes.

IT: Yeah, Henson started off in an unfavorable position with much of the 2020 OL class already committed. Getting Fatheree and Zuhn is a big win. Y’all needed tackles. I should have mentioned Elijah Robinson. I know schools from all over were after him. That brings us to a couple of big time battles down the stretch: Shemar Turner and Albert Regis. How do you handicap those?

RB: Well, I’ll start with Regis because he’s a Houston area guy, and that’s the area I cover. I’d give Texas the edge there. A&M has two inside guys currently committed, and they’re still really in the thick of it with Tywone Malone out of New Jersey. That being said, I think Texas jumped to the front early for Regis. Word I got was that he grew up a Longhorn fan, and to a certain extent, that kind of stuff is tough to overcome. We just put him into our top 40 in the state after being unranked. He’s a guy that’s at the top of my list to go see this fall. We’ve heard so much about his physical development that I want to get eyes on him just to see what the progression looks like. If I’m making a call on him now, I’d pick Texas.

As for Turner, I think it’s anybody’s race. A&M has been a pretty consistent school in terms of what he tells people publicly, but it’s way too early to feel good about that no matter what color you wear on Saturdays. My gut says he picks an SEC school, though.

IT: It’s a bit of a running joke with Texas fans how Jimbo is recruiting the original 13 colonies but instate recruiting is so competitive, you have to find secondary recruiting grounds. Are the ties to the northeast from Robinson?

RB: Jimbo’s footprint has definitely made things tougher to cover on our end, but yes, the northeast ties come from Robinson and Mike Elko. Elko is a Penn grad who continues to be highly thought of in the region.

IT: Who are some of the players in the Aggie class who should have a higher profile? There are always sleepers.

RB: I love Tyreek Chappell out of Philadelphia. I think his tape is electric, and I believe he’s vastly undervalued by the national services. I’m also a fan of Kaci Seegars at linebacker. Offer list isn’t real lengthy, but Tyler Santucci (1st year LB coach) came over from Wake Forest and has seen the kid more than anyone. A&M was likely only going to take one backer in this class so it tells you what the staff thought of Seegars. At the top, I still think Eli Stowers is an elite quarterback. I’m hoping he’s 100% like his old self this fall because I’m excited to see what he can do with Coach Webb dialing up the offense at Denton Guyer, now.

IT: Chappell is the guy I would have said, too. The season always factors into recruiting, and potentially even more so this cycle. A&M starts with a difficult schedule and finishes with a difficult schedule. That provides opportunity to create momentum but there’s also potential downside too. What are your thoughts on how the schedule could affect A&M’s class?

RB: You know, I haven’t even given that much thought, yet. I’m always of the opinion that wins and losses matter much more to fans than they do to recruits. It was a bit of tough luck though when the reworked schedule came out. Adding Florida and Tennessee to the lineup turned a manageable schedule into one you’ve got to sweat each week. That game at Kyle against the Gators and then on the road to end the year at Auburn could be pivotal in terms of outlook and momentum.

IT: That’s a great point about Webb at Guyer. He likes to fling it around. Walsh was a great coach but how much was he developing his QB’s? Stowers has tons of upside. Another injury situation is with Marcus Burris. I think he can be Kingsley Keke and potentially more.

RB: I like the Keke comparison. The last time I saw Burris, I actually compared him a bit to Vernon Broughton - similar body styles that will allow you versatility. Explosive kids that run to the football. Broughton was a huge get for Texas last cycle, and a kid that A&M coveted. I think it was important for the Aggie coaching staff to go out and get a similar player in 2021.

IT: Who are the biggest remaining targets for the Ags and how big do you expect the class to be?

RB: A&M probably has 8 or so spots to play with. At the top of the wishlist are guys like Bryce Foster, LJ Johnson, Shemar Turner, Tywone Malone, Brian Thomas, and MJ Daniels. They’re still actively recruiting Landon Jackson, but it’ll be a tough flip from the national champions. Then, names like Ahmonte Watkins, Yulkieth Brown, Amari Daniels, Albert Regis, Jadarrius Perkins, Terrion Arnold, and Jardin Gilbert continue to have some sort of A&M buzz surrounding them.

IT: I like Watkins; actually think he can play corner. 2022 recruiting is starting to heat up. Are there any recruits who you feel A&M has a great early start with?

RB: That 2022 in state class is loaded...like the best I’ve ever covered loaded. It feels like there are going to be more head to heads between the Ags and Horns next cycle than there were in this one. Early on, I like where A&M sits with the Katy duo of Bobby Taylor and Malick Sylla. I also feel like they’ve positioned themselves well for Martrell Harris, Kam Dewberry, Kelvin Banks, Donovan Green, and PJ Williams. It’s early though. Predicting exactly where all those kids fall is a fool’s errand.

IT: That’s what we’re here for! I liked Taylor in that footage you took from FWK’s. Those are going to be some good head to head battles. Sylla is awesome. He’s like the defensive end version of Joseph Ossai. This offseason found some commonality between two fan bases just wanting to play football. I know a lot of UT fans were happy to see the SEC stick to its guns to play. The circumstances made for strange bedfellows. I look forward to seeing you on the trail this year.

RB: Absolutely, thanks for having me. I enjoyed it. I think once one conference decided to play, the other one was going to follow suit. Football is such an integral part of the culture of Texans. It’s woven into our DNA. I couldn’t imagine a scenario where football was being played in Austin and not in College Station, or vice versa. We’ll see on you the road, Eric.
 

sherf1

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Good stuff. Had to get that 13 colonies barb in, love it.

Always surprising how few, relatively, head to heads we end up with against A&M and even OU. Seems like at most you get 3 or 4 with an individual school, but then you get the national powers, some TCU/Arkansas stuff and the occasional Pac 12 head to head.
 

Memphis Horn

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This is great content. Love to have perspective from the other side of things... I routinely reach out to my bro-in-law for just that sort of angle. Appreciate you turning over every stone.
 

becook3108

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I am surprised they aren't one of the best in the nation at RB recruiting just based on Jimbo's history at RB and his offensive scheme
 
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josephcook

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I’ve only seen Stowers on TV so reading “TE frame“ always is slightly jarring to me. Is that his “if things don’t work out at QB” position?

What does Weight does he play at in college at either position? He’s about the same listed size as Mond.
 

awildhorn

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I’ve only seen Stowers on TV so reading “TE frame“ always is slightly jarring to me. Is that his “if things don’t work out at QB” position?

What does Weight does he play at in college at either position? He’s about the same listed size as Mond.
I think it's more of a: we watched him play and throw the ball as a senior and therefore need to start walking back some of our writing on him. I get that development is part of the game, but Eli Stowers is not a natural thrower and from what I saw live-- he's going to be a huge project. Walsh "quarterbacks" throw the ball about as often as he drives sober.
 

Jdhmills

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Definitely went too easy on Mr TexAgs. Should have asked if a certain someone is labeled Chin Pubes in his phone.
 
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ttaghorn

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Its difficult I will admit, but any very good players they sign are not going to play against us, it just hurts to see them have any success in the SEC. I always want them to finish in the bottom of the West Divn. and so far they have been very good at doing just that.