Editor's note: With Texas A&M taking a brief hiatus from the football field due to the school's spring break this week, we'll look back at notes and nuggets from the first five practices of spring football for the Aggies. Here's the first installment:
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- One of the most common questions asked by Texas A&M fans upon the start of spring football practice is related to the health of receiver Ricky Seals-Jones.
A prized recruit from the 2013 class, Seals-Jones got a chance to show Aggies fans only a brief glimpse of what could be, catching three passes last season -- including a 71-yard touchdown -- in the season opener before a knee injury derailed the rest of his season.
After undergoing season-ending surgery, Seals-Jones has been a participant in all five practices for Texas A&M this spring and shows no limitations, though coach Kevin Sumlin is taking a cautious approach with his budding young star and holding him out of a live scrimmage on Thursday.
"Yeah, he's doing well," Sumlin said of Seals-Jones. "We took it easy on him. He didn't scrimmage live, but he has done everything else that we've asked him to do in practice. I didn't want to put him in there and he was mad at me, but that's usually the case."
Sumlin joked that he'll probably get a call from Seals-Jones and his parents during spring break, but he doesn't feel the need to rush the 6-foot-5, 230-pound receiver back into live action. After spring break concludes, Sumlin said he'll have team doctors check on his knee again.
"I just wanted to make sure," Sumlin said. "I don't think it's ready yet and we'll assess him when he comes back."
Fortunately for the Aggies, there is still more than five months until their first game, so he'll have plenty of time to be rested and ready. The Aggies are also still waiting for word from the NCAA on the status of the medical hardship waiver that they applied for to regain the year of eligibility Seals-Jones lost to the knee injury.
Sumlin said the necessary paperwork has been filed and he expects to get an answer before the 2014 season begins. He said he fully anticipates that Seals-Jones will get the eligibility restored because the time he missed falls within the guidelines the bylaw calls for (that the player's injury occurred prior to the start of the second half of the season and that he did not participate in more than three contests or 30 percent of the team's games, whichever is greater). Seals-Jones appeared in only two of Texas A&M's 13 games before undergoing the season-ending surgery.
"We've filed for it," Sumlin said. "I don't see why there's going to be a problem."
With the Aggies looking to replace three starting receivers, there is flexibility to where Seals-Jones could line up this fall. Most of his work in preseason training camp last season came as an inside receiver, but he did get some practice time as an outside receiver in the Aggies' offense.
"He's a big target inside," Sumlin said. "He's really easy to see in there with other guys and he's comfortable in there. We're dual-training a lot of our receivers this year instead of just keeping them in one spot, which is helping them and helping our offense and helping them understand spacing and what's going on."