Spring practice means there are starting jobs up for grabs across the country and the SEC is no different. Earlier today we began a series looking at key position battles for each SEC team; we continue that with a look at Texas A&M:
1. Quarterback: For the fourth time in the Kevin Sumlin era, the Aggies enter the spring without a starting quarterback already named. This year the battle is between Oklahoma graduate transfer Trevor Knight and junior Jake Hubenak, who started the Aggies' bowl loss to Louisville. Knight, a senior, is a tad older and has more FBS experience (he started the 2013 season at Oklahoma and led the Sooners to a Sugar Bowl win over Alabama). Hubenak, who appeared in five games last season, benefited from spending a season on campus and acclimating himself to Aggieland. Both are working with a clean slate, however, under new offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone.
2. Cornerback: The Aggies graduated their two starting corners from a year ago (De'Vante Harris and Brandon Williams) so the spots are open for competition this season. Nick Harvey, Alex Sezer, Deshawn Capers-Smith and Priest Willis are among the names to watch there. Harvey appeared in all 13 games last year, rotating in at cornerback coming off the bench, Sezer had a consistent role on special teams and served as a reserve corner. Capers-Smith appeared in six games as a true freshman. Willis is perhaps the most intriguing of the bunch. A transfer from UCLA, Willis sat out last season per NCAA transfer rules but was a big-time recruit in the 2013 class (he was No. 59 in the 2013 ESPN 300).
3. Specialists: Texas A&M must replace its starting placekicker (Taylor Bertolet) and punter (Drew Kaser). Special teams coach Jeff Banks said earlier this month that, Daniel LaCamera, a 2015 recruit who was ranked No. 7 nationally in his class, looks like the starter at kicker and they'll see in the summer who will compete to back up LaCamera. Banks said at punter there's a two-way battle between veteran walk-on Shane Tripucka and true freshman Braden Mann. Tripucka, an Under Armour All-American who arrived at Texas A&M in 2013, likely has the edge there over Mann, an incoming kicker/punter recruit who enrolled in January. Tripucka actually punted twice in a game last season when Kaser left with an injury.