Chat with Sam Khan
Welcome to GigEmNation! On Friday, reporter Sam Khan Jr. stops by to chat about the state of Texas A&M football.
Khan joined ESPN.com in 2012 after nearly seven years with the Houston Chronicle, covering the University of Houston, college sports and high school sports. Khan lives in Houston with his wife.
Send your questions now and join Khan Friday at 4 p.m. ET!
Sam Khan Jr. (4:01 PM)
Good afternoon folks. Hope you're ready to go. Lots to talk about from the recently signed class on Wednesday, possibilities for the 2014 class and of course, spring ball is just around the corner (March 2 is the first practice). So let's dive right in.
Do you fear JF getting in anymore trouble with the law?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:05 PM)
I would like to think that after the incident last summer and the understanding of the kind of microscope he's under after winning a Heisman Trophy, that Johnny Manziel is smart enough to not do anything that serious that would portray him in that bad of a light. But he's 20 and a college student and he's going to clearly enjoy the moment. Any time you do a lot of partying you have to be careful. I don't expect it to happen, but you never know. I think he understands that if he does something like that, it'll become national news.
Sam,Although no one could truly fill those shoes, which of the incoming recruits do you see filling in the best for Damonsta Moore.
Sam Khan Jr. (4:06 PM)
I don't expect someone will be able to fill that production in 2013, but long term, Daeshon Hall has the kind of athleticism and body that makes me believe that he can eventually have that kind of impact.
Jimmy (College Station, TX)
what's the latest on Derrick Griffin?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:07 PM)
Griffin did not sign (obviously) on Wednesday, with Texas A&M or anybody else. He's taking the ACT soon and he's still going to work in hopes of qualifying. I think he's hoping that he might be able to sign with Texas A
Great job with NSD and thanks for keeping us up to date. DO you know how we stand wil cunningham, willis, myles, thomas, and whitley
Sam Khan Jr. (4:10 PM)
Thanks Will, much appreciated. Zac Whitley likes the Aggies and enjoyed his junior day. He's going to Texas this week. But he's one they would really like to have and I think they have a pretty solid shot. Cunningham is a legacy, so I think he'll always have the Aggies in the mix as long as they're pursuing him. Myles Garrett is high on the Aggies right now. As for Willis and Thomas, I'm hoping to catch up with them soon.
what is the major focus position we will be recruiting this next year
Sam Khan Jr. (4:11 PM)
I think there are several areas the Aggies will try to hit, specifically in the secondary and linebacker. The already have two defensive backs and two linebackers and I think they'll add one of each. Also, they're always going to look for offensive and defensive linemen because you can't get enough of those when you're in the SEC.
Payton (Katy, TX (Title Town))
Hey Sam,What is your impression with the way Sumlin has re-staffed his coaches? We lost a few class guys, but I think picked up some great recruiters and very respectable coaches.
Sam Khan Jr. (4:14 PM)
Payton, I loved the hire of Jake Spavital. It's someone who he has worked with before, knows the style of offense the Aggies use and is young and energetic. Plus he can recruit. I'm hearing great things about Jeff Banks, the new special teams coach. He was a former punter himself and got two nice specialists as preferred walk-ons (Shane Tripucka, the Under Armour All-American punter) and Cody Wicker, a kicker from Dallas Jesuit. And Mark Hagen came in as a proven recruiter from Indiana and has been a recruiting coordinator before. Clearly, Sumlin understands how important it is to bring in players.
Do you know where we stand on Terrell Cuney
Sam Khan Jr. (4:15 PM)
He's a guy on my to-do list. I just saw his highlights today and they look good. I'll be checking in with him soon.
Payton (Katy, TX (Title Town))
Sam,How much do you think the offense will change next year? With McKinney as OC, do you think that the O will look a lot more like what we saw in the Sugar Bowl? Also, How much better can JFF get?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:17 PM)
Payton, I don't expect major changes to the offense but you could see some new wrinkles. Every year, this offense will evolve. SEC defenses will try to adapt and it's up to the staff to make the necessary adjustments to counter what defenses try to take away. But the core concepts will remain the same. I think the better Manziel gets and understanding everything you'll see two things: More passing from him and an even higher tempo as he is given more autonomy to call plays.
What is the news on Dylan Summer-Gardner is any
Sam Khan Jr. (4:18 PM)
He's scheduled to be at Texas' junior day this weekend. After that trip, we'll check in with him and see. He likes the Aggies quite a bit.
Is Houston an Aggie or Longhorn city? I'm in a huge arguement right now about it.
Sam Khan Jr. (4:21 PM)
Wow, great question. That's something I've never really paid attention to. There's a lot of alumni from both schools. I'd say I probably run into more Aggies than I do Longhorns, but that could just be me paying closer attention since I cover the Aggies. I see a lot of both. Maybe the Longhorns aren't as vocal right now because they didn't have a good a season as A&M. It would be interesting to pull numbers of registered living alumni in Houston and see what the actual data yields. Maybe I'll do that soon.
Keith (Ft Stockton)
Do you think Sumlin will try and recruit the O-line pretty hard because it seems like it will be a smaller class of higher rated linemen
Sam Khan Jr. (4:23 PM)
The Aggies will try to recruit every body they recruit pretty hard. But yes the class in 2014 will be smaller and I think you'll see the caliber of player the Aggies get overall will go up simply because of the success of this season. For instance, a guy like Braden Smith from Kansas, they're going to be involved with him as much as they can and the success of 11-2 in the SEC and a Heisman Trophy winner will allow them to stay in that race for quite awhile.
Do you think the new rules to recruiting will help or hurt the A&M recruiting, after doing so well this year
Sam Khan Jr. (4:24 PM)
I think it remains to be seen how it affects everyone but the relaxed rules on contact I think are a plus for the Aggies because Sumlin hires a staff of guys that hustle. The assistants are workhorses and if you give them a chance to build better relationships through more contact, I think the Aggies will capitalize on it.
Could Von Miller sack Johnny Football? Manzel is great but Von Miller is a beast at defensive end.
Sam Khan Jr. (4:25 PM)
Yes. I think Manziel is a heck of a talent and he's fast but you're asking if one of the best defensive players in the NFL can sack him? I say yes. I think a lot of NFL quarterbacks would agree.
Do you think having Kameron Miles will be the biggest help and getting DSG and what will he bring to the Aggies if we can land him
Sam Khan Jr. (4:27 PM)
It can't hurt to have Miles, but DSG saw everything in Aggieland for himself. But yes, he told me that Miles has been in his ear about going to A&M. So that can only help.
Everything I have been reading of late is it seems all the big recruits like us or Baylor, Koda and Martin to name a few, are they the new recruiting rivalry
Sam Khan Jr. (4:28 PM)
Byron, I wouldn't call Baylor a "rival" in recruiting for the Aggies but they'll definitely be a factor. Koda Martin likes Oklahoma, Baylor and the Aggies. But with a Heisman for RGIII a couple years ago, and another solid season to follow, plus they have nice facilities and new stadium plans to sell, they will be a factor in Texas recruiting -- so long that they keep winning. If they start reverting back to missing bowl games, then no.
Jeff (Baton Rouge)
I know one can't answer every question about Johnny Football or even know everything one can know but one can say that each and every relationship he has is legit right? Could you imagine a story that Johnny Football has a fake girlfriend like Manti Te'o OMG!!!!!
Sam Khan Jr. (4:29 PM)
As long as there's pictures as proof, I think that's enough. Otherwise, I'm not touching that. I work for ESPN, not TMZ.
Payton (Katy, TX (Title Town))
I saw that there were a bunch of Aggies invited to the combine, but there seemed to be a few that weren't. Do you think that S. Neeley, D. Harris, and P. Lewis will end up on NFL rosters?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:32 PM)
I say yes to all three. Whether it's on an active roster or as a practice squad guy, I think they'll find their way onto a team somewhere. Lewis is smart and talented and did a fantastic job for the Aggies this season. Harris is fast and is a factor in the return game and really came on strong at corner as the season progressed. Nealy's limited on athleticism (and size) but high on effort. If there was one I'd be concerned about it'd be Nealy simply because of his measureables, but I think his work ethic will help him earn a spot somewhere. Look what he did against SEC linemen this year.
LeftCoastAg (Los Angeles)
It seems this staff is recruiting tackles primarily. What does our 2 deep look like at G and C. What would the plan be if we lost Mathews to injury?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:34 PM)
You'll see Jarvis Harrison starting at a guard spot for sure. Cedric Ogbuehi likely becomes a tackle so you could see someone like Ben Compton or even Germain Ifedi competing for the other guard spot. Shep Klinke would be in that mix too, I would imagine, plus you've got incoming recruits like Joas Aguilar, who could compete for a spot in the two-deep. With Matthews, which one? Jake or Mike?
DO you think Sumlin will keep Les Miles out of Texas for a second year and will dip into Louisiana for some talent again
Sam Khan Jr. (4:35 PM)
I don't know if LSU will be shut out of Texas again completely (I was a bit surprised it happened this year) but clearly, LSU won't have the success it has had previously as long as the Aggies are successful. And yes, A&M will dip into Louisiana for talent again. As long as Sumlin is there, they will recruit Louisiana.
LeftCoastAg (Los Angeles)
Mike Mathews gets injured
Sam Khan Jr. (4:36 PM)
If it's Mike, maybe you look at a Ben Compton who has worked at that position before.
Andrew (College Station, TX)
Hey Sam, so behind Johnny Manziel how do you see the quarterbacks lining up? Including recruits from the current class
Sam Khan Jr. (4:38 PM)
I would guess that Matt Joeckel is the backup since he got playing time last year and knows the system as well as any of the others. Then Matt Davis and Kenny Hill battle it out for the No. 3 spot. I don't think Kohl Stewart will be on campus because if the projections remain where they are, I think it'd be hard for him to pass up baseball.
WHo will take over as leader of the Ag Swag movement and will be trying to get other elite talent to go to ATM like Matt Davis did and Ish did this last year
Sam Khan Jr. (4:39 PM)
Hoza Scott, the linebacker from La Porte and Cedric Collins, the corner from Dallas Skyline, seem to be prime candidates to help convince other guys to jump on board. Nick Harvey could be one too.
Barrett (George West)
Noel Ellis will be a huge help recruiting Willis and Noil or not really?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:41 PM)
It can't hurt, that's for sure. Him going with them to the junior day I think certainly helped. But ultimately they have to make their own decisions. And as long as they have LSU offers, it's always going to be a knock-down drag out fight because they're only an hour away from that campus.
Do you see Texas trying hard to over commit recruits or get the higher ranked commits to prevent us from getttng them to try and establish the big brother theme again or Sumlin will keep them at bay
Sam Khan Jr. (4:43 PM)
Texas can't be big brother if they're winning eight games every year and the Aggies repeat what they did this year. Right now, Texas A&M is the hottest team in the state. The only way Texas changes that is if they can get back in the BCS title game hunt and the Aggies lose momentum. I think as long as Sumlin is around, the Aggies are going to be pretty good.
Which recruits do you think will come down to the wire with next years NSD
Sam Khan Jr. (4:45 PM)
Hard to tell this early, but one guy who has repeatedly said that he's in no rush is Tony Brown. Of course, with his sister committed to LSU for track, that will play a role in his thinking. But he's one that has so many offers that he doesn't have to make a decision any time soon.
Predicted preseason ranking and final record for the Aggies next year?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:47 PM)
I think they'll start the season at No. 5. And I think they'll go 11-2 again.
Do you think we will land myles, named us his favorite, and cunnigham, being a legecy
Sam Khan Jr. (4:48 PM)
I'll predict yes on both.
With the Ags pursuing some really good RB's for '14 and already having some highly recruited ones on campus, do you think they make a more of an effort to run a little more next season? Not including JFF.
Sam Khan Jr. (4:49 PM)
With Brandon Williams and Tra Carson joining the mix and Clarence McKinney calling the plays, I think the Aggies will run a little more next year, yes.
Kevin (Del Rio)
Do we beat Alabama again and beat LSU this year and who is the dark horse biggest threat to lose to besides thoses two
Sam Khan Jr. (4:52 PM)
I'm going to say no on Alabama. I know it's at Kyle Field but the Tide are going to be a pretty motivated group and it's early in the year and the Tide get an extra week to prepare (they have an open date before the Aggies game). LSU in Death Valley is tough, but I think the Ags will be plenty fired up. I think that could go either way. And my dark horse for them to get a loss is at Ole Miss. The Aggies have to go back to Oxford again and it took a miracle to come out with a win last time. Hugh Freeze has improved that team quite a bit. I don't think the Aggies will lose, but if it happened there, it wouldn't shock me.
Which position is the most important to perform at a high level next year and who needs to play at a higher level next year for the Ags
Sam Khan Jr. (4:53 PM)
The answer to your first question is always the quarterback. If the quarterback stinks, it affects almost everything else you do. If you're looking for a non-quarterback, I'd say the defensive ends. Damontre Moore's success went a long way toward helping the Aggies become a better defensive team. They have to get a consistent pass rush. As for playing at a higher level, I'd say the cornerbacks. They had their ups and downs and they're clearly talented, but they've got to progress and get better.
Which freshman on both side of the ball has the biggest impact
Sam Khan Jr. (4:57 PM)
If you're going with true freshman, I'll say either DT Justin Manning or DT Isaiah Golden on offense. I think you could see one of those guys battle for a spot in the lineup. On offense I would say one of the receivers, perhaps Ricky Seals-Jones or Sebastian LaRue, or maybe even guard Joas Aguilar.
Kyle (Denver, CO)
After the 2013 recruiting haul, you think Sumlin can out do himself in future years? Top 5, Top 3 recruiting class in A&M's future?
Sam Khan Jr. (4:59 PM)
I think this 2014 class has the potential to be really good. The guys they're pursuing are high caliber guys. It's not going to be a huge class, but it's going to be pretty high on quality. Plus they have 8 home games next year which means 8 weekends for recruits to come see your game day atmosphere. That'll have an impact. I think they could have a top-5 class in 2014.
How does the signing of (I'm assuming it'll still happen) the OL from Jesuit-forgot his name. Will he count to this year or next?
Sam Khan Jr. (5:01 PM)
J.J. Gustafson is who you're thinking of. He is still planning to go to A&M and enroll in January. How he will count will depend on how the class shapes up. He could still count back to this year if the Aggies decide they need the room (they have two scholarships left for this class) or he could count as a 2014 guy if they end up filling those two spots somewhere along the way.
Any big time national recruits we should be favored for
Sam Khan Jr. (5:02 PM)
I think it's a bit early to call the Aggies a "favorite" on any national type guys but they certainly appear to be in the mix for Braden Smith, the OT from Olathe South in Kansas. The coach over there said A&M has recruited him as hard as anybody and they've gotten him on campus which is big.
Sam Khan Jr. (5:02 PM)
Alright gang, that will about do it for today. Thanks so much for joining and see you next time.