The past two weeks quickly turned into busy ones for Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin.
In addition to the contact period in recruiting, which began Nov. 30 and has Sumlin and his assistants barnstorming the country to put the finishing touches on the Aggies’ third consecutive top-10 recruiting class, Sumlin has hires to make. He fired defensive coordinator Mark Snyder the day after the regular season concluded and last week, receivers coach and recruiting coordinator David Beaty left the staff to accept the head-coaching job at Kansas.
As Sumlin’s search for a defensive coordinator continues, it is the one with everyone’s attention. The Aggies have been poor defensively the past two seasons and Sumlin aims to bring in someone who can make Texas A&M an SEC West-caliber unit on defense. The young talent on the roster and resources A&M has at its disposal suggest the Aggies can obtain a proven coach with a track record of success.
Though the defensive coordinator is priority No. 1, replacing Beaty’s spot on staff will be critical as well. In his three years in Aggieland, the former Texas high school football coach earned a reputation as a stellar recruiter and was the lynchpin to the Aggies’ success in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, a fertile area for talent and one that is a priority to Sumlin in the team's annual recruiting efforts.
In addition to being involved in the recruitment of every receiver the Aggies have brought in since his arrival, Beaty had a hand in helping land commitments from several highly-regarded recruits out of the Metroplex area including ESPN Junior 300 offensive tackle Greg Little, the No. 1 ranked player in the 2016 class. He also assisted quarterbacks coach Jake Spavital in the recruitment five-star quarterback Kyler Murray, who is the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the 2015 class, and defensive line coach Terry Price in the pursuit of five-star defensive end Myles Garrett, who broke the SEC freshman sack record for the Aggies this season and was the No. 4 overall player in the 2014 ESPN 300.
Just got off the phone with one of my favorite coaches @beaty_david I love that guy good luck in the future— 7⃣4⃣ (@TheGreglittle74) December 9, 2014
Lancaster (Texas) High School products Daeshon Hall and Nick Harvey, who both saw time as true freshmen at A&M (Hall in 2013, Harvey in 2014), were also Beaty recruits. And there are others in the current recruiting class, like 2015 ESPN 300 offensive tackle Trevor Elbert, whom Beaty was involved in recruiting. He was well-respected by high school coaches in the Metroplex.
Beaty was also able to land overlooked players, such as junior college receiver Josh Reynolds, that have paid dividends. In his first year at Texas A&M, Reynolds matched the school single-season record for touchdown receptions with 12. And while he was recruited by the previous coaching staff, there’s no doubt Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans, who is excelling as a rookie in the NFL, showed tremendous growth in his two seasons under Beaty's tutelage at Texas A&M after being a raw receiver with little organized football experience prior to arriving at school.
In addition to being able to coach their respective positions, Sumlin has always prioritized recruiting ability when searching for assistant coaches and this time is unlikely to be any different in that regard. His current staff excels in key areas such as Houston (with a presence from running backs coach Clarence McKinney and special-teams coach Jeff Banks), East Texas (offensive line coach B.J. Anderson), Southeast Texas (Price) and Louisiana (defensive backs coach Terry Joseph).
Ensuring the Aggies keep a strong foothold in Dallas and Fort Worth will be important though for Sumlin as he retools his staff to fill the current vacancies.