Even though Texas A&M just lost its starting cornerback, Elijah Blades, the Aggies are still looking for 2020 to be a big year in their program. The next-level talent on this squad is spread all over the field. No position group is necessarily “lacking” in regards to play-making ability. Coach Jimbo Fisher’s “guys” are finally starting to take control of the depth chart and be the true playmakers. And it’s his guys that make up almost the entirety of this list. Here are the top five players at Texas A&M in 2020.
Texas A&M’s Top 5 Players
5. Kenyon Green OL
The 2019 recruiting class leads this Aggie team, and Kenyon Green has been the face of the class for a long time. He was an Under Armour All-American when he was in high school and was on the cover of Dave Campbell’s high school football magazine. Green, no stranger to the spotlight, stepped onto Kyle Field and was a starter on day one. Number 55 performed well and progressed as many thought he would. Now, he represents, not only the future of the Aggie o-line, but the anchor of the unit as well.
Most great lines have one man that is their binding force that makes the unit as cohesive as they can be. Green is just that Texas A&M. He can play either guard or tackle, and some predict him to make the move tackle permanent one day. He is a remnant of the Aggie o-lines from the early 2010s that produced multiple NFL draft picks. 2019 prepped Green for a highly-anticipated 2020. He will continue to be a strong force on the Aggie line, and odds are, will hit the national radars he is not already on.
4. Ainias “Murder Hornet” Smith RB/WR/KR
Smith burst on to the scene in 2019 and never looked back. Eventually, he moved from wide receiver to running back for the Aggies’ bowl game. The position switch has been made permanent, but Smith will still be returning kicks. Considered to be a diamond in the rough, the Sugar Land native was ranked as a three-star athlete that was considering attending Duke University. Now, he is an Aggieland favorite, considered to be, arguably, the Ags’ most versatile wide receiver since Christian Kirk.
In 2020, Smith racked up 248 yards and three touchdowns on just 22 catches. On the ground, he averaged 7.7 yards per carry (seven carries). He also tallied 347 return yards. The stats and the film show there is very little Smith can’t do. The Aggies will continue to use Smith in all aspects of their attack in 2020, putting all of his capabilities on full display. He can strike from anywhere on the field, so teams will be forced to focus on the guy called “Murder Hornet” Smith.
3. Demarvin Leal DL
Demarvin Leal is considered by many to be the Aggies’ best player. He finished 2019 on a hot streak and shored up a starting position as a true freshman. 2020 could be a huge year for the d-lineman. He can play inside as a 3-technique. He can play outside as a 5-tech or a 7-tech. As far as playing in the trenches goes, Leal can do it all. He only had two sacks in 2019, but there is no doubt he will greatly increase those numbers.
The Aggies have been an NFL pipeline for defensive talent (i.e. Von Miller, Miles Garrett, Armani Watts), and Leal could be the guy to really rekindle that flame. He is quick off the edge and still has the power to plug up inside running lanes. Plus, and you don’t see this often in players so young, he plays with a great deal of discipline and intelligence. Each of these aspects of his game will develop in 2020, making Leal a household name in the SEC.
2. Kellen Mond QB
Wherever he goes, on the field and off, controversy follows. Mond is a polarizing figure in all that he does, but there is really no argument for the claim that the Aggie player caller has not grown and developed on the gridiron. Sure, there may have been some moments of stagnation, but Mond possesses that innate ability called the “wow factor.” There are times when Aggies have seen Kellen Mond completely take over a game and deliver through either the air or on the ground (LSU 2018 and Oklahoma State 2019, respectively).
After a brutal 2019 schedule, Mond is ready to be the rock this Aggie squad needs. He’s a senior now, as physically and mentally developed as we’re going to see. With an arsenal of weapons surrounding him, the sky is the limit for him in 2020. He still has a cannon of an arm and knows how to extend plays on his feet. It will come down to the little things in this exclusively-SEC slated season, but the previous season should have primed him. 2020 should be a perfect opportunity for Mond to show what he is capable of.
1. Jalen Wydermyer TE
That’s right, four of the top five Aggies are true sophomores. Going into 2020, Jalen Wydermyer was expected to play second fiddle to Baylor Cupp. After Cupp missed the season, the brunt of the position fell entirely on the big man from Dickinson, Texas. He took the opportunity and ran with it, literally. The true freshman led the team in touchdowns and his pass-catching ability was uncanny for someone so large and young.
Typically, a player like Wydermyer wouldn’t develop the hand-eye coordination until he was at least twenty years old. 85 showed that he has the ability to be a difference-maker on this offense. He will likely be an impact player in each game, garnering extreme attention from defensive coordinators across the SEC. He still has another year of eligibility after this season. Don’t be surprised if Wydermyer is walking the stage on day one of the 2022 NFL Draft.