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Texas A&M recruiting class ranks third nationally

COLLEGE STATION — Texas A&M fans can rejoice at the latest recruiting rankings and, as of Wednesday, realize the Aggies are third nationally in what’s considered the lifeblood of a program.

Until they realize being third nationally also means being third in the Southeastern Conference. Seven football seasons in, A&M is still being welcomed to the big leagues with the awareness the Aggies will always have to fight to be the SEC’s best in recruiting.

That’s why A&M hired a fighter a year ago, a coach who consistently turned in some of the nation’s top classes at Florida State during this past decade. Jimbo Fisher was asked on his weekly radio show this season what he did with his time during the Aggies’ bye week.

“You’re recruiting every day,” he said. “As soon as you don’t, you’re behind.”

While the Aggies find themselves behind reigning national champion and No. 1 Alabama and Georgia, which the Crimson Tide narrowly defeated in last season’s national title game, they’re ahead of all their peers in the Lone Star State.

Naturally, A&M and Texas are still in year-round tussles for the state’s top talent, even if the old rivals don’t meet on the gridiron any more in competing in different leagues. Lately, though, the Aggies also have found themselves competing with Alabama for some of the region’s top prospects.

In the past month, Alabama has swiped two coveted recruits from A&M’s class of 2019: linebacker Christian Harris of Baton Rouge, La., and defensive back Jeffery Carter from Mansfield. Each is a four-star prospect, and each likely would have earned early playing time with the Aggies.

While some A&M fans will cringe at the idea Alabama’s Nick Saban, perhaps college football’s all-time greatest coach, is pilfering a couple of Fisher’s pledges, the idea A&M is in on the same quality of players this late in the game is a good sign for the Aggies. That hasn’t been an issue in the past.

The early signing period runs from Dec. 19-21, and the Aggies are angling to ink most of their class of 22, including two five-star prospects in offensive lineman Kenyon Green of Atascocita and defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal of Converse Judson, in that time frame.

A year ago, Fisher was scrambling after just arriving to A&M from FSU in early December, and managed to lure a couple of top recruits (for instance defensive lineman Bobby Brown, who switched his pledge from Alabama) before the traditional signing day in early February.

The energized Fisher, 53, now has a year under his belt in College Station and appears to be making the most of it with his first true class at A&M — one that might see a handful of additions.

“The thing I want to make sure of is we don’t leave out the senior who develops late,” Fisher said. “There are still a lot of great players who can develop late as seniors, and we need to make sure we do a good job of evaluating them, too.”

The Aggies need linebackers and defensive backs, especially the latter after the secondary struggled against passing teams. Defensive back pledges Brian Williams, Erick Young and Demani Richardson, all four-star prospects, will earn long looks in the summer in terms of helping out the Aggies from the season opener and moving forward.

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