After starting the season with College Football Playoff aspirations, Texas A&M finished 5-7 and missed a bowl. Looking ahead to this season, sportsbooks seem to expect significant improvement. FanDuel Sportsbook currently gives Texas A&M a 7.5-win total juiced to -176 on the over. Let’s dive into Texas A&M football predictions, futures, roster overview and more.
Texas A&M Football Predictions, Futures & Roster Overview
There are not many coaching seats in college football hotter than Jimbo Fisher’s right now. Brought in to win National Championships, Fisher’s 39-21 record has been the subject of much scrutiny. With his back against the wall, Fisher hired Bobby Petrino as his offensive coordinator. Petrino most recently acted as the Missouri State head coach but has a long track record of calling plays. On defense, D.J. Durkin remains in place despite Texas A&M finishing 100th in total defense last year. Ultimately, this will be a make-or-break year for this coaching staff.
Texas A&M Offense
After using three quarterbacks last season, Texas A&M will move forward with Conner Weigman under center for the start of 2023. The former 5-star now enters his sophomore season after a cameo in 2022. He completed 73 of 132 passes (55.3%) for 896 yards (6.8 yards per attempt), eight touchdowns and zero interceptions. Weigman also ran 27 times for 97 yards (3.6 yards per carry). At 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, he provides decent size to the program. The team also retains Max Johnson as the presumed backup. The one-time LSU starter completed 43 of 71 passes last year for 517 yards (7.3 yards per attempt), three touchdowns and zero interceptions. He ran 29 times for 61 yards but does not appear to have quite the same level of mobility as Weigman. Johnson did have a quality 2021, where he completed 60.3% of his 373 passes for 2,815 yards, 27 touchdowns and six interceptions. Third string should be 4-star freshman Marcel Reed.
At running back, Texas A&M lost Devon Achane to the NFL. Its second- and third-leading rushers Amari Daniels and Le’Veon Moss do return. However, neither received much work last year. Daniels is 5-foot-8, 200 pounds and rushed 36 times for 190 yards while catching two passes. He now enters his third season. Daniels averaged 3.19 yards after contact and forced a missed tackle on 19.4% of his attempts. Moss is 5-foot-11, 200 pounds and rushed 27 times for 114 yards and one touchdown. He also caught one pass for eight yards in his true freshman season last year. In addition, Texas A&M landed 5-star freshman Rueben Owens, who comes in as the 28th overall player in this cycle. Already on campus this spring, Owens has drawn rave reviews. He was listed at 5-foot-11, 190 entering campus. Finally, A&M added a pair of transfers in Preston Landis (North Texas) and David Bailey (Colorado State). Neither projects to play much. This will be Bailey’s sixth season after three with Boston College and two with Colorado State. He has not averaged more than 4.0 yards per carry since 2019.
Wide receiver should be a sneaky position for Texas A&M despite losing Chris Marshall, Chase Lane and Yulkeith Brown. Leading receiver Evan Stewart returns after an excellent freshman season. He caught 53 passes for 649 yards and two touchdowns. He is 5-foot-11, 170 pounds, but he only played in the slot on 11.2% of his routes. Stewart’s 1.76 yards per route ranked 32nd in the SEC last year. The team also returns Ainias Smith, who only played in four games due to injury. Smith is 5-foot-10, 190 pounds and caught 15 passes for 291 yards and two touchdowns in four games before injury. He caught over 40 passes for over 500 yards in 2020 and 2021. He operated in the slot 84.8% of the time last before injury and his 2.75 yards per route would have ranked fourth among qualifiers. The third starting receiver looks like Moose Muhammad III, who finished second on the team last year. Muhammad is 6-foot-1, 195 pounds and finished with 38 catches for 609 yards last year. He played in the slot 87.2% of the time and his 2.11 yards per route ranked 20th in the SEC. His skillset is a little redundant with Smith, so perhaps Texas A&M turns to a bit of a rotation. Jalen Preston is also back for his sixth season after catching seven passes for 89 yards last year. However, he is 6-foot-2, 220 pounds and gives the position some size. With that said, depth could be an issue here. UTEP transfer Tyrin Smith decided to re-enter the transfer portal after spring. Grand Valley State transfer Jahdae Walker came in this summer, but this will be a massive jump in competition. The Aggies do have a pair of 4-star freshmen in Raymond Cottrell and Micah Tease, who may be asked to contribute sooner rather than later. They also landed a transfer and four-star from the 2022 class in Jordan Anthony. He comes over from Kentucky after sparsely playing. Ultimately, this group has strong high-end talent, but depth questions remain.
At tight end, Texas A&M returns its top two options in Max Wright and Donovan Green. Wright is 6-foot-4, 255 pounds and blocked on 58.2% of his 251 snaps. He caught nine passes for 129 yards and one touchdown as a receiver. Green is 6-foot-4, 235 pounds and caught 22 passes for 233 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Green blocked on 47.3% of his snaps, but functions more as a move tight end.
The offensive line loses just one starter in center Matthew Wykoff (52.5). It returns both tackles in Reuben Fatheree II (69.1) and Trey Zuhn III (69.3). The pair played 785 and 690 snaps with solid work in the pass and run game. Fortunately for Texas A&M both guards return as well. Kam Dewberry (63.4) comes back after 379 snaps primarily coming at left guard. Layden Robinson (57.1) also makes his return after 754 snaps on the other side. Another positive for the Aggies is Bryce Foster (54.1) at center. Due to injury, Foster only played in four games last year. However, he started much of 2021 with strong grades, per PFF. Even Aki Ogunbiyi (51.1) returns 305 snaps as well, giving A&M depth along this unit. If that were not enough Finn Dirstine (Boston College) and Chase Bisontis enter the program. Bisontis is a 5-star freshman and the top interior offensive lineman in this class.
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Texas A&M Defense
On defense, Texas A&M ranked 100th in 2022. This included the 122nd-ranked run defense, 83rd-ranked pass rush and 46th-ranked pass coverage. Fortunately, it cannot get much worse for Texas A&M. The team now returns nine players with legitimate starting experience. With five additional transfers coming in, this unit should make a solid jump this season.
On the defensive line, all four major contributors return. Shemar Stewart and Fadil Diggs man the edges after 416 and 382 snaps. In particular, Diggs excelled last year with 24 quarterback pressures on limited snaps. On the interior, McKinnley Jackson and Shemar Turner return 382 and 524 snaps. Jackson provided 14 pressures, while Turner added 22. Another year with the program should only help these four players and Texas A&M’s depth.
At linebacker, Chris Russell and Edgerrin Cooper both return over 600 snaps. Both came in just above average in most production metrics. However, Texas A&M decided to add some competition to the fold. Jurriente Davis transferred in from Jackson State after initially starting his career with Middle Tennessee State in 2021. Aidan Siano also comes over from Rice to act as more of a depth piece. Ultimately, this room has a nice blend of returning production and depth.
Finally, Texas A&M lost Jaylon Jones and Antonio Johnson in the secondary. However, it returns three players with starting experience here. Safeties Demani Richardson and Jardin Gilbert both played over 700 snaps last year with solid coverage numbers. Gilbert, in particular, allowed just 188 receiving yards into his coverage. Starting corner Tyreek Chappell also returns after 695 snaps last year. This will be Chappell’s third year starting. After allowing 375 yards into his coverage in 2021, he improved to just 210 yards last year.
The other two corners should be incumbent Bryce Anderson and North Carolina transfer Tony Grimes. Anderson only logged 201 snaps last year but looks like the favorite for the slot role following spring. Grimes played 697 snaps with North Carolina last year and provides a solid blend of production and experience. If Texas A&M needs to shake up the corner room, it also added Josh DeBerry from Boston College and Sam McCall from Florida State. McCall only played 70 snaps last year, but he was a top-50 recruit in the country last year. He now enters his second season. DeBerry started for three seasons with Boston College and could very well start here with all of his experience.
Texas A&M Schedule
Texas A&M will once again play a tough SEC West schedule. Fortunately, its non-conference features New Mexico, Miami, Louisiana Monroe and Abilene Christian. The Miami game is on the road, but A&M should still be a favorite. As for the SEC East, Texas A&M crosses over against Tennessee on the road and South Carolina at home. Within their division, the Aggies travel to Ole Miss, LSU and play Arkansas at a neutral venue.
Even with the tough schedule, Texas A&M will be favored in over half of its games. That could change quickly if it shows signs of dysfunction similar to last season. While volatile, this makes Texas A&M an interesting team to bet. The Aggies have a 7.5-win total, +1200 odds to win the SEC and +6000 odds to win the National Title. Texas A&M has the talent on their roster to contend for a playoff berth. At +6000 odds, this is the kind of longshot that makes sense in the National Title conversation. However, the variance with this roster could also lead to another disappointing season. The SEC West does A&M no favors, but it is hard to see this team finishing below 7.5 wins. With the win total out of the picture at current prices, the best bet for the Aggies is a sprinkle on their National Title odds (heavy emphasis on sprinkle).