4. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE TEXAS A&M DEFENSE
– Things aren’t nearly as bad as they might appear. The top six tacklers – along with a massive chunk of the sack production – have to be replaced.
Start with the linebacking corps that loses leading tackler Otaro Alaka and second-leading man Tyrel Dodson. There’s hope that junior Buddy Johnson can turn into more of a baller at one outside spot after coming up with 27 tackles, and then it’s going to come down to who can take the other outside gig and Alaka’s spot in the middle in fall camp.
There are prospects coming in, but it’s one of the lighter parts of the recruiting class compared to what some of the other positions got, but …
– The defensive front is going to be terrific. Three of the four starters are done, but even after losing some NFL-caliber talents, the potential is there for an upgrade if the young guys are the real deal.
6-4, 285-pound DE DeMarvin Leal was 1A in the Aggie recruiting class if he’s not the top guy, and senior Micheal Clemons appears ready for a breakthrough year after spending last season hurt.
6-3, 304-pound junior Justin Madubuike is back on the inside as the lone returning starter in the front four, and there will be a rotation around him, starting with 6-6, 298-pound junior Jayden Peevy.
– The secondary is going to be a thing. Assuming the pass rush is as strong as the 2018 version, the big plays will be there for the taking – they need to be after the D came up with just seven picks – with junior Debione Renfro and senior Charles Oliver back, and with an upgrade about to arrive from the latest recruiting class.
Leon O’Neal should be ready to do more at one safety job after getting his feet wet as a freshman, and there are plenty of options to work into the rotation – again, the recruiting class is about to help here.