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Monday, November 28, 2022
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Texas A&M Recruiting Class is Best Ever in Modern Era


Texas A&M Head Football Coach Jimbo Fisher | Image by Streeter Lecka / Getty Images

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The Texas A&M Aggies finished National Signing Day (NSD) on February 2 with the best recruiting class of the modern era, according to 247Sports’ rankings.

In December, the Aggies had 27 players sign with the team during the early signing period, locking up the highest-ranked recruiting class of 2022 per 247Sports’ composite team rankings. On NSD, they added to their haul, picking up the signature of five-star defensive lineman Shemar Stewart from Miami, FL, early in the afternoon.

Stewart is the No.10 overall prospect in the nation per 247Sports’ algorithm for ranking high school prospects. His signing officially gave the 2022 Aggie class the highest recruiting composite score ever given by 247Sports, since the network began in 2010.

After Stewart signed, the Aggies class had a total score of 328.59, passing the previous record set just last year by the 2021 class of Alabama that totaled 327.76 points.

Texas A&M was not done adding to their class. Later in the evening, four-star safety and No.39 overall prospect in the nation, Jacoby Matthews, from Ponchatoula, LA, became the 29th and final signing of the Aggies 2022 class. His signing boosted A&M’s final recruiting class score to 330.51.

Overall, the Aggies class comprises 7 five-star, 19 four-star, and 3 three-star prospects. The most decorated member of the class is five-star defensive lineman and No.2 overall prospect in the nation, Walter Nolen from Powell, Tennessee.

Also signed to Texas A&M is five-star wide receiver and No.11 overall prospect, Evan Stewart from Frisco Liberty High School.

NSD was not entirely perfect for the Aggies. Five-star linebacker and No.8 overall prospect Harold Perkins, from Cypress, TX, signed with the LSU Tigers. Perkins had verbally committed to Texas A&M in early January but decided to decommit later in the month. Still, the Aggies believed they had a chance to land Perkins’ signature before he ultimately chose the Tigers of LSU.

The Aggies historic recruiting class is a significant boost for the program coming off an 8-4 season. Texas A&M will expect to use this class of quality players to win a championship soon. That would be monumental for a football program that has not won a national championship since 1939 or even a conference title since 1998.

Of course, not everyone was happy with the Aggies recruiting success. Rival coaches from the Southeastern Conference (SEC) speculated how A&M put together their recruiting class in the new era of rules that allow college athletes to profit off their name, image, and likeness (NIL).

Mississippi coach Lane Kiffin spoke the day before NSD about schools with “five or ten times more than everyone else” to pay players.

“It is what it is,” Kiffin added. “I joked the other day I didn’t know if Texas A&M was going to incur a luxury tax and how much they paid for their signing class.”

Alabama coach Nick Saban spoke on NSD and criticized using NIL money to attract recruits but did not mention Texas A&M specifically.

Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher was far from amused by the comments and defended his program.

“To have coaches, in our league and across this league to say it … clown acts,” Fisher said. “Irresponsible as hell. Multiple coaches in our league. And the guys griping about NIL, griping about the transfer portal, are using it the most and bragging about it the most. That’s the ironic part.”

Fisher pointed to comments made by coach Saban last year regarding a NIL deal signed by Alabama quarterback Bryce Young.

“It’s funny when Nick Saban said his quarterback got an $800,000 deal, it was wonderful. Now it ain’t wonderful no more,” Fisher said. “The hypocrisy is a joke. It’s an absolute joke. And it’s insulting to our staff, how hard we work, to how we do things. It’s insulting to Texas A&M because there ain’t a better place to go to school and play ball.”

Texas A&M is the first school other than Alabama or Georgia to finish with the No.1 ranked recruiting class, per 247Sports, since the Florida Gators were No.1 in 2010.

The perennial powerhouse of Alabama had the No.1 overall class in nine of those seasons. They were relegated to the No.2 spot in the final team recruiting class rankings this year, with Georgia following at No.3 and Ohio State at No.4.

Rounding out the top five is the Texas Longhorns. They only picked up one signature on NSD, but it promises to be an impactful signing. Five-star offensive lineman and No.10 overall prospect Devon Campbell from Arlington Bowie High School signed with the Longhorns on NSD.

Campbell is the fourth Dallas-area offensive lineman to sign with the Longhorns in their 2022 recruiting class. The others include four-stars Cole Hutson (Frisco), and Neto Umeozulu (Allen), along with three-star lineman Cameron Williams (Duncanville).

Campbell is the second five-star lineman to sign with the Longhorns, joining Kelvin Banks, the No.33 ranked prospect in the nation from Humble, TX.

Longhorn fans hope that their decorated class will quickly improve a program that finished 5-7 last season in Steve Sarkisian’s first year as head coach.

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