Watch out for the Aggies in 2015

A&M's an early contender for Tyron Johnson

Texas A&M remains one of the hottest teams on the recruiting trail. They currently have the nation's top class, and the Aggies seem intent on raiding Louisiana again in 2015. LSU won't want to lose anymore of the state's top talent to A&M, which is setting up for a big recruiting war between the two programs.

Back in November I wrote a column about Texas A&M's increased recruiting focus in the state of Louisiana. I warned that the Aggies were a bigger threat to LSU than many were giving them credit for.

Most of the reaction to that column was the same. LSU fans believed A&M hadn't accomplished enough to really push the powers of the SEC when it came to recruiting. They had a coach that seemed destined for the NFL, and a "flash in the pan" offense led by a once-in-a-lifetime quarterback.

Those aren't typically the ingredients for sustained success. And besides, the only Louisiana players A&M had landed at the time were ones LSU didn't want.

Well, a lot has changed since that column ran on Nov. 22. Kevin Sumlin signed an extension to keep him in College Station at least until 2016, Johnny Manziel's poised to be a top-five NFL Draft pick, and the Aggies have broken ground on a $450 million renovation to Kyle Field.

And there was that whole deal with Speedy Noil and his nationally televised decision to spurn the home-state team and sign with A&M. So much for them only getting the ones LSU didn't want.

The momentum created by Johnny Football and A&M's eye-opening debut in the SEC hasn't worn off, and the Aggies are only getting more and more aggressive when it comes to recruiting Louisiana. With the way it's started, the Class of 2015 is shaping up to be a war between these two neighbors.

On Sunday, A&M hosted their second junior day of this cycle, and it attracted some notable Louisiana talent. Featured on the visitor list were guys like Xavier Lewis (East St. John), Dylan Moses (University Lab), Derrick Dillon (Pine), Deshawn Capers-Smith (Warren Easton) and Arthur McGinnis (Warren Easton).

Reports from College Station are the day was a home run for the Aggies, and the recruits have shared that reaction.

The big news of the day came from Capers-Smith. The three-star ATH made his commitment to the Aggies, marking an early victory for new A&M secondary coach and New Orleans native Terry Joseph. LSU hasn't offered Capers-Smith, and he seems on the outside looking in at this point, so this wasn't necessarily a victory over the home team.

But what this commitment gives A&M is an inroad at Warren Easton, home to the state's No. 1 prospect. WR Tyron Johnson didn't visit College Station this weekend, though he's been there several times in the last year. Keeping Johnson home is a top priority for LSU, but the Aggies are very much a contender at this early stage.

While no one believes he'll be influenced by the decision of his teammates, it certainly won't hurt the Aggies. Having Capers-Smith locked in, while also recruiting McGinnis, could really help in selling Johnson on comfort, which almost always proves to be a decisive factor in kids' decisions.

LSU isn't concerned at this point though, and they feel they left a strong impression on him at "Boys from the Boot" a couple weeks back. The Tigers will let Cam Cameron's reputation and the success of Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry do the talking. But it does seem like for the second straight year, the battle for Louisiana's top WR will come down to LSU and Texas A&M.

The Aggies also made Derrick Dillon a big focus this weekend, extending him an offer while he was on campus. He's one of the state's more dynamic playmakers, electric with the ball in his hands and can play just about any position on the field.

A&M likes him as a wide receiver, while LSU thinks he's a defensive back. The Tigers haven't offered him yet, but that will likely come once the coaches get some fresh evaluations this spring.

According to his coach, Dillon would prefer to play offense on the next level, and that will be something he considers when ultimately making a decision. But Dillon has also informed the LSU coaches that he'd be willing to play DB if he feels that school's the right fit. So there'll be more to his decision than just his position, but considering he does want to have the ball in his hands, the Aggies may very well be a threat to LSU in Dillon's recruitment.

While both Xavier Lewis and Dylan Moses spoke highly of their trips to College Station, LSU doesn't seem to have much cause for concern with either.

Lewis has maintained he's open in his recruitment since decommitting from LSU earlier this month. But he still claims the Tigers as his leader while he continues to take visits and investigate his other options. Most feel he'll wind up back with LSU before it's all said and done, but the Aggies at least have a seat at the table and are worth keeping an eye on.

We're not going to focus much on Moses, but A&M did extend him an offer this weekend. There are still three years until he actually signs with a college, and you can bet on A&M — and really every school — not backing down. But he wouldn't have committed as a high school freshman if he wasn't serious about playing for LSU. It's just going to be a long time until that's a certainty.

This weekend was just a small sample size in the recruitments of several targets shared by A&M and LSU. By no means is it time to panic and Tiger fans shouldn't plan on bowing down to their new Aggie overlords anytime soon.

But A&M is for real, and they're intent on raiding Louisiana even harder in 2015. You can expect the recruiting battles to grow more serious as time goes on, and LSU would be wise to mind their Western front if they want to make sure Speedy-like defections don't become more common.


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