(Photo: Alli Cline/WCSN)
Texas A&M has been one of the hotspots for recruiting in the past couple years given its recent wave of talent transitioning to the NFL. Regardless of how impressive or disappointing the Aggies’ record is at the end of this season, they could be the most talented team the Sun Devils face all season.
While most Sun Devil fans will be watching local product and starting quarterback for TAMU Kyle Allen closely, the players around him will be what gets him past this highly-hyped Sun Devil team.
Josh Reynolds, junior wide receiver, #11
Speedy Noil, sophomore wide receiver, #2
No matter who was playing quarterback for the Aggies last season, one of the receivers was going to get the job done in their own unique way.
Picking one of these receivers as the player to watch would be unfair because each are equally as likely to make game-altering plays in the blink of an eye. The two complement each other perfectly, and their numbers last season reflect that.
Reynolds at 6-foot-4, 190 pounds, along with Noil at 5-foot-11 and blazing speed (ironically) is the two-headed monster that sophomore quarterback Kyle Allen is going to need to keep this dynamic Sun Devil defense off balance.
The duo combined for 98 catches and 1,425 yards last season, and now that it seems the Aggies have solved their quarterback issue, only expect more.
While all eyes will be on the local kid at quarterback, ASU head coach Todd Graham’s eyes will be on these two receivers. Everybody knows two things about a Todd Graham defense: They’re rarely penalized, and they love to bring the house. Graham has been known to send defensive backs after the quarterback, but he might have to think twice considering the threat this pair of receivers brings.
ASU’s top three corners all stand above six feet tall, but the question is whether their physicality and height be enough to limit the impact Reynolds and Noil’s athleticism has on the game. Returning senior corners Kweishi Brown and Lloyd Carrington are going to be tested early on in trying to frustrate these Aggie receivers
Myles Garrett, sophomore defensive end, #15
The former Under Armour All-American in high school is looking to improve off of a freshman campaign where he earned second team all-SEC honors, as a freshman. In 12 games played, Garrett had 11.5 sacks last season as a freshman, and nine of those games were against ranked opponents.
Did I mention he was only a freshman last season?
Garrett broke former South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney’s SEC freshman record for sacks in a season in only his fifth start. For those unfamiliar with the name, Clowney eventually became a number one overall draft pick in the NFL.
This versatile pass rusher is the sole reason why the entire ASU offensive line is going to have its hands full. Garrett played multiple positions on the defensive line last season, and his versatility could play a huge factor in wearing out the offensive line.
Even if Garrett is held up, there may be enough focus on limiting his impact that it opens up opportunities for the fellow Aggie linemen. So in reality, no matter what happens, Garrett will change the game.
There is no doubt that Garrett is the most talented player in this game, and the Sun Devil offensive line is going to have trouble keeping his hands – and 6-foot-5, 262 pound frame – off of Mike Bercovici.