The 2020 season for Texas A&M was all about living up to expectations. After years falling short based off projections, Jimbo Fisher finally had a consistently competitive squad — or at least he did outside of one week against Alabama.
The team finished No. 4 in the final rankings, and now it’s a matter of keeping the momentum going heading into 2021. The expectations have never been higher, either. This is a program that almost made the College Football Playoff, and the returning group is good enough to make some noise.
OutKick continues with our offseason look at all 14 SEC teams. We started with Alabama before moving on to Georgia and Florida in the SEC East. Now, it’s time to head back over to the West with the Aggies.
For other offseason outlooks from around the SEC, click here.
Key Losses: QB Kellen Mond; OT Carson Green; OT Dan Moore; OG Jared Hocker; C Ryan McCollum; DT Bobby Brown; LB Buddy Johnson
Key Returning: RB Isaiah Spiller; RB/WR Ainias Smith; TE Jalen Wydermyer; OG Kenyon Green; DL DeMarvin Leal; EDGE Tyree Johnson; EDGE Michael Clemons; DT Jayden Peevy; LB Aaron Hansford; CB Myles Jones; CB Jaylon Jones; S Demani Richardson; S Leon O’Neal; DC Mike Elko
Key Additions: DT Shemar Turner (5-star); SDE Tunmise Adeleye (4); RB LJ Johnson (4); OG Bryce Foster (4); OT Reuben Fatheree (4); S Kendal Daniels (4); WR Shadrach Banks (4); SDE Marcus Burris; OT Jahmir Johnson (GT, TENN)
Key Games: vs. Alabama (Oct. 9); at Missouri (Oct. 16); vs. Auburn (Nov. 6); at Ole Miss (Nov. 13); at LSU (Nov. 27)
Outlook: Texas A&M was a really good football team this season. Unfortunately, a lack of consistency at the quarterback position proved to be a major hindrance. When Kellen Mond was playing well, he was dynamic. When he was playing poorly, however, things would get ugly.
Now he’s off to the NFL, and the Aggies will have a quarterback battle on their hands. People might assume it’ll be second-year player Haynes King, but redshirt sophomore Zach Calzada has a big-time arm and has an extra year of experience in the program.
Whoever ends up starting with have plenty of weapons at the skill positions, but four of the five offensive linemen are gone. If A&M can address the quarterback and offensive line, this should once again be a competitive squad.
The defense continues to be a strength despite losing two veteran leaders in linebacker Buddy Johnson and defensive tackle Bobby Brown. The secondary is deep and talented, and so is the defensive line.
In addition, the top two players in the 2021 class are along the defensive front, so that unit will be loaded with depth. There were 12 total offensive and defensive linemen added in the trenches, so that should bode well for a SEC contender.
Will this team be as good as they were in 2020? That’s difficult to say, especially considering where they finished. At least Fisher knew what he had in Mond, and the uncertainty with the new guys at key positions makes this hard to project.
I’ll go ahead and assume they find adequate replacements. They won’t be on Alabama’s level, but they should continue to be one of the better teams in the SEC — especially in the West.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.