NCAA Football News

Texas A&M 'Friday Night Lights' Recap

You have to believe that three days after one of its biggest recruiting opportunities of the year, the Texas A&M Aggies football program is excited about where it stands with some of the top in-state prospects.

Although the Aggies didn't get a commitment over the weekend, fans should keep an eye on several Texas A&M targets who attended the school's annual "Friday Night Lights" event.

 

A&M offers a pair of 4-star DTs

The Aggies are hoping to bulk up their defensive line—arguably the best part of the team's defense already. Jordan Elliott and Chris Daniels, two 4-star defensive tackles, have added Texas A&M to their offer lists.

Both are top-15 defensive tackles.

Daniels has TCU, Baylor, Michigan and others high on his list, per 247Sports. He also has offers from Texas Tech, USC, Ole Miss, Miami and several other programs.

Elliott will be the tougher pledge to land, as he's been a Baylor commit since Jan. 31. Elliott said he's keeping all options open, and he's received offers from Texas A&M and Michigan since Friday.

 

California group in for FNL experience

Members of the Team 19 All-Stars—the California-based seven-on-seven team run by former NFL star Keyshawn Johnson—took a group road trip to Texas A&M for Friday Night Lights. UCLA commit and 4-star wide receiver Michael Pittman, 4-star 2017 wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson Jr. and 3-star dual-threat quarterback Khalil Tate were among those who made the trip.

Tate left College Station not only with an offer but also with a new outlook on the campus.

When he got to the campus, he said it was relatively quiet, but the atmosphere instantly became electric shortly before the events of Friday Night Lights and remained so shortly thereafter.

"I wasn't expecting the campus to be this amazing," he told Bleacher Report. "The facilities are state of the art, and they love mobile QBs that can spin the ball."

 

No. 1 2017 DT calls A&M offer a 'big deal'

As the nation's top-ranked defensive tackle in the 2017 class, Marvin Wilson is watching his recruiting process slowly heat up. A new Texas A&M offer could help that process blow up.

The Aggies became the third team to offer Wilson, a 6'4", 300-pound talent who is the No. 13 overall player in the 2017 class. USC became offer No. 4 on Monday.

Texas is considered the early favorite, according to the 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions, but Wilson said the Texas A&M offer is a huge one to consider.

"It's a big deal for me in my recruitment to get this offer," he said. "I feel like it's going to get my offers rolling in. The school just feels like home to me."

 

A&M offer caps Friday trifecta for 2017 ATH

Jeffrey Okudah had a good Friday. In addition to picking up a Texas A&M offer, the rising athlete also grabbed offers from Tennessee and UCLA.

Okudah ended his productive day with the offer from the Aggies. He took in Friday Night Lights and was excited to land the in-state offer. He added that he's a fan of new defensive coordinator John Chavis.

"It's a school I really have had my eyes on," Okudah said. "The coaches show me a lot of love over there, and FNL is all about energy. It's great to get a feel of the school, and it's really a blessing to have the [other] schools feel highly enough of me to offer."

 

Damon Sayles is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand. All ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings. Follow Damon via Twitter: @DamonSayles.

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The Offseason of Jim Harbaugh

If George Costanza of Seinfeld had "The Summer of George," then first-year Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh is having "The Offseason of Jim." 

Consider it this way: Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer just won a national championship. Yet, if he hadn't been stranded at sea on a cruise ship—while contributing to an excellent cause, mind you—we may have barely uttered a word about him. 

Harbaugh? He's everywhere. He's crushing it on Twitter (and a must-follow if you're into such things). He's helping car-crash victims. He's coaching first base for the Oakland A's. 

He's in (or previously was in) the audience for an episode of Judge Judy

Look, I'm selfish. So are you. It's OK to admit it: We're all glad Harbaugh's back in college. He makes things so much more interesting, and we're six full months away before he coaches his first game against Utah. 

But why is Harbaugh so fascinating? What possesses him to say, "That's kind of the way the pickle squirted" when describing his 2015 recruiting class in a press conference instead of, you know, taking the normal route?

It starts with the fact that Harbaugh's personality isn't like a lot of other coaches.  

"Perception-wise, he's not what I expected," said Phil Callihan, editor-in-chief of UMGoBlue.com. "He's the most atypical football coach I've ever spoken with.  

"He's almost geeky." 

That word—"geeky"—carries a certain connotation. Yes, Harbaugh is intense and passionate with a touch of awkward, though you probably knew that already. All you had to do was watch Harbaugh flip out over a questionable call as the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. 

Or read this description about Harbaugh courtesy of Nick Baumgardner of MLive.com

He says weird things that make people laugh, but he's not trying to be funny. He'll look at you with a 10-mile stare and make you wonder if he's listening to anything you're saying, while still digesting every word.

He wears cleats to news conferences. He'll deliver five cliches in a row, and then turn right around with an articulate, insightful answer out of nowhere.

Nothing's predictable, and just about everything should be expected.

What's less obvious about Harbaugh is his passion translates into other branches of his life. And we mean every branch. He has a wide range of interests that go beyond football, and he goes 100 percent with all of them. "He's...very well-rounded," said Callihan. 

Harbaugh, along with his brother, John Harbaugh, is notably vocal about his faith. "He mentions religion more than any coach I've met. It's very sincere for him" said Callihan. "Sometimes he relates to players on religion." 

However, this is bigger than Judge Judy or God. Those are simply the avenues through which Harbaugh's personality travels. 

What makes Harbaugh interesting is that he's brutally honest about himself and others. He is who he is, and he's unapologetic about it. He's different and doesn't try or want to hide it. He cares about people, about recruits, but not to the point where he'll lie to them to prove it. 

According to Callihan, if Harbaugh thinks someone isn't NFL material, he'll tell him. It doesn't mean Harbaugh's right, but it is what's on his mind. If he thinks a recruit's ceiling is an undergraduate degree and only an undergraduate degree, he'll say so. "He gives an unvarnished opinion in recruiting," said Callihan. 

Some appreciate that candor; others don't. Harbaugh's personalty may not be malicious, but it can rub people the wrong the way. There are examples of that. Seattle Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin and cornerback Richard Sherman, both of whom played for Harbaugh at Stanford, didn't exactly give glowing reviews of their former head coach to Doug Farrar of Sports Illustrated in January:  

Thus, Baldwin and Sherman have interesting recon abilities as the only two guys to have played for both Harbaugh and Carroll. Safe to say, Harbaugh's personal style rubbed both players the wrong way -- both Sherman and Baldwin felt like odd fits, and Baldwin actually thought about quitting the game altogether in his junior year before his mom told him to stick it out.

(Harbaugh was unavailable for comment for this story.) 

Most of us will never see that side of Harbaugh. What we'll get instead is someone who posts quirky things on social media, says off-the-wall phrases and dives headfirst into anything that piques his interest. 

But he's not scatterbrained. Like all great coaches, Harbaugh has laser-sharp focus at the task at hand. He's a fierce competitor who loves football. He lives in the moment and for the moment. He's wound tight, but as Callihan explains, it's never such that you think he's going to burn out.

Harbaugh is the anti-Meyer in that sense. 

In eight-and-a-half months, Harbaugh will be the anti-Meyer on the sidelines as well. No matter how long Harbaugh stays at the college level, he'll make the game better and more interesting. 

From one college football geek to another, that's good enough. 

 

Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football. All quotes obtained firsthand unless cited otherwise. 

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