QB Reggie McNeal

2004 Statistics

Coach: Dennis Franchione
11-13, 2 years
2004 Record: 7-5
at Utah LOST 21-41
at Iowa State WON 34-3
at Oklahoma State WON 36-20
at Baylor LOST 34-35
at Texas LOST 13-26
vs. Tennessee LOST 7-38

2004 Final Rankings
AP-29, Coaches-16, BCS-20

2005 Outlook

Alright so it's time to shut up and put up some predictions. What is the real skinny here? What is Texas A&M really capable of doing with all these stars aligning? Well, for starters, the Aggies have a favorable schedule, and will realistically compete for the Big XII (South) title.

This writer says A&M will hook'em some Texas Longhorns at Kyle Field for the first time since the Bonfire collapsed in 1999. Another tough challenge will be on the road at Oklahoma. Again, the strength of the Aggie defense is their run-stopping, so if they can evenly match the Sooner's running game with their own stops on defense, then a win is feasible. But if they allow foes a 44%-rate of success in converting third-downs again, then all of the offense in the world will not overcome such deficiencies. And if you see the Aggies allow 87 points again in the fourth quarter, then it is another year of being a good team nationally (top 25) that can only (at best) finish third in their conference half. That many late-game points signals coaching gaffs as well as player lapses, so the work is cut out for the Aggies to get over their Big XII-south hump.

The teams A&M will be most susceptible to are those that can pass the ball relentlessly, such as Texas Tech. This will be another tough road game if only for the poor match up of an efficient passing team versus A&M's questionable secondary. Fortunately, they do not face many tough passing teams.

All in all, this will be a year of surprising upset wins by the Aggies, coupled with solid performances in and out of conference. Aggie fans have much to look forward to as the season progresses, and can finally begin to grasp the dominance they've enjoyed in this storied school's past (est. 1903).

Projected 2005 record: 8-3
QB - 4.5 DL - 3.5
RB - 4 LB - 3.5
WR - 3.5 DB - 2.5
OL - 4 ..

Passing: Reggie McNeal, 344-200-4, 2791 yds., 14 TD

Rushing: Courtney Lewis, 175 att., 742 yds., 9 TD

Receiving: Jason Carter, 36 rec., 468 yds., 0 TD

Scoring: Todd Pegram, 12-13 FG, 37-42 PAT, 73 pts.

Punting: Todd Pegram, 1 punt, 25.0 avg.

Kicking: Todd Pegram, 1 punt, 25.0 avg.

Tackles: Jaxson Appel, 84 tot., 44 solo

Sacks: Lee Foliaki, 3 sacks

Interceptions: Japhus Brown, 3 for 36 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Jason Carter, 18 ret., 18.3 avg., 0 TD

Punt Returns: Eric Mayes, 20 ret., 6.1 avg., 0 TD


DB Jaxson Appel
OFFENSE: Keith Joseph-FB, Terrence Murphy-WR, Geoff Hangartner-OT
DEFENSE: Mike Montgomery-DE, Byron Jones-CB, Jonte Buhl-CB, Jacob Young-P

A dual-threat quarterback is one who is actually successful at both running AND passing the ball. Texas A&M's quarterback Reggie McNeal (NC.net third-team all-American) excels in both these areas, which is why he ranked seventh in total offense, well above his counterpart up the road in Austin. True, Vince Young gained some more yards on the ground, and scored more touch downs on his feet than did McNeal, but McNeal's production in the air far outweighs this. It's no secret that many QBs who can run well have difficulty passing the ball effectively, but not so with him. McNeal gained 3,500+ total yards on offense, as he ran for 718 yards and eight TDs while throwing for 14 TDs with only four INTs. Compare his efficiency to others and see why he is the best (save Omar Jacobs) dual-threat quarterback out there right now. Aggie fans have been waiting four years to see the time come when Reggie is finally a senior, has fully developed his skills, and has other playmakers around him to spread the field. Sit back and enjoy watching him elevate the Aggies to their highest level of offensive play in years.

Running Back
Texas A&M's ground game tailed off a bit from the previous season. The reason for the drop off is primarily due to the sophomore slump of TB Courtney Lewis. After posting 1,000-plus yards as a freshman, he had a less productive 2004. A few different rushers carried the ball, including, of course, McNeal. There are high expectations of a rebound for Lewis in his junior year, but he'll have to do it having lost FB Keith Joseph to graduation. Sophomore Chris Alexander will fill in this role, but he needs to put more weight on his frame to be as effective as Joseph had been. True-frosh Jorvorskie Lane (4.6-sec 40) is Rivals.com's No.2 FB this recruiting year, so the wares are there to help regardless. This is not an area of concern for the Aggies, for now. However, recent recruiting classes have not boasted many (stellar) backs, so health is a key here. With both Lewis and McNeal in the backfield, defense will have to respect the run. Both have the speed, vision, and elusiveness to ensure that the Aggies gain plenty of yards on the ground.

Actually, the Aggies are very deep in this area thanks in part to the junior college-transfer DeQawn Mobley (CCSF). As a senior, Mobley will be the go to receiver instead of the deep field-stretching element. He is always a threat to score, and can make big plays after the catch. McNeal was able to spread the ball out quite evenly last year, and he'll have that luxury again. Also back with plenty of game playing experience is fellow senior L'Tydrick Riley, and juniors Earvin Taylor and Chad Schroeder - the new deep threat. Sophomore Kerry Franks was clutch in the playing time he received, making huge plays when needed. The offense will often go with 4 wide receiver sets because of the depth of talent in this area and to spread the field for McNeal. All of these guys come in over six-foot (but Franks, who is 5'11"), so when foes are smaller, the big-time advantage goes to A&M.

Tight End
Even with the depth at receiver, TEs are still integral elements in the offense. The newest commodity the Aggies have discovered is versatile senior Boone Stutz, whose frame and quickness allow him to block down field, on the line, or catch passes deep in the middle. Joey Thomas is used on the goal line to release for a pass. Junior Quinlin Germany is experienced and preferred in run-blocking schemes. The five star recruit, Martellus Bennett, should make a huge impact right away. The number eight prospect in the land overall, Bennett apparently already has great size and soft hands.

Offensive Line
The Aggies deal with tough senior departures on the OL, and will again be able to rebound nicely. The same will be true now, as they let go of leader Geoff Hangartner whose versatility was used to fill in for the weak tackle spot even though he usually played center. This allowed young Chris Yoder to cut his teeth at center with valuable playing time. Chris is still a little small, but he has good technique, and has time to bulk up in the coming months. The senior anchors will be the muscled Aldo De La Garza at guard and Jami Hightower playing tackle, though Jami's weight (355 lbs) can be a problem as he is susceptible to some of the quicker, power ends around the league. The Aggies will likely place junior Alex Kotzur in Hangartner's old spot. Kotzur played in nearly every game last year even though he didn't start. Quick guard Kirk Elder is budding - he earned all-Big XII Honorable Mention in '04 as a freshman. The starters look good, but need to stay healthy with so little depth developed.

This will be a very balanced offensive team for Texas A&M. There are eight returning starters on the offense including one at every skill position, and four on the line. McNeal will definitely be the focus of defenses, but he has so many targets and options, opponents will not be able to stop every facet. His shifty, improvising moves just add to the potency/impact of A&M's attack. This combination of solid skill players and experience is what has Aggie fans foaming at the mouth for a championship caliber season. After finishing 20th-rated for total offense, it is a huge statement when we say the Aggie's numbers will probably still go up marginally. But numbers won't be how this side of the ball wins games, for they had that last time around, too, huh…it will be offensive consistency that gets these Aggies to any next levels.


OT Jami Hightower


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Reggie McNeal-Sr (6-2, 206) Ty Branyon-Jr (6-3, 210)
Stephen McGee-Fr (6-3, 213)
RB Courtney Lewis-Jr (6-0, 195) Brandon Leone-Jr (6-0, 222)
Chris Alexander-Fr (5-11, 238) (FB)
WR L'Tydrick Riley-Sr (6-2, 228) Jason Carter-Sr (6-0, 202)
WR DeQawn Mobley-Sr (6-2, 201) Chad Schroeder-Jr (6-1, 180)
Peter Martin-Sr (6-0, 190)
WR Earvin Taylor-Jr (6-3, 215) Kerry Franks-So (5-10, 181)
Pierre Brown-Fr (6-1, 192)
TE Boone Stutz-Sr (6-6, 256) Joey Thomas-So (6-5, 243)
Quinlin Germany-Jr (6-2, 285)
OT Corey Clark-So (6-6, 307) Travis Schneider-Fr (6-7, 286)
OG Aldo De La Garza-Sr (6-4, 307) Grant Dickey-Jr (6-5, 310)
C Cody Wallace-So (6-4, 295) Chris Yoder-So (6-3, 304)
Alex Kotzur-Jr (6-5, 304)
OG Kirk Elder-So (6-4, 305) Dominique Steamer-Sr (6-4, 318)
OT Jami Hightower-Sr (6-4, 355) Yemi Babalola-Fr (6-4, 316)
K Todd Pegram-Sr (6-0, 197) Layne Neumann-Jr (6-0, 170)



Defensive Line
The Texas A&M coaching staff pulled off rotating eight linemen in '04. Three of the regular starters are back, lead by senior Johnny Jolly up the middle. Aside from being a fierce run stopper, Jolly effectively gets his hands up in a passing situation (five batted balls). Both sophomores (Joseph Bryant and Jason Jolly) are tall with big frames and can usually win battles at the line of scrimmage. The ends are a marginal concern. Sophomore Chris Harrington will likely play at the other end, and he fills big shoes (Mike Montgomery). But he has shown amazing skills, so we feel this area won't experience the drop off predicted by many. Other options at end will be explored with a rotation of Jorrie Adams and highly recruited Paul Freeney (4.6-sec 40), who was the fifth ranked DE out of high school (Rivals.com). This crew ranked 55th in run-stopping and tallied but 10 QB-hurries, numbers that we know will improve, but how much they do will go a long way toward determining how far the entire team goes.

The linebacking corps is the strength of this defense, in typical Wrecking Crew tradition. All three senior starters return, and the group has matured and grown together. On the strong side, Lee Foliaki is disrupting at the line of scrimmage and in the backfield because he is so quick in his pursuit, and has a nose for his run-halting prowess. Senior Archie McDaniel and junior Justin Warren split time where they combined for 115 tackles made from the middle position. Their play was a key to the marginal improvements made in stopping the run. Warren is set for a breakout season as his talent becomes exceedingly evident in the same vain as his Aggie brother Ty Warren. At Rover, Renuel Greene had a great first season as one of the junior college transfers along with Foliaki. He is fast in pursuit. This group can only impact foes if the play of the line will allow it to. If the LBs wind up close to the line in support, underneath stuff opens up and the same struggles as last campaign will surface.

Defensive Back
Jaxon Appel (NC.NET second-team all-American at FS) is a senior now, and never ceases to amaze those that watch him. Having another all-Big XII season at free safety, Appel again led the team with his (sure) tackling ability. He will put his body in harms way to not only stop the ball carrier, but make him think twice about ever coming Appel's way again. Jaxon often plays through injuries without a drop off in his high level of performance. Another talent is sophomore strong safety Japhus Brown. Brown surprised fans with his level of play as another hard hitting tackler who can go get the ball in the air (three INTs led team). This tandem of safeties has depth behind them, as well, which makes their dimension another strength. The questionable part of the secondary is the cornerback position. Graduation left holes at both corner positions, but that may not be a bad thing. The Aggies ranked tenth in the conference in pass defense, and 93rd nationally. The sophomore corners that will fill the roles are not without experience. Each played in all twelve games. Erik Mayes had a large role in the defense as he was third on the team in tackles. He is short, but fast, and can jump high, or position himself to break up the pass (seven). Opposite of him will be Brock Newton, who is a little taller. He also has good technique and is a strong open-field tackler. Stephen Hodge is the taller of the bunch, and he will rotate in accordingly. There is some immediate help on the way in junior college transfer Marquis Carpenter, a highly sought after corner, and will also be coming in as a sophomore. His skills will have the same affect on the entire secondary as the LB-transfers have there.

For all of the newfound success on offense, the defense did hold its own, but little more. Eight returning starters will translate into great improvements in both pass- and run-defense. The run defense will be outstanding with the sure tackling safeties, piercing LBs, massive defensive tackles all shoring up the middle, and speedy containment on the outside. If the pass defense can play at a higher level, this defense will have great potential. At the very least, the total defense will be in the upper echelons of the conference. This side of the ball plays with passion, the main weapon of the 12th-man. The talent was/is there, so it a matter of heart to get the same basic players to that next level needed for A&M to improve here, and therefore overall.


LB Justin Warren


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Chris Harrington-So (6-5, 272) Michael Bennett-Fr (6-4, 253)
DT Johnny Jolly-Sr (6-4, 309) David Ross-Sr (6-3, 289)
DT Joseph Bryant-So (6-4, 312) Bryce Reed-Jr (6-0, 290)
DE Jason Jack-So (6-4, 270) Marques Thornton-Jr (6-1, 279)
LB Lee Foliaki-Sr (6-2, 238) Stephen Hodge-So (6-1, 213)
LB Justin Warren-Jr (6-3, 231) Nurahda Manning-Sr (6-3, 246)
LB Archie McDaniel-Sr (6-2, 230) Renuel Greene-Sr (6-4, 240)
CB Brock Newton-So (5-11, 189) Ronald Jones-Sr (5-10, 188)
CB Danny Gorrer-Fr (6-0, 178) Marquis Carpenter-So (6-0, 168)
SS Japhus Brown-So (5-11, 195) Melvin Bullitt-Jr (6-1, 191)
FS Jaxson Appel-Sr (6-0, 198) Jordan Chambless-Fr (6-1, 205)
P Richie Bean-Fr (6-0, 180) ..




Senior Todd Pegram does not have an incredibly strong leg, but is a very accurate field goal kicker up to 44 yards away, and is a consistent scorer for Texas A&M. He averaged 92% accuracy as the coaches knowingly kept him out of long kicking situations where he would not fare as well. He earned 2nd-team conference honors placing only behind the Colorado kicking phenom.

A question mark in special teams will be the punting position. Sophomore Richie Bean will have a shot at the role, and can hopefully improve on the sub par punting A&M has experienced lately. Such will be the factor to ultimately then affect any improvement in the net results, also terrible.

Return Game
Kickoff responsibilities will probably fall on WR DeQawn Mobley, while punt returns may again be CB Erik Mayes. Mayes did muff the handling of some punts in his freshman year, but he has 'home run'-type speed and moves.