Aggies: Suspended: What Losing Everett and Raven Could Mean
The assault charges that have been brought against Deshazor Everett and Floyd Raven are very unfortunate. Not only from a football standpoint, but no one ever wants to see two young men with bright futures in a situation like this. The situation is still developing and I expect that it will be awhile before everything is completely figured out. As per Texas A&M policy the two players are suspended from all team activities. Though we all hope that this all ends the best it can, the possibility of both of them being suspended well into or throughout the whole season is there, and the question is how will this affect Texas A&M’s season.
Let’s start with what losing Deshazor Everett would mean to the team. In a previous article I wrote I had Deshazor Everett as the fourth most important player for A&M next season. He is a lockdown corner with the ability to match up with guys like Amari Cooper. Everett allows for Mark Snyder to be more aggressive in his play calling and blitz safeties with the trust that Everett won’t let his man get open deep. Without Everett I would expect to see zone coverage used more often.
The good news for Texas A&M is that DeVante Harris and Tony Hurd Jr. are quality defensive backs that can step up in Everett’s absence. Harris is a tremendous at covering up a receiver. He has the athletic ability and speed to stay with any receiver in the nation. However he is going to be smaller than almost anybody he is asked to cover. Hurd is a playmaker. He steps up in big situations whether it is getting a game ending interception or stopping the outside run. Hurd has a great ability to attack the ball when it is thrown in his direction, getting many pass breakups. The thing Hurd does best is tackle. He is the best open field tackler on the team and has a real knack for getting into the backfield. He is also very good at knocking the ball loose when he makes a tackle. Hurd is not exactly a lockdown corner though and will most likely see most of his time at strong safety; he can beat when matched up one on one with a talented receiver. Harris and Hurd will be heavily depended upon to step up if Everett does miss any games.
Texas A&M will also have a few freshman coming in that will get to some playing time if Everett is out. At the top of that list is Noel Ellis, a top 300 recruit out of New Orleans, who has the ability to be a game changer next season. With the Everett situation, I do expect to see him get some playing time, especially in the first two games of the season against Rice and Sam Houston State. That will be his opportunity to prove he deserves playing time against Alabama in week three. Alex Sezer is another guy who could have a tremendous chance to earn playing time. Coming in as a running back out of Orange, Texas, he will be making the transition to corner. Though he may not be fully developed at the position, he will bring the athleticism needed to compete with the wide receivers lined up across from him.
Tramain Jacobs will be the veteran of the potential corners that could take over if Everett does miss any games. He is a senior that has seen the field as a backup the past few seasons. At 6-1 he is the tallest of the A&M corners and with his experience he will be called upon to be a leader early in the season.
Floyd Raven is perhaps the most athletic player Texas A&M has. He has always been a bit raw in his playing style, but many expected this to be a breakout season for him. If Raven is suspended for games this season the lack of depth at the free safety position could certainly show. Clay Honeycutt is listed as his backup, but has little in game experience. What I could see happening is Howard Matthews playing strong safety and Hurd making the move over to free safety. Matthews fits the mold of a strong safety with his size and height, where the smaller Hurd has the versatility to step into the free safety role and do well.
Potentially losing Everett and Raven does raise many questions about the strongest part of the Aggie defense, the secondary. Aggies will certainly have an eye on how this situation develops. But remember last year questions surrounded the Aggie defense and Mark Snyder was able to develop young players and get many of his players to overachieve. This whole situation certainly presents a challenge for Snyder, but I believe he has the coaching ability to handle it.