Texas A&M Offense
Knight was signed as an undrafted free agent to the Arizona Cardinals of the NFL, but Texas A&M has already become accustom to playing without him. Knight suffered a shoulder injury against Mississippi State last season, giving Jake Hubenak valuable time at the helm of the Aggies’ offense.
Hubenak finished 2016 with 884 yards, six touchdowns, and two interceptions, and is currently in a battle with redshirt freshman Nick Starkel, and true freshman Kellen Mond for the starting role. Although Hubernak is the only quarterback of there three to have played in a collegiate game, Starkel’s arm and Mond’s athleticism are giving head coach Kevin Sumlin a tough decision as to who will line up under center against UCLA.
While the quarterback position is a question mark, the Aggies return their two stellar running backs, Keith Ford and Trayveon Williams. Both runners found success last season running through the middle, where Ford used his 5’11” and 215 pounds to overpower tacklers, while Williams evaded contact with a mix of speed and good footwork. Against the Bruins last year, Ford scored the game’s first touchdown on a 7-yard run, while Williams led everyone in rushing yards with 94.
The biggest roster change for Texas A&M’s offense comes at the receiver position. This is fortunate for UCLA, as they have seen big changes at defensive back. The Aggies lost their leading receiver in Josh Reynolds, as well as, serviceable pass catchers in Ricky Seal-Jones and Speedy Noil.
Currently, only two receivers have college experience on the Aggies’ depth chart: Christian Kirkland, who will be looked to as the team’s star receiver after scoring nine touchdowns a year ago, and the rarely used Damion Ratley. Four-star receivers Hezekiah Jones and Jhamon Ausbon will most likely be forced to make contributions despite being true freshmen.
Last but certainly not least, is Texas A&M’s offensive line, which will be without last season’s starting tackles Avery Gennesy and Jermaine Eluemunor. Even without these two, the backfield is in good hands as the current rendition of the offensive line has tons of experience. The Aggies allowed 21 sacks last year, only three fewer than the 24 sacks UCLA allowed, so the Bruins should have opportunities to get to the quarterback.