Wednesday marked Texas A&M’s third National Signing Day under coach Jimbo Fisher and the third consecutive top-10 recruiting class for the Aggies.
National Signing Day is a less important event this year than in years prior, largely due to A&M’s success in the Early Signing Period, where the Aggies signed 22 recruits. However, the Aggies did manage to sign four-star running back LJ Johnson from Cy Fair High School.
“[Johnson is] one heck of a back,” Fisher said. “I mean, big, physical, fast. Very, very smooth. It's almost like you don't even realize how good he is by how little his nuances make people miss, not wasting motion on getting vertical when he catches the ball. Just a tremendous player, and we’re very blessed to have him.”
Johnson joins the 2020-2021 recruiting class as the 16th four-star recruit in the Aggies’ class, according to a 247 Sports analysis. The Aggies have additionally signed one three-star recruit and one five-star in defensive tackle Shemar Turner from DeSoto.
1000% COMMITTED‼️ pic.twitter.com/lVtbPj7G5w— 3️⃣2️⃣ (@TheShemarTurner) December 12, 2020
Turner joins five additional defensive line signees that will look to uphold the strong precedent the Aggies set in the trenches last season. Five offensive line signees aid the Aggies recruiting effort that is ranked seventh in the nation.
“I'm very excited about our offense and defensive lines,” Fisher said. “I think we got guys who are going to be great football players here, and I think we have a lot of chances to play on Sundays when they get out of here. Very intelligent, sharp, good young guys. Very competitive.”
In addition to the heavy recruiting efforts on the offensive and defensive lines, the Aggies have signed two running backs, one wide receiver, one quarterback, one linebacker, one tight end, five defensive backs and one athlete.
As of Wednesday, nine Aggies will not be returning for the 2021 season. The 23 commits to A&M will join the Orange Bowl Champions and look to continue the success of last season that Fisher said has been helpful in recruiting.
“I think we branded ourself,” Fisher said. “We’re a team that's going to be up there and contend for championships each year … And they're starting to see the results on the field. So I think it's been, I don't want to say ‘easier,’ because it's never easy to go recruit great players … You want to sign the elite guys, those guys that put you in the championship, I don't care. That’s always hard.”
Fisher said he has confidence in his recruiting class beyond the stars and expert analyses due to the way certain players fit schemes.
“If somebody’s got to tell me who's a good player, I don't need to be the head coach,” Fisher said. “Wasn’t Ainias Smith a three-star, wasn’t our tight end Wydermyer a three-star? You look at the NFL, Tom Brady wasn’t the highest recruited guy, Drew Brees wasn't the highest recruited guy.”
The importance of this recruiting class for A&M goes beyond just this year, as the three consecutive top-10 classes place the Aggies among the recruiting prowess of many Blue Blood programs.
“We keep recruiting, and hopefully that translates into the performance on the field,” Fisher said. “I think it's starting to get really good here. We’re enhancing that with the culture we're creating and the things we do … SEC Championships, National Championships, that's our goal and where we're trying to get to. Hopefully the toughest games we play are the days we have in practice.”