As we learned last year the health of a football team is critical to the results of a season. There’s no doubt in my mind had Haynes King been healthy all season we improve to at least 9-3 if not 10-2. Hell, we could have been NATIONAL CHAMPIONS OF THE WORLD! Just kidding. I don’t think we’d won a national championship even with King under center last year.
We might have actually lost to Bama but we would have won at least 2 of the losses to Arkansas, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, and LSU with King under center. That’s water under the bridge at this point but we would have had a better overall record with Haynes King all season. I’m confident of that.
Here’s who I think are the most important players for the Aggies to stay healthy for the 2022 season. This is in order of importance.
I’m excited to see what Devon Achane can do as the featured back. I have some durability concerns because we’ve not seen him get the majority of carries. He’s not the biggest back but he’s elusive with great balance. He seems to avoid the big hit so I believe he can stay healthy all season. We just need to see it happen.
He’s number one on my list because I think he’s a potential Heisman Trophy contender. I really do. I believe 1,000 rushing yards is a lock for him but I really think he can get close to 2,000 total yards. We’re talking about a guy that has averaged over 7 yards per carry in his first two seasons. He’s a homerun hitter that keeps hitting homeruns.
If he’s healthy all season the Aggies are going to win a lot of ball games.
I have Edge Cooper as the second most important because we have no real depth at the linebacker position. Edge Cooper has All SEC talent which makes him staying healthy all that more important. He’s not just a body filling a position with no real depth. He’s a player that’s a legitimate difference maker in how our defense attacks our opponents. If he’s out for any amount of time it’s going to change what D.J. Durkin can do.
We have talent and depth on the defensive line and in the secondary. We don’t have it a linebacker.
When you’re lacking depth and have a guy that’s All SEC caliber you it’s REALLY important for him to stay healthy.
Right Side of the Offensive Line:
I’m a big believer in line play. You can have all the skill position in the world but if you don’t have talent in the trenches it won’t matter.
The combination of Bryce Foster, Layden Robinson, and Deuce Fatheree also have All SEC talent. They played well last year considering two of them were true freshman. I expect this group to be better than last season. If these guys stay healthy and build on what they did last year we’re going to be as good as anyone in college football on the right side of the offensive line. They’ll be a big help to the newcomers on the left side of the line. Defenses won’t be able to exploit the new guys on the left side if our right side is destroying their defense. We’ll just keep running it to the right until they stop us.
These guys go hand in hand with Devon Achane. If they stay healthy along with Achane I believe we’re going to have one of the best running attacks in the country. You can control a lot of a football game if you can establish the running game. These guys will be a big key to that.
Antonio Johnson will be the most talented Aggie player in 2022. He’s potentially the best safety in the country and likely a first round draft pick. Maybe even a Top 10 selection. He’s that good.
When you have one of the best players in college football you’re much better off when they’re healthy. That’s stating the obvious.
Antonio Johnson listed as the fourth person is not a knock on him as a player. I think the people listed above him are a little more important to the actual wins and losses for the Aggies in 2022. Thankfully Jimbo and his staff have stocked the secondary so we have a little cushion here.
Antonio would be second on this list if we didn’t have the depth in the secondary.
This is a slight leap of faith so I hope I’m right. The one thing Jimbo has lacked in his four seasons in Aggieland is a playmaker at the receiver position. Early reports are that Evan Stewart can be that guy.
Having a guy that can put pressure on a defense down the field totally changes the dynamic of an offense. We need Evan Stewart to be that guy.
I’m hoping at minimum Stewart can have a Christian Kirk type freshman year. Even better if it’s a Jaylen Waddle type freshman year. We really need an explosive player at the receiver position and I think Stewart is going to be that guy.
So there you have it. “Five” players the Aggies need to stay healthy in 2022. If these guys stay healthy and play to their ability I don’t see any reason why the Aggies won’t win double digit games in 2022.