2019 Texas A&M Awards
COLLEGE STATION - Texas A&M is on the up for the 2020 season. The current year was met with three matches against the No.1 team, a feat never seen before in college football.
A veteran staff is expected to return while the team's schedule will significantly play into their favor. Overall, a 7-5 record with promise for the future should keep second-year coach Jimbo Fisher right on schedule of the A&M rebuild.
The 2019 season was not all a waste. Young talent excelled while veterans continued to prove why the Aggies will be a threat to contend in the future should they return. A balanced roster should have the Aggies looking towards the future instead of dwelling in the past.
Here are our 2019 award winners from Aggieland.
Newcomer of the Year: TE Jalen Wydermyer
Six Aggies started at one point during the season. Only one other freshman likely would be in the running for this award, but his success will be documented later. Instead, we turn our attention to one of the more promising players in College Station.
Wydermyer wasn't expected to start until a Baylor Cupp injury placed him into a new role. He would take time to grow, but once in a rhythm, the freshman tight end was near impossible to stop. Wydermyer finished his first year with 31 catches for 419 yards and six touchdowns. His touchdown mark now places him second all-time for scores by a tight end.
With the return of Cupp, the Aggies will have two tight ends who could transform the offense into a dominant unit. Wydermyer still will need to grow as a blocker for run plays, but his hands make him a potential gem for the future. Should he continue to develop, the Aggies could have two John Mackey finalists shortly.
Offensive Player of the Year: RB Isaiah Spiller
Although several games were uneventful, it's hard to imagine the Aggies finishing the season strong without Spiller's presence. The freshman running back was expected to be the team's second back behind Jashaun Cobrin. Instead, he became the starter in Week 3 against Lamar.
Spiller impressed from the start with his 106-yard game against Texas State. He would pass the triple-digit mark four times in 2019, including setting a new freshman record for 217 yards against UTSA. As a pass-catcher, the Spring native would finish with 207 receiving yards and average 7.7 yards per catch.
Much like Wydermyer, the Aggies will regain Corbin to pair with Spiller in the backfield. As a freshman, he'd finish 9th in SEC rushing yards with 978. There are little areas he could improve, but the Aggies have a gem taking handoffs for the future. He should only improve with time in Fisher's offense.
Defensive Player of the Year: DL Justin Madubuike
There's really no other option here. As the team leader of the defense, Madubuike did just that in the trenches, consistently shredding through offensive lines and into backfields.
The junior defensive tackle led the team in sacks (6.5), total quarterback pressures (7) and tackles for losses (11.5). He would also collect an interception against Arkansas and cause a fumble that would be recovered by the defense.
Should he return for his senior season, Madubuike could be one of the top defensive linemen in the conference. A veteran leader in the trenches, his ability to disrupt backfields was apparent in Mike Elko's front seven.
MVP: Punter Braden Mann
Yes. The punter is the MVP. There's no other candidate.
The current Ray Guy Award winner once again shined for the Aggies' special teams unit in more than one way. Mann averaged 47.7 yards per punt this season, placing multiples kicks inside the opponent's 20-yard line. On kickoffs, the senior made six tackles, three that could have been returned for touchdowns.
Mann will go in history at A&M as one of the more polarizing players. His ability to be consistent was well-documented and helped the team's defense limit plays downfield. Leaving College Station on a high note, Mann shouldn't be waiting long to join a roster at the next level as a representative of the maroon and white.