August 10, 2006

JUCO transfers provide A&M with depth at LB

With the transition to the 4-2-5 alignment under new defensive coordinator Gary Darnell Texas A&M will have just two linebackers on the field in the basic formation.

Last season the Aggies ran a 4-3, but only Justin Warren proved to be counted on throughout the season. Add a load of newcomers and a redshirt freshman that has been turning heads, and the Aggies all of a sudden have instant depth at the position.

Whether or not that depth is talented enough for the rugged Big 12 conference is yet to be seen.

Justin Warren - Senior

Warren is the lone returning starter at linebacker and a candidate to make All-Big 12 this season. The 6-foot-3, 242-pound Warren is one of the best linebackers in the conference against the run as he led A&M with 95 tackles in 2005.

He is also solid against the pass as he broke up three passes in 2005. Warren has 26 career starts in three season which includes being the first true freshman to start the season opener at linebacker in school history - Warren did so against Arkansas State in 2003.

Mark Dodge - Junior

By now everyone is well aware of Dodge's story of being in the Army and at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. What people outside of Aggieland are not aware of is that Dodge earned the top spot on the depth chart opposite Warren after one week of spring practice after transferring from junior college.

The 6-foot-2, 222-pound Dodge is very quick and has the Aggie coaching staff drooling with how quickly he has picked up the defense and with how solid he is against the pass. Dodge also has a knack to always be around the ball on every play whether it's a run or a pass.

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