Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Texas A&M will need plenty of solid defenders to match up against their new competition in the SEC West. Fortunately for Kevin Sumlin, the Aggies received pledges from two such defenders Sunday.
The first was Polo Manukainiu, a 6'5" 255-pound defensive end from Euless Trinity High School in the Dallas area. A former Oklahoma commitment whose senior season was delayed by a summer knee injury, Manukainiu chose the Aggies over offers from Arkansas, Baylor, Nebraska and UCLA.
"I love the tradition, the fans, everything," Manukainiu said of selecting the Aggies. "My mom likes it, and I like it."
But the news would get even better for the Aggies as they landed an even higher-profile commitment just minutes later: Edward Pope, a coveted athlete from Carthage, Texas who flipped to A&M from TCU. Though Pope played multiple positions for Carthage, he projects as a safety at the next level.
Pope also claimed offers from the Aggies' new SEC rivals at Arkansas and Missouri and ranks as the Maxpreps No. 14 safety in the class of 2012. Tom Lemming writes this in his preseason evaluation of Pope:
When I watched Edward on sophomore film I was convinced he would rank among the very best FS prospects in the country. As it is he still ranks among the very best and with a good 2011 season there could be no stopping him. Edward shows great range, instincts, vision, and ball-hawking skills. He breaks and closes on the ball as well as any FS prospect in the state, is smooth in transition, and shows natural movement skills. He rarely takes a missed step. A major talent with five-star potential.
With the additions of Manukainiu and Pope, the Aggies are up to 22 commitments and could be poised for a top-10 finish in the Maxpreps team recruiting rankings. Things are quite as rosy for TCU, who lost commitments from two key recruits in Pope and new Texas commitment Daje Johnson in the span of two days.