Why Ainias Smith won’t lead the team in receiving

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The Texas A&M football team is losing production in nearly every position next season, including key positions like quarterback, tight end and defensive line. One position that doesn’t lose production, however, is the wide receiver spot.

Originally, the Aggies retained virtually all of their talent at wide receiver. It took a bit of a hit when a former five-star receiver and Aggie contributor to Demond Demas was arrested and finally entered the transfer portal.

However, the whole remains almost entirely intact. This includes guys like Jalen Preston, Ainias Smith and Caleb Chapman. A&M will also add the second-best receiver in the 2022 class in Evan Stewart, who could be an early impact player.

Will Ainias Smith repeat as the Texas A&M football team’s leading receiver in 2022?

Last season, Ainias Smith led all receivers in receiving yards. I specifically note this as “receivers” because Jalen Wydermyer led the entire team in receiving yards with 515 yards. Smith was one step behind him at 509 yards.

But Smith may no longer be the team’s leader. Here’s why.

For starters, it was a relatively down year for Texas A&M instead broad. Only one player has exceeded 500 yards and no one has come close to 1,000. For a school that has seen players like Mike Evans easily lose 1,000 yards per season, last year could definitely be considered an off year. Don’t expect this to happen again.

As a team, Texas A&M averaged 208.6 receiving yards per game, which ranks 88th in the nation. The Aggies will be looking to significantly improve that number next season.

The Aggies will also get a new tight end with the aforementioned departure of Jalen Wydermyer in a role that will likely be filled by a freshman. Don’t expect the tight end position to lead the team to receiving yards again in 2022.

Something that will help A&M’s passing game will be the presence of a number one wide receiver. With all due respect to Ainias SMith, it is designed for a complementary slot role. He’s not necessarily the biggest deep threat — he’s better with short receptions and yards after catch. A vital role, but usually not the primary receiver in Jimbo Fisher’s system.

Two players could fill the role of WR1. It would probably land on Evan Stewart or Caleb Chapman, two guys who are the embodiment of deep threat. I would expect one of those two players to top Smith as the team’s top wide receiver on the stat sheet.

That said, Smith will continue to be arguably the team’s most valuable all-around player, making huge contributions offensively and on special teams as a return specialist.

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