College : : Story
Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Column: Rogers' college landscape

Kendall Rogers        
MORE COVERAGE: PG College Top 25 | Andrew Suarez profile
Column topics: A&M surging freshmen | Coach of the Year race | Prospect buzz

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas A&M envisioned some changes when it moved to the Southeastern Conference last season. Among other things, Aggies recruiting coordinator Justin Seely realized life in the SEC was much different than the Big 12 Conference. While the Big 12 has had its fair share of power hitters over the years, the Aggies quickly found out that a team must have some pop in their lineup to compete at a high level in the SEC.

The Aggies didn't have a lot of power in their first SEC season, but as they finished the regular season with a 6-3 record in their final nine conference games, while punching their NCAA postseason bid with a pair of wins in the SEC tournament, they had an influx of power production. Along the way, the Aggies relied heavily on then freshman Hunter Melton for a power surge.

Now, a year later, Melton only has recorded 30 at bats in the SEC. But like last year at the end of the season, the Aggies are relying on some fresh faces to get the job done with highly touted freshmen Nick Banks, Ryne Birk and Ronnie Gideon formulating a talented trio.

“So many times freshmen come in with so much on their shoulders and so much pressure, and it takes them a while to adjust. That's the case here, too,” Texas A&M head coach Rob Childress said. “The big thing about these guys is they're just playing in the moment right now. That's a big credit to not only them, but also our coaches by getting them in that situation.”

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