Texas quarterback Colt McCoy will certainly get most of the attention in tonight's in-state battle at College Station, but it his counterpart, Aggie redshirt junior Jerrod Johnson, who quietly is leading the conference in touchdown passes and has made the most strides as an NFL prospect this season.
Like McCoy, the 6-5, 243 pound Johnson is a do-everything talent for the Aggies, who can beat defenses with his arm, decision-making (only 5 INTs) and legs. The athletic Johnson has shown agility and good decision-making in the option and actually is tied for the team lead with 8 rushing touchdowns this season. Johnson was pushed into the starting role last season with the injury to now-Dallas Cowboy Stephen McGee. Johnson posted solid numbers last season (2,435 passing yards, 21 touchdowns/10 interceptions), but looked flustered when pressured and was prone to drive-killing mistakes. This season, however, he's proven much more adept at reading defenses. The improvement Johnson has shown in his second season as a starter under former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike Sherman has been impressive, something that Sherman noted in his press conference this week.
"I really don't know if I've been around a player that's made the progress that he's made," Sherman said. "He's a lot more football savvy than I ever gave him credit for last year."
The undefeated Longhorns boast a significant edge in overall talent and should win this game easily. However, the Aggies have proven to be quite the nemesis for Mack Brown, winning two of the past three games, including the last one at Texas A&M. The Aggies, 6-5 overall, are 5-1 at home and enjoy one of the great homefield advantages in all of college football.
I certainly recommend you focusing on the traditions on this Thanksgiving holiday with family, friends, turkey and perhaps some NFL football, but don't forget to check out this contest (7 pm EST, ESPN), it could prove surprisingly competitive and certainly will provide scouts with a barometer as to the play of two talented quarterbacks while on the big stage.