QB Kellen Mond — Texas A&M on verge of being elite in 2020

Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond believes his team is on the verge of making a leap in 2020 like LSU did last season, when the Tigers went from 10-3 to a 15-0 national title campaign.

“We really haven’t won the big-time games yet,” Mond told The Dallas Morning News for a story published Friday. “In some of those games, most of those games, we’ve been close, but we always fall short. But we have to be able to get over that hump.

“A lot of people emphasize that the last 2% is the hardest. I feel like we’re at the last 2% from being a good team to being elite.”

The Aggies are coming off an 8-5 season in which they lost to Clemson, Alabama and LSU by double digits when each was ranked No. 1.

That includes a 50-7 blowout defeat to LSU, but Mond also was part of a seven-overtime win over the Tigers in 2018, so he saw the leap they took firsthand.

“It’s kind of weird being able to play all those guys and seeing what kind of change LSU made,” Mond said. “They were a good team the year we beat them, but becoming an elite team and one of the best teams of all time this past year just kind of shows the work they put in.”

Mond hopes the lesson the Aggies take is that “it only takes one year” to show vast improvement.

Texas A&M has reasons to believe a jump is possible. The Aggies played 19 true freshmen last year, they are getting 17 starters back, and coach Jimbo Fisher signed another top-10 recruiting class. They were No. 11 in ESPN’s early top 25 posted last month, and ESPN’s Football Power Index gives them a 2% chance of making the College Football Playoff.

Mond, who said he is working on his deep-ball accuracy, believes the Aggies have the makings of a special team in 2020.

“We have a lot of seniors on our team and a lot of guys coming back,” Mond told the newspaper. “Usually when you have seniors, you have guys who have played one or two years, but our seniors, we’ve been playing since we were freshman, since 17 or 18 years old in college, so we have a lot of games under our belt and a lot of experience.”

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