Two days after losing a key cog along the offensive line to the NFL draft, Texas A&M kept one.
Junior All-America right tackle Jake Matthews announced Thursday that he will remain in Aggieland for his senior season.
A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin said Matthews will move to the left side to replace fellow junior Luke Joeckel, who announced Tuesday he'll enter the NFL draft this spring.
"I am excited that Jake has decided to come back for his senior season, not only because he is one of the top offensive linemen in the country, but because of his approach and his leadership in our locker room," Sumlin said in a school release. "
Matthews was projected to be a late first-round pick in April. But he said that having the opportunity to play with his brother, Mike, swayed him to return for one final go-round at A&M. Mike, a sophomore, is expected to replace graduating Patrick Lewis as the team's starting center.
"That opportunity doesn't come around very often," Matthews said in the release. "The college experience is also a great time, and with our team coming back next season, I think we have the chance to be very special. I love playing for the 12th Man. Our fans are the greatest, and the atmosphere at Kyle Field is outstanding."
Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Johnny Manziel, participating on a conference call for winning the Manning Award, said that having Matthews return provides a "great piece of the puzzle" as the team moves forward into 2013.
Matthews has started 33 consecutive games. He made the coaches' and AP's All-SEC first teams this season.
Junior defensive end Damontre Moore declared for the NFL draft before the team's season-ending victory over Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl. Moore and Joeckel are projected to be Top 10 picks.
Aggies replace Polian
Former Texas-El Paso assistant Jeff Banks will replace Brian Polian on A&M's staff as the special teams coordinator. Polian was hired to be Nevada's head coach last week.
Banks was nine days into a new job at Virginia when he agreed to move to A&M. He had signed a $200,000 deal with Virginia.
Banks spent the last nine seasons coaching under Mike Price at UTEP. Sumlin got his start in the coaching business under Price as a graduate assistant at Washington State.
"This was a very difficult decision for my family and me to make because we instantly fell in love with Charlottesville and the people here," Banks said in a statement released by Virginia. "I'm very fortunate to have been presented with both of these opportunities in such a short period of time. Ultimately, the opportunity to coach in the SEC with a friend was too hard to pass up."
Sumlin still has an opening on his staff vacated by former offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury, who was hired as Texas Tech's head coach.