By Matthew Girard

Killeen Daily Herald

It's official. Shoemaker defensive end Brandon Joiner verbally committed to the Texas A&M Aggies during an official visit to College Station this past weekend.

Although A&M officials could not comment on the non-binding commitment because of NCAA rules, Joiner's coach Ken Gray confirmed several previous reports Tuesday.

"It's true," Gray said. "He's going to be an Aggie."

Joiner, listed as a 3-star recruit by, also visited Arizona State, Nebraska, Purdue and Oklahoma State before committing to A&M.

"I had been discussing it (recruiting visits) along the way," Gray said, "but he was pretty much sold on Texas A&M."

Joiner, who couldn't be reached Tuesday, won't be able to sign a letter of intent until Feb. 7, when the national signing period begins.

The 6-foot-3, 220 pound senior will join an Aggies team that finished 9-3 overall and 5-3 in Big 12 Conference play, including their first victory against in-state rival Texas for the first time in six years. Texas A&M (ranked No. 21 in the latest Associated Press poll) will take on No. 20 California Dec. 28 in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego.

For the Grey Wolves – who were 2-7 overall and 1-5 in district in 2006 – Joiner was named to the All-District 13-5A first team two years in a row and was also named the U.S. Army Combine's defensive most valuable player for 2007.

As a junior he tallied 87 total tackles and four sacks, and 16 solo tackles, 40 tackle assists, 11 tackles for loss and led the team in sacks with five during his senior season at Shoemaker.

Gray said he is thrilled to have another player going to a top football program in the state of Texas and will have trouble rooting for either the Aggies or Longhorns with Joiner at A&M and former Shoemaker standout defensive lineman Roy Miller at Texas.

"It's pretty exciting to have someone on both ends of the rivalry," Gray said. "It's exciting, as a coach, to have players sign with the top two schools in the state."

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