Donnie Baggs, son of Ludowici native Nathaniel Baggs, has been seeing plenty of playing time for the highly ranked Texas A&M football team.
Donnie, a 6-foot-1, 230-pound junior, has 16 tackles so far this season, including six tackles against Rice and five against top-ranked Alabama, according to ESPN.com. In Saturday’s game, according to aggieathletics.com, he had two tackles, including one for loss, in the Aggies’ 45-33 at Arkansas.
The Aggies, ranked No. 9 in the country, are off this week. Baggs, whose paternal grandparents are Joe and Mary Bestor of Ludowici, recently discussed the season so far:
Coming off your first loss of the year, what are the team goals for the remainder of the season?
“Just getting better all across the board, individually and on both sides of the ball, particularly on defense. We just need to get better as a group.”
What do you like most about playing football? What is the hardest part?
“Just running around and making plays, just having fun. It’s a kid’s game and you can play it as a grown man, which is lethal. I really don’t hate anything about it, it’s just a fun game.”
Are there any challenges of playing middle linebacker?
“All eyes are on you. You’re the quarterback of the defense so to speak, so all the pressure is on you. If the defense isn’t playing well, they’re going to look to the middle linebacker; that’s the biggest challenge of it. But it’s a lot of fun.”
Do you have a pre-game ritual?
“I need to get me one! I’m still working on it.”
You are an agricultural leadership and development major. What do you plan to do with your degree?
“It’s still a work in progress. I just switched over from political science, which was really tough. Still working out the kinks but I’m trying to find something real soon.”
Your birthday is Dec. 1. Wouldn’t it be a great present for A&M to play in the SEC Championship Game a few days later on Dec 7?
“It would be the best birthday present I’ve had in 21 years! It’d be great. That’s still one of our goals regardless of the loss (to Alabama on Sept. 14). We’re trying to win out and reach our goal of going to the SEC Championship.”
What is it like having Heisman trophy winner Johnny Manziel as a teammate?
“It’s great having him as a teammate. He’s a great guy, a fierce competitor. He’s a winner, and day in and day out, he’s going to grind for you and do what he has to do on and off the field for you.”
Your dad is from Georgia. What do you remember most about spending time in Ludowici?
“I remember those hot, sunny days in my grandma’s old house, being with the family on those dirt roads in the back woods of Georgia. And of course, those Georgia peaches!”
Last year you wore No. 36, but you are wearing No. 16 this year. Why the change?
“Thirty-six was a great number, but I wore 16 in high school and I just feel more comfortable in it. I felt like switching back to 16 was going to make me feel more comfortable as a player.”
What led you to select Texas A&M instead of the other schools that showed interest in you, such as Baylor and Missouri?
“A&M is a great school, and College Station has such a great atmosphere. Kind of reminds me a lot about home back in League City, Texas. Of course, the program is a great one, one of the best football programs in the state of Texas. I loved the academic part of it, the whole Aggie tradition, rings, yells, everything. It’s just a great place to play football, and I’m completely happy about it.”
Thanks to Brad Marquardt, Texas A&M associate director of media relations, for his assistance.