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2014 SMU Recruiting Class Analysis

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Feb 6, 2013


SMU Mustangs 2014 ... Head Coach: June Jones


SMU Mustangs

2013 Record: 5-7
8/30 Texas Tech L 41-23
9/7 Montana State W 31-30
9/14 OPEN DATE
9/21 at Texas A&M L 42-13
9/28 at TCU L 48-17
10/5 Rutgers L 55-52 3OT
10/12 OPEN DATE
10/19 at Memphis W 34-29
10/26 Temple W 59-49
11/2 OPEN DATE
11/9 at Cincinnati L 28-25
11/16 Connecticut W 38-21
11/23 at USF W 16-6
11/29 at Houston L 34-0
12/7 UCF L 17-13

SMU | The 2013 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2014: Plugging the holes in pass defense. The bad news is that the Mustangs allowed 272 yards a game through the air in 2013. The worse news is that three key seniors, namely top cover corner Kenneth Acker, have exhausted their eligibility on the Hilltop. SMU will be building around safeties Hayden Greenbauer and Shakiel Randolph while breaking in a pair of green cornerbacks. The offense under June Jones is no longer a sure-thing, which places more pressure than ever on the D.

The 2014 Class Is Heavy On ... Wide receivers. How did a June Jones offense land the nation’s No. 1 fullback? Daniel Gresham could turn out to be a whale of a linebacker. Darrell Colbert and Jordan Stewart will eventually fight it out for the starting quarterback job, and the receiving corps is going to be deep and talented with Shelby Walker and 6-3, 170-pound Kadeem Goulbourne leading a deep class. Safety Courtland Sutton and corner J.R. Reed are two big defensive backs with the upside to start soon out of a big class.

2013 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 72. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive backs. This is a huge class with a little something for everywhere, but June Jones has signed on a ton of safeties to play around with. They're almost all big, and with a little time in the weight room, some of them like Myles Crosby could become smallish linebackers. J'Marcus Rhodes should be the best of the lot, but linebacker Roderick Moore could be the team's best defensive pickup. The star of the class is running back Traylon Shead, who'll almost certainly come in and be a part of the starting equation right away. Tight end Jeremiah Gaines and offensive tackle Travis Fister will be good Big East players.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 60. That Class Was Heavy On ... The defensive line. June Jones went hard after the offense the last few years to get the players he needs to run his attack, and now it’s time to fortify the front wall that’s going to need prospects to develop for 2014. The offense won’t be ignored, but the key players are going to be for the line instead of among the skill players.

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 51. That Class Was Heavy On ... Outside linebacker. The June Jones offense needs receivers, and after loading up last year, the offense got yet another influx of talent with Arrius Holleman and Ronnell Sims two dangerous targets. The defensive line loaded up with several strong hybrid prospects, while the linebacking corps got several safety-sized, speedy players with Devon Moreland a terrific get and Jonathan Yenga and Cameron Smith two promising recruits.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 73. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receivers. After putting the building blocks in place with a big recruiting class of offensive linemen last year, June Jones is getting the receivers to make his style of offense fly. With Shawnbrey McNeal leaving early for the NFL, there was a hole to fill at running back and freshman Darryl Fields might fill it, but the bulk of the class is at receiver with eight prospects coming in led by Kyle Guinyard, a potential No. 1 target who had offers from several Big 12 schools.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 65. That Class Was Heavy On ... offensive linemen. What good is the run-and-shoot if the quarterback is always running for his life? In fine shape at the skill positions for the next few years, June Jones loaded up on linemen, many of whom will need to spend their first year adding girth and weight. In Ben Hughes and Joey Fontana, the Mustangs signed two of the nation’s top 10 centers, so replacing Mitch Enright in 2010 shouldn’t be a major headache.

UCF 17 … at SMU 13
Basically … In the cold and wintery conditions, UCF, who had already secured a BCS bid, did what it needed to do as Blake Bortles ran for a one-yard score midway through the third quarter and a 15-yard score late in the frame. SMU took over in the first half with a 33-yard Chase Hover field goal and a 30-yard Keenan Holman touchdown catch in the second, but the offense could only manage a 39-yard Hover field goal in the second half.
- SMU was 0-of-3 on fourth down chances and was outgained 338 yards to 313.
- UCF QB Blake Bortles completed 24-of-35 passes for 242 yards, and ran ten times for 31 yards and two scores.
- SMU QB Neal Burcham completed 24-of-34 passes for 222 yards and a score.
- UCF RB Storm Johnson was held to 37 yards on 11 carries.

at Houston 34, SMU 0
Basically … Houston got up right away on a 67-yard Daniel Spencer touchdown catch, and it kept on rolling with two 27-yard field goals from Kyle Bullard, a 19-yard touchdown catch from Greg Ward Jr. and a 37-yard Ryan Jackson scoring run. SMU was sloppy without QB Garrett Gilbert with penalties and turnovers proving costly.
- Houston QB John O’Korn completed 25-of-41 passes for 245 yards and two scores with two picks.
- SMU QB Neal Burcham completed 27-of-52 passes for 212 yards and three picks.
- SMU committed ten penalties and turned it over four times. Houston committed seven penalties and turned it over twice.
- Houston WR Daniel Spencer caught seven passes for 100 yards and a score.

SMU 16, at South Florida 6
Basically … SMU got up 16-0 helped by third quarter touchdowns from Prescott Line on a six-yard run and a Der’rikk Thompson 37-yard touchdown catch, but USF made it interesting late on a 50-yard punt return from Chris Dunkely. The Bulls failed on the two point conversion, and never got close again.
- SMU QB Garrett Gilbert completed 19-of-23 passes for 138 yards and a score before getting hurt. Neal Burcham completed 9-of-18 passes for 91 yards and a score and a pick.
- USF converted 13 penalties for 107 yards. SMU was flagged once for five yards.
- USF WR Andre Davis caught five passes for 113 yards.
- SMU only gained 280 yards, but USF came up with just 259

at SMU 38, Connecticut 21
Basically … Garrett Gilbert threw four touchdown passes with two to Keenan Holman from one and 20 yards out and two to Jeremy Johnson from four and five yards away. Connecticut would make it a game as Casey Cochran found Sean McQuillan for a one-yard touchdown and Geremy Davis from 26 yards away to pull within seven in the fourth, but the Mustangs controlled the final few minutes with a Chase Hoover field goal and a 35-yard pick six from Stephon Sanders 35 seconds later.
- SMU QB Garrett Gilbert completed 33-of-52 passes for 353 yards and four scores, and he ran seven times for 23 yards.
- Connecticut RB Lyle McCombs ran 17 times for 103 yards
- Connecticut QB Casey Cochran completed 25-of-42 passes for 227 yards and two touchdowns with two picks.
- SMU WR Jeremy Johnson caught 12 passes for 71 yards and two touchdowns.

at Cincinnati 28, SMU 25
Basically … Brendon Kay threw two touchdown passes, hitting Chris Moore from 17 yards out and Mekale McKay from 62 yards away, as part of a 28-pount run in the middle of the game. And then it was on the Bearcat defense to hang on as Garrett Gilbert, who ran for a three-yard score to start out the scoring, tried to bring the Mustangs back with two fourth quarter touchdown passes to Darius Joseph to get within three, but the UC was able to run out the clock and hold on.
- Cincinnati QB Brendan Kay completed 27-of-32 passes for 299 yards and two touchdowns with two picks.
- SMU QB Garrett Gilbert completed 38-of-47 passes for 403 yards and two touchdowns, and he ran for 14 yards and a score. Three Mustang receivers went for over 100 yards.
- SMU kicker Chase Hover missed two field goals, hitting just a 24-yarder.
- Cincinnati outgained SMU 462 yards to 451, but was -3 in turnover margin.

at SMU 59, Temple 49, Oct. 26
Basically … SMU rallied from a 28-7 first-half deficit to topple Temple in a record-setting day for both schools. The Mustangs took the lead for good on a Chase Hover field goal with 9:49 left in the final quarter. The teams combined for more than 1,300 yards of offense, most of which came off the arms of the two quarterbacks.
- Mustang QB Garrett Gilbert accounted for six touchdowns, while throwing for a school-record 538 yards. Top target Keenan Holman caught 10 balls for 209 yards and three scores.

SMU 34, at Memphis 29
Basically … SMU hung on for dear life after almost blowing a 34-3 lead. The Mustangs cranked up 24 points in the second quarter with Traylon Shead running for two one-yard scores, and Garrett Gilbert hitting Collin LaGasse for an eight-yard touchdown pass and starting out the scoring with a 79-yard pass play to Keenan Holman. But it was all Memphis over the final 17 minutes, scoring 27 unanswered points starting with two fumble returns for scores from Ryan Coleman. The offense got in the act with two late touchdowns, but the final score – an eight-yard catch from Mose Frazier – came with no time left on the clock.
- SMU got the win. The turnovers were disastrous, and the offense collapsed late, but the Mustangs came away with a desperately needed victory to keep the season alive. Garrett Gilbert threw for 321 yards and two touchdowns with a pick. It would’ve been nice to have put this away up 31-3, but again, it’s a win, and SMU had to have it.
- Paxton Lynch and the Memphis offense came alive way too late. He hit 26-of-36 passes for 198 yards and a score with a pick with absolutely nothing big happening down the field. The SMU defense isn’t a brick wall; the Tiger O should’ve worked better.
- It’s not like Memphis is hard luck, but at 1-5, it’s overdue for a strong performance and a little luck. This kicked off a homestand with a rough loss, and now it has to come up with a win over Cincinnati and UT Martin to follow before going on the road for three of the final four games.
- SMU got its first AAC win, and now it gets a nice break with Temple up next and Connecticut coming up soon. If the Mustangs can beat Cincinnati on the road, they could go on a very, very nice run. Remember, they don’t play Louisville.

Rutgers 55, at SMU 52 3OT
Basically … In the third overtime, SMU settled for a field goal and Rutgers answered with a 17-yard Justin Goodwin touchdown run to cap off a wild shootout. Rutgers seemingly had things well in hand, getting up 21-0 in the first half, highlighted by a 50-yard touchdown pass from Gary Nova to Justin Goodwin, and was up 35-14 going into the fourth, and then came the comeback. SMU scored 21 points in the fourth quarter on three Garrett Gilbert touchdown passes with two to Jeremy Johnson. Gilbert ran for a three-yard score in the first overtime, matched by a Leonte Carron touchdown catch to tie it up. Carron scored from 29 yards out in the second overtime, but Gilbert answered with another short scoring run.
- Rutgers certainly knows how to play interesting games, for good and for bad. The offense responded when it had to in the overtime sessions after a rough fourth quarter, with Justin Goodwin coming up with 149 rushing yards and two touchdowns, while leading the team with 73 receiving yards with a score on two catches.
- SMU didn’t give up. Garrett Gilbert has the ability to put up big games like this once in a while, completing 45-of-70 passes for 484 yards and five touchdowns to go along with two rushing scores. He’ll get most of the spotlight after this tough loss, but it was Jeremy Johnson who came up big the entire game with 18 catches for 217 yards and three scores.
- Nobody played any defense, but SMU linebacker Randall Joyner was always around the ball on the way to 18 tackles. There weren’t many meaningful stops until the fourth quarter – highlighted by a huge forced fumble from Zach Wood - but he was in on everything.
- And now Rutgers has to gear it back up, and fast, after this exhausting game. It would’ve been nice to have put in the backups in a blowout, but instead the team has to be ready for the showdown at Louisville on Thursday. The offense has to be ready to gear it up for another firefight, but to have any shot, there has to be even more pressure on Teddy Bridgewater than there was on Garrett Gilbert.

at TCU 48, SMU 17
Basically … SMU had a 10-7 lead going into halftime, and then it was all TCU with 27 straight points on two Jaden Oberkrom field goals and two Trevone Boykin touchdown passes. SMU finally broke the run with Garrett Gilbert’s second touchdown pass of the game, but La’Darius Brown returned the ensuing kickoff for a score. The TCU D made it a laugher with a 66-yard pick six from Sam Carter.
- TCU’s defense was terrific with five takeaways – with two interceptions from Sam Carter – and allowing just 16 rushing yards. SMU kept bombing away, but Garrett Gilbert only threw for 276 yards. The pressure was on all game – he was sacked seven times -
- No Devonte Fields? It didn’t matter. Jon Lewis came up with two of the seven sacks, while linebacker Marcus Mallet led the way with ten tackles – all solo – with a sack, a forced fumble, and four tackles for loss. The Horned Frog D was nasty.
- Jeremy Johnson was one of the positives for the SMU offense with 11 catches for 159 yards and a score, but the rest of the attack couldn’t seem to break free for important plays after TCU’s defense got into a lather.
- TCU only converted 2-of-12 third down chances while SMU converted 8-of-19 tries, but there were too many drives stalled by mistakes.

at Texas A&M 42, SMU 13
Basically … Johnny Manziel was Johnny Manziel weaving and juking his way to two seven-yard touchdown runs and finding Malcome Kennedy for a 16-yard touchdown pass. SMU could only come up with a 42-yard Chase Hover field goal while the Aggies cranked out 32 first half points on the way to a 42-6 lead going into the fourth quarter. SMU finally got into the end zone on a 31 yard Keenan Holman catch.
- Texas A&M came out exactly like it needed to considering the tough loss to Alabama. Johnny Manziel threw a pick, but he was great, completing 14-of-21 passes for 244 yards with a score, and he ran 12 times for 102 yards and two scores.
- SMU is supposed to be built to keep up the pace against a top offensive team, but it can’t do it. Garrett Gilbert threw 62 times for 310 yards and a score, but the offense didn’t work until late.
- Penalties, penalties, penalties. SMU committed 16, while Texas A&M screwed up 13 times. The Aggies could overcome them; the Mustangs couldn’t.
- Obviously A&M is going to run Manziel as much as possible, but Ben Malena and Brandon Williams should be doing more. They combined for just 21 carries, with Williams failing to break free, but that’s better than SMU could do, running 17 times for 93 yards.

at SU 31, Montana State 30, Sept. 7
Basically … SMU rallied from a 30-19 second half deficit with 12 unanswered points with two of Chase Hoover’s three field goals and capped off by a four-yard Darius Joseph touchdown catch with 12 seconds to play. Montana State got two Cody Kirk touchdown runs on the way to the lead, but the SMU offense took over in the second half before closing out with the game-winning drive.
- Garrett Gilbert pulled out the win. It might have been a frustrating day overall for the offense, but Gilbert had a nice day completing 35-of-48 passes for 317 yards with a score.
- With 11 penalties and two turnovers, SMU kept shooting itself in the foot time and again. It had to climb out of a hole it helped create for itself.
- The defense got picked clean by Texas Tech and its passing game last week, and this week it was Cody Kirk and the Montana State running game. The offense has to be ready to get into shootouts week-in-and-week-out.

Texas Tech 41, at SMU 23, Aug. 30
Basically … After a sluggish start between the two high-powered offenses, Texas Tech kicked it into high gear with Baker Mayfield throwing for 413 yards and four touchdowns passes and running for another. However, the Red Raiders didn’t pull away until the fourth quarter with 21 straight points. SMU hung around with two touchdown runs and three Chase Hover field goals, but the defense couldn’t hold up to the pressure.
- It’s so Texas Tech to find a walk-on true freshman who can step onto the field and complete 43-of-60 passes for 413 yards and four scores. Baker Mayfield is on his way to a potentially phenomenal career.
- Garrett Gilbert had a nice day, but he couldn’t hit on enough big plays. The former Texas starter completed 41-of-62 passes for 388 yards for the Mustangs, and he led the team with 53 rushing yards and a score.
- Eric Ward was next to unstoppable for the Red Raiders. The veteran receiver caught 13 passes for 150 yards, but SMU had some big receiving days, too, with Jeremy Johnson and Darius Joseph combining for 23 catches for 234 yards.
- The two teams combined to throw the ball 122 times, but they also combined for 17 penalties.

Spring Analysis

Why To Get Excited … the Mustangs are taking a stiff tailwind into their maiden season in the Big East. SMU won its final two games of 2012, including a Hawaii Bowl rout of Fresno State, 43-10, on Christmas Eve. The program expects to reap the benefits of participating in a more recognized league, leveraging larger TV audiences and better postseason opportunities into greater success on the recruiting trail.

Why To Be Grouchy … SMU will be facing a new slate of competitors with a lot of new starters on both sides of the ball. The Mustangs got whacked via graduation a year ago, and now must replace three starting offensive linemen and some of 2012’s premier players. Of the seven players named First or Second Team All-Conference USA, including standouts Zach Line, Margus Hunt and Ja’Gared Davis, just one, CB Kenneth Acker, remains on the Hilltop.

The Number One Thing To Work On Is … the secondary. Acker is a fine place to start, but he won’t survive on an island in 2013 without more help from the safeties and his fellow cornerbacks. While the Mustangs picked off 21 passes, 13 came in blowouts of Stephen F. Austin and Houston. And the DBs too often allowed opposing receivers to get behind them. Worse yet, Hunt, Davis and LB Taylor Reed are no longer around to apply pressure, and take some heat off the overmatched pass defenders.

Team Concerns For 2013: The Mustangs have some huge replacements to be made on both sides of the ball, especially on the defensive line that loses all three starters including huge pass rusher Margus Hunt. Three starters are gone on an offensive line that was awful in pass protection, but the biggest problem is with an inefficient passing game that was never consistent. The secondary that gets back all four starters has to be far tighter after giving up 278 yards per game.

Non-Conference Games: Texas Tech, Montana State, at Texas A&M, TCU
Realistic Best Case Record: 8-4
Worst Case Record: 3-9
Likely Finish: 4-8

Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: Montana State, at Memphis, Temple, UCF

Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: Texas Tech, at Texas A&M, at TCU, Rutgers, at Cincinnati, Connecticut, at USF

Schedule Analysis: The Mustangs have a nice team returning, but life outside of Conference USA is going to be far tougher with few true layups. Going against Montana State will help, but the easier games against former league foes Memphis and Houston are on the road. Getting Temple at home won’t be a breeze, and good luck dealing with Cincinnati on the road or Rutgers at home. There’s no Louisville to deal with, but going on the road to Texas A&M and TCU after kicking off the year against Texas Tech won’t be fun, and then comes Rutgers. The Mustangs only have to leave Texas once until November and three times all year, but it’s still going to be a rough run.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Defensive backs. This is a huge class with a little something for everywhere, but June Jones has signed on a ton of safeties to play around with. They're almost all big, and with a little time in the weight room, some of them like Myles Crosby could become smallish linebackers. J'Marcus Rhodes should be the best of the lot, but linebacker Roderick Moore could be the team's best defensive pickup. The star of the class is running back Traylon Shead, who'll almost certainly come in and be a part of the starting equation right away. Tight end Jeremiah Gaines and offensive tackle Travis Fister will be good Big East players.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 60. That Class Was Heavy On ... The defensive line. June Jones went hard after the offense the last few years to get the players he needs to run his attack, and now it’s time to fortify the front wall that’s going to need prospects to develop for 2014. The offense won’t be ignored, but the key players are going to be for the line instead of among the skill players.

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 51. That Class Was Heavy On ... Outside linebacker. The June Jones offense needs receivers, and after loading up last year, the offense got yet another influx of talent with Arrius Holleman and Ronnell Sims two dangerous targets. The defensive line loaded up with several strong hybrid prospects, while the linebacking corps got several safety-sized, speedy players with Devon Moreland a terrific get and Jonathan Yenga and Cameron Smith two promising recruits.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 73. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receivers. After putting the building blocks in place with a big recruiting class of offensive linemen last year, June Jones is getting the receivers to make his style of offense fly. With Shawnbrey McNeal leaving early for the NFL, there was a hole to fill at running back and freshman Darryl Fields might fill it, but the bulk of the class is at receiver with eight prospects coming in led by Kyle Guinyard, a potential No. 1 target who had offers from several Big 12 schools.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 65. That Class Was Heavy On ... offensive linemen. What good is the run-and-shoot if the quarterback is always running for his life? In fine shape at the skill positions for the next few years, June Jones loaded up on linemen, many of whom will need to spend their first year adding girth and weight. In Ben Hughes and Joey Fontana, the Mustangs signed two of the nation’s top 10 centers, so replacing Mitch Enright in 2010 shouldn’t be a major headache.


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