Best SMU Offensive Player
QB Ben Hicks, Jr.
While he’s not a sure-thing to start considering the new coaching staff wants to check out all of the other options, he’s the one who can make the offense roll despite the loss of Courtland Sutton and Trey Quinn from the receiving corps.
The 6-1, 203-pounder doesn’t have the biggest arm, and he’s not much of a runner, but he’s a pure passer who should fit the short-to-midrange attack. He’s used to bombing away – throwing for 3,569 yards and 33 touchdowns with 12 picks – but now he’ll hit the shorter, quicker throws and his completion percentage should quickly rise up.
2. RB Xavier Jones, Jr.
3. WR James Proche, Jr.
4. RB Braeden West, Sr.
5. OT Chad Pursley, Sr.
Best SMU Defensive Player
CB Jordan Wyatt, Sr.
Expected to be back and healthy after missing the offseason recovering and getting healthy, the 6-0, 195-pounder has all-conference upside as long as he’s back to form – he needs his shoulder to heal up.
He can hit – going up with 49 tackles, 40 solo – with four interceptions taking two to the house. Ultra-quick and with a great drive on the ball, he’s a lockdown corner – but considering the way the pass defense struggled last year, he needs to be even better.
2. LB Kyran Mitchell, Sr.
3. S Mikial Onu, Jr.
4. LB Jordon Wiliams, Jr.
5. DE Tyson Neals, Jr.
Key Player To A Successful Season
WR James Proche, Jr.
He’s an inside target, but he has to rise up and rock with the stars on the outside gone. The 5-11, 185-pounder finished third on the team with 40 catches for 816 yards and six scores, averaging a whopping 20.4 yards per grab. Now, with the increased role of the interior targets in the slight shift in offense, he might double his stats.
Key Game To The SMU Season
Navy, Sept. 22
In 1998, SMU closed out its season in the WAC with a 24-11 win over Navy. After that, it lost eight straight times against the Midshipmen, including a 43-40 thriller last year after allowing 559 rushing yards and six scores.
They get Houston and Memphis at home, but beating Navy in the opener is the big test to see how far the program has come under the new coaching staff. Want to win the West? This is a needed step.
2017 SMU Fun Stats
– 4th Down Conversions: SMU 14-of-20 (70%) – Opponents 13-of-29 (45%)
– Fumbles: Opponents 19 (lost 11) – SMU (lost 6)
– Total Offense: SMU 6,220 – Opponents 6,197