SMU Recruiting Rewind: Defense, Part I

SMU head coach June Jones has a well-deserved reputation as an offensive guru, but the Mustangs have shown on the field this year that they're also serious about defense. Moreover, the majority of SMU's 21 commitments in the 2011 recruiting class are expected to see action on defense. Read further for a glimpse of the future of SMU football in the second segment of this series.

The excitement surrounding SMU's football program is palpable and the Mustangs have reaped quick rewards in the recruiting arena.

With many programs across the country listing only single-digit numbers in terms of commitments for the 2011 class, SMU has already secured 21 verbals, with the bulk of those pledges coming from future defenders.

Delving further into the SMU recruiting class, it's clear that the Mustangs are intent on piecing together a rugged defense that will be stocked with talented players along the front seven.

Four-star OLB Devon Moreland is the No. 16-ranked player in the nation at his position. Moreland, who had 21 sacks as a junior, leads a Bishop Mora Salesian defense that has allowed only 12 points per game this year. The Mustangs are off to a 3-0 start.

Moreland is relentless in pursuit, often chasing down plays to the opposite side of the field. He reaches top-end speed in a hurry and is a devastating pass rusher off the edge.

The combination of Moreland and Euless Trinity OLB Jonathan Yenga would strike fear in the heart of offensive coordinators for years to come.

A three-star prospect ranked No. 57 in the nation at his position, Yenga plays for the No. 1 prep football team in the nation. On film, perhaps Yenga's most impressive trait is his ability to make the solo stop in the open field.

The most recent SMU commitment, three-star DE Stephon Sanders, is ranked as the No. 75 player in the country at his position. Sanders shows outstanding instincts and exceptional quickness, as well as a nose for the football. He just seems to always be in the right place at the right time.

Joining Sanders at defensive end is three-star Zachary Wood, who weighs in at No. 93 nationwide at the position. Wood is a natural at stuffing the run and he creates problems for offensive linemen at the point of attack.

The Mustangs also have verbals from two disruptive defensive tackles, Darrian Wright and Rishaad Wimbley.

Wright creates mismatches between the tackles and wreaks havoc on any attempts to establish the running game. He suits up for Dayton, which is one of the preeminent Class 4A programs in Texas.

Wimbley embodies the mindset that defensive coodinators want to see out of their big men up front. A vocal, confident leader, Wimbley is a tireless worker both on and off the field, and he's shown continuous enthusiasm about the SMU program since his commitment date.

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