Ask June Jones, defensive coordinator Tom Mason or linebackers coach Joe Haering who they think will have a breakout year on defense, and they'll say Ja'Gared Davis.
Last year, Davis had nine sacks and 16 tackles for loss, earning himself first-team All-Conference USA honors. He's emerged as the team's top pass-rusher and he's only a junior.
Then there's Taylor Reed, also a junior, who had 145 tackles in 2010, which was the seventh-most in the nation and 22 more than any other Mustang.
"Taylor and JG have a lot of ability and now they're learning more about football and they could be as good as anybody in Conference USA," Haering said. "Those two are really becoming really good football players. We started playing them when they were really young and they didn't really know what was going on and now they understand what's coming at them."
"This is the first year we feel we can put our second people in and not have any drop off," Haering said. "The first year I got here (in 2009) we could only put two players in and not have a drop off. I feel really good about our depth."
When asked how much progress this group has made since last season, Haering said, "Ohhh we look like we have the best set of linebackers we've had since I've been here. May even be the best group in Conference USA."
SMU may return 18 starters, but look for the linebackers to have the strongest season of any position.