On Monday morning, Traylon Shead will be one step closer to becoming a full-time student-athlete at SMU when he takes part in orientation. This will be Shead's third collegiate stop- Texas and Navarro C.C. came before- but he hopes this will be the place where he creates his legacy.
"I'm excited about orientation. I've already moved into my apartment here in Dallas and can't wait to get started," Shead said. "After my high school coach helped me get in touch with the staff, I kind of figured SMU is where I wanted to go. I came from a small high school, and SMU is a small private school so I think it will be a good fit."
Shead was originally encouraged to look at SMU by his uncle Edward Johnson, who played for the Ponies in the 70s, and began to do more research on the program.
Shortly after picking up an offer, Shead committed to SMU in October and fell in love with the school on his official visit last month.
"The campus was so beautiful and the facilities were great. It was like a smaller UT," Shead said. "The classes are close to the stadium and the staff was great. Coach (June) Jones told me that they had a running back spot open and that I could start right away if I worked hard. He also told me Coach (Wes) Suan would mold me into a great player."
With Zach Line departing due to graduation, Shead is expected to come in and become SMU's feature back. The former four-star is confident he'll be able to fill that role and is ready to start learning the Run N' Shoot offense.
"With Zach graduating, my plan is to take over as that lead back," he said. "I talked to Coach Suan a couple of days ago. He was still in Hawaii but told me one he got back that we would go over the playbook together so I'm just waiting for him."
It appears a few staff members are still on the islands after a dominant win over Fresno State, which Shead said he really enjoyed watching.
"All the guys looked like they were having fun. It looked so fun that I wanted to be there," he said. "I just can't wait to join the team. We're going to the Big East now so my goal is to help get this team to a BCS bowl."
The 6-foot-2, 225-pound tail back is coming off his own bowl victory. This season, Shead rushed for over 1,200 yards and set a school record for rushing touchdowns en route to helping Navarro C.C. defeat Georgia Military in Heart of Texas Bowl.
Shead was a little nicked up in the game but says he is at full strength and is working vigorously to improve his speed.
"The JUCO experience really helped with my mindset and helped me become a better player, but I want to get a little faster," he said. "I'm going to do a bunch of lower body workouts so I can be at my best come spring football."
Shead Ready For New Opportunity
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