Pony Stampede Spring Preview: Wide Receivers

Spring ball is just a few short weeks away! To get you ready, Pony Stampede will preview each position group before the Mustangs take the practice field. Today we take a look at the wide receivers.

The Roster

The SMU receivers failed to live up to expectations this past year especially Darius Johnson, and the rest of the receivers struggled with consistency. But Garrett Gilbert's favorite target, Jeremy Johnson, returns for his senior season. SMU will be looking for more consistency from the outside receivers this spring that saw some shuffling at one outside spot and Der'rikk Thompson not being targeted consistently.

Keenan Holman, 6-1, 185, Senior

Jeremy Johnson, 6-0, 175, Senior

Kyle Guinyard, 5-11, 200, Junior

Daijuan Stewart, 5-10, 185, RS-Freshman

Der'rikk Thompson, 5-11, 190, Junior

Marcus Holyfield, 6-1, 195, Senior

Ryan Walker, 6-0, 195, Senior

Jordan Airhart, 6-2, 195, Sophomore

Arrius Holleman, 6-3, 215, Sophomore

Ben Sellers, 6-2, 215, Sophomore

Deion Sanders Jr., 5-7, 170, Freshman

Darius Joseph, 6-0, 200, Sophomore

A.J. Buffini, 6-0, 185, RS-Freshman

Stephen Nelson, 6-0, 185, Junior

Kenneth Acker, 6-0, 195, Senior

Ty Law, 5-10, 170, Freshman

Grade: C

Strengths: Speed

Weaknesses: No Outside Threat, Hands and Route Running

Synopsis

SMU had some serious problems last year in the passing game and a big part of the reason was the receivers. There were dropped balls, poor routes and miscommunication with Gilbert. With Darius Johnson gone, Jeremy Johnson steps up as the leader of the receiving corps and will be looked to have an explosive season.

Everywhere else at receiver is a question mark. SMU does have Law and Sanders, Jr. coming in for the spring and the staff is also going to experiment with Acker at receiver. Needless to say, the staff recognizes there is a problem and is going to do its best to get a shot of energy and competition into the position with the new signees pushing the veterans. Law is a pretty explosive player but Sanders, Jr. will have a big adjustment and Acker will have to pick up the offense as well.

This will be a problem until the Mustangs get to fall camp and have all their signees and the offense installed before we see any growth from this position. For now, the staff has to develop a legitimate threat on the outside and find a replacement for DJ3, who graduated.

What to Watch: Looking for an Outside Receiver

jeremy Johnson is a proven commodity and there is definitely more talent at the slot position than the outside receivers. This spring, SMU has to find someone that can at least give them hope going into the regular season that there can be at true threat to take the burden off of the slots. Jeremiah Gaines can do that, but he won't be here till the fall so for the spring, June Jones and Jason Phillips must develop some of the players that the team has. Thompson has all the talent in the world, but was not targeted consistently last year. Holleman and Holman are probably the two candidates to fight for the other outside spot until Gaines, who might end up on the inside, gets here in the fall. Holleman has been in and out of the doghouse with the coaching staff including some time spent on the practice squad last year. Holman had trouble with hands and route running and even though he was the tallest starting receiver for SMU, was never physical enough during games.

Breakout Player: Der'rikk Thompson

After being picked by a few people to be a breakout player last year, Thompson never lived up to expectations and will need to step up in spring practice to give the Mustangs a true deep threat on the outside. The struggles last season from the outside receiver position were overshadowed by some of Gilbert's struggles, but part of the problem with the passing game is that Thompson and Holman never put together a season that made opponents pay attention to them. With Thompson's elite speed, he should be able to step up in his senior season. If he doesn't, the Mustangs could see some of the same struggles in the passing game this season.

Keep an Eye On: Ty Law

After greyshirting this past season, SMU fans will finally find out where 2012 signee Ty Law will play and it looks like it will be at slot receiver, where SMU graduates Darius Johnson. Law will have an opportunity to compete for playing time this spring and make his mark after lifting with the team during the fall. Law has sub 4.5 speed and has probably bulked up some, which could allow him to be a little more physical out of the slot. If he can pick up Jones' offense, Law has the skills to take a step towards stepping in for Darius Johnson and in front of Joseph.

Spring Predictions

- Thompson will be a target in an attempt to develop more of a threat on the outside.

- Jeremy Johnson is still Gilbert's favorite target

- One of the early enrollees will make some noise for a starting role

- Acker will move back to corner

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