Embody Evaluations

Managing Editor Billy Embody takes a closer look at new SMU offerees

Cedric Johnson- NT, Rowlett

Technique: Johnson shoots gaps well and when you watch him on film, he keeps his feet moving well and is does not get overpowered. When head up on the center, he is able to control him for the most part and while it may seem like he does not come off the ball extremely well, he is able to use his vision into the backfield to make plays. His brute strength allows him to shed blocks easily and punish opposing players.

Versus the Pass: He is able to take up two blockers to allow linebackers to fly through and make plays on the quarterback. When Johnson is able to break through the line, he pursues the quarterback extremely well and when he gets a hold of the passer, he is physical in taking him to the ground. Johnson has suspect speed in the 40, but in short distances he displayed a good burst to get to the quarterback and causing pressure.

Versus the Run: Johnson uses his size well to shoot gaps and break through to get to the runner. He also is able to take up two blockers in the running game, while keeping his eye on where the runner is going. This allows him to disengage from blockers and pursue the back, making tackles down the field on runners if they get by.

Side Note: Baylor is the favorite for Johnson, but he is familiar with the SMU program, he saw SMU play UTEP two years ago.

Offers: Baylor, Tulsa, Washington State and SMU

Measurables: HT: 6-2, WT: 290, 40-Yard Dash: 5.25, 20-Yard Shuttle: 4.75, Vertical Jump: 23.1

Chris Warren- RB, Rockwall (2015)

Power: With Warren's size, he does not fear contact at all and with his blend of speed, he is able to pickup yards after first contact mainly because of his strength. He earned a fair amount of his 1,059 yards and 13 touchdowns after contact. Some college coaches believe that because of his strength and frame that could fill out even more, he could play defensive end or linebacker. Was also a solid blocker when called upon.

Vision: Warren is a pretty patient runner and sets up his blocks well and understands the angles defenders need to take to get to him and he uses that to his advantage. When the play was not there up the middle, Warren bounced it outside on a few occasions and beat defenders to the edge with ease. Warren is shifty enough to find small holes and turn them into big plays.

Agility/Acceleration: When you watch Warren get into the second and third levels of the defense, his agility and acceleration are there to allow him to break runs for big gains. With his speed, Warren is a threat out of the backfield to catch the ball, totaling over 100 yards receiving, and can be shifty in the open field catching those passes.

Side Note: SMU is getting an early jump on the 2015 class at running back, offering Warren and Mesquite Horn RB Jarrison Stewart. Also the son of former NFL running back Chris Warren, who played 11 NFL seasons.

Offers: Baylor, Mississippi State, SMU, Texas and Texas Tech

Measurables: HT: 6-2, WT: 220, 40-Yard Dash: 4.62, 20-Yard Shuttle: 4.40, Vertical Jump: 33.2

Nate Gaines- S, Mesquite Poteet

Ball Skills: Also a basketball player, Gaines uses his size to beat opponents on jump ball opportunities with relative ease. Also a receiver for Poteet, he has the hands to make plays when he has the opportunity to. Gaines goes up and gets the ball at its highest point, which stops smaller receivers from being able to get to it. With the ball in his hands, he is able to make big plays on interception returns as well due to his vision of the field.

Technique: Gaines is not the thickest safety, but he can lay the hammer over the middle with a good break on the ball. He has a good first step when breaking on the ball, which makes up for his average speed. Gaines looks comfortable in a backpedal and displays good knee bend even for a taller safety. The one area where he could struggle is in run support, where his size could be an issue. Also needs to display better tackling technique and coming to balance. Gaines made a few tackles by getting lucky and tripping up the runner.

Coverage: With Gaines' experience at wide receiver, he understands routes and the intricacies of playing receiver, which allows him to make more plays and provide solid coverage from his safety spot. His size allows him to lineup against bigger receivers one-on-one if need be and if he could fill out his frame, could also handle tight ends.

Side Note: Gaines is looking to major in business and SMU's prestigious Cox School of Business should be a big selling point. If Baylor offers, Gaines will commit on the spot, he said.

Offers: Navy and SMU

Measurables: HT: 6-3, WT: 175

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