Embody Evaluations

We evaluate a trio of SMU football prospects inside!

Dante Pettis- 2014 WR, Junipero Serra (Calif.)

Route Running: This is probably the strength of Pettis' game because it allows him to be open and have a step on defenders from the get-go. Pettis does an excellent job of fighting his way through the under coverage to get over the top and open. On his screens, he sells them well to give him a little extra room to catch the ball and get up the field.

Hands and Technique: Pettis does a great job of catching the ball away from his body with his hands, obviously listening to his cousin a little bit for tips. He runs with the ball tucked away well and doesn't leave it flailing around for a possible fumble while he's in the open field. Pettis also did a nice job switching hands with the ball to keep it on the side closest to the sideline, something you don't see very often. At the snap, he drives off the ball well and is able to get into his route nicely without getting caught into any press situations.

Big Play Ability: Pettis' first three plays on his film are a jet sweep, a punt return and a bubble screen, all for touchdowns, which display Pettis' versatility and his explosiveness. Pettis is shifty as well for six feet as he is able to make defenders miss in the open field and understands the best route to the endzone, using his speed to beat opponents to the edge. While Pettis is not blessed with 4.4 speed, he is smooth on the field and is a solid redzone target for his quarterback with his nearly 37-inch vertical as well.

Side Note: Pettis is the cousin of former Boise State star receiver Austin Pettis, so watch and see if that will affect his decision, but with Chris Peterson leaving for Washington, the Broncos may now be on the outside looking in.

Offers: Boise State, Fresno State, Nevada, San Diego State, SMU and Villanova.

Measurables:

HT: 6-0

WT: 170

40-Yard Dash: 4.61

20-Yard Shuttle: 4.18

Vertical Jump: 36.8"

Highlights:

Caleb Tuiasosopo- ILB, Tyler JUCO (TX)

Technique: Tuiasosopo is a devastating hitter when he gets a player lined up for a big hit and does a good job following through on his hits. He does play a little high at times and can be tackling with his arms a little too much. Tuiasosopo is for the most part in good position though and that will help him at the next level with diagnosing plays early as he tries to climb SMU's depth chart.

Versus the Pass: In coverage, Tuiasosopo displays good hip movement in his zone drops so that he is in position to break up passes well. Where he does struggle is in the recognition of the screen game because he seems to be getting to the ball carrier seven to eight yards down the field on those. With his size, his strength is against the run, but it has been impressive to watch him be able to turn so well in pass coverage down the field.

Versus the Run: Tuiasosopo is at his best against the run and with his size, he is a really good gap filler and understands where he needs to be to be in the best position to make a play on the ball carrier. He does a good job of chopping his feet and fighting off blocks to be able to plug his gap, but can be a little late reacting to a play at times.

Side Note: Tuiasosopo tallied 87 tackles on the season for Tyler JC and his father, Jeff, and cousin, Marques, both played college football, while Marques was drafted by the Oakland Raiders.

Offers: Nicholls State and SMU

Measurables:

HT: 6-3

WT: 250

Highlights: http://www.hudl.com/athlete/1352078/

Danny Thomas- 2015 OLB, Cypress Bay (Fla.)

Technique: Thomas displays excellent technique in pretty much all parts of his game on film. He does play a little high when he tackles, but stays low to the ground when pass rushing and does a solid job using leverage to beat his opponent. Thomas does need to do a better job of chopping his feet so he can move better and not rely on his speed as much, but overall, Thomas has a nice combination of technique and athleticism that will allow him to be extremely versatile at the next level.

Versus the Pass: There aren't many highlights of Thomas in the passing game and dropping back in coverage from a standup linebacker position, but he has the athleticism to do well. Thomas did a solid job of getting his hands up on quick passing plays when rushing and diagnosing screen plays as well. When dropping back in coverage, he has good range with his frame and shadows players well, but the technique will need work since he played with his hand in the dirt much of the time last year.

Versus the Run: With his quickness and his hand in the dirt, Thomas is able to get off of blocks easily in the run game and disrupt blocking schemes. With his speed, Thomas showed the ability to run down plays from the backside and pursue ball carriers all the way to the edge. Thomas doesn't just use his quickness to get off blockers, he has the strength to change up his moves and bull rush a lineman back into a play.

Side Note: Thomas is teammates with SMU commit Kadeem Goulbourne and Thomas did say that if some Texas and Florida athletes could get to SMU together, they could dominate.

Offers: SMU, West Virginia and Western Michigan.

Measurables:

HT: 6-2

WT: 220

40-Yard Dash: 4.65

Highlights:

http://www.hudl.com/athlete/o/2646895/highlights/98728375

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