Embody Evaluations

Publisher Billy Embody breaks down three SMU prospects in his latest Embody Evaluations!

Clay Johnston- 2015 LB, Abilene Wylie HS (TX)

Versus the Pass: While his pass rushing skills need some polishing, Johnston can beat offensive tackles around the edge to disrupt a passing play. Comes off the blitz well and stays low enough to move by offensive linemen to get to the quarterback. Johnston uses his hands well to shed offensive linemen and make the tackle.

Versus the Run: Johnston is extremely physical and has the athletic ability to shoot gaps with quickness to get to the ball carrier. With his speed and great recognition skills, Johnston can disrupt any running play. His side-to-side quickness is a big reason why Wylie also uses him at running back. Sometimes he doesn't chop his feet as well as you would want so he isn't explosive tackling, but he's just strong.

Technique: Johnston plays a little high at times and relies on his athletic ability to run plays down. Johnston is strong enough to not allow anyone to get out of his grasps though. You'd like to see him come to balance a little better and explode through the ball carrier when making a tackle. Sometimes arm tackles a little more because of that.

Side Note:Johnston was an all-state performer at linebacker in 2013, finishing with 131 tackles, 36 tackles for loss, and six sacks. He shined in the Dallas NFSC, but it isn't surprising with his dad being Kent Johnston, the strength and conditioning coach of the San Diego Chargers.

Offers: Baylor and SMU.


HT: 6-2
WT: 200
40-Yard Dash: 4.78
20-Yard Shuttle: 4.07
Vertical Jump: 39

Ykili Ross- 2015 ATH, Riverside Polytech HS (Calif.)

Ball Skills: An elite prospect in terms of ball skills on the field, understanding how to go up at its highest point to get the ball and catches it effortlessly. Once the ball is in his hands, Ross has no problem taking it the distance, but has the moves to turn a hitch into a homerun. Ross catches the ball without breaking stride and is a long-strider and can burn defenders on deep routes. Ross is a threat in the return game and also doesn't mind going over the middle and snagging balls.

Technique: Ross comes out a little high in his routes, but that can be corrected with coaching. His elite pass catching skills are displayed by looking the ball into his hands, not his chest. Ross can also undercut underthrown balls by his quarterback or opposing teams quarterbacks because of his technique when the ball is in the air. Runs solid routes for the most part, understanding how to press defensive backs so he's in the best position to make the play

Coverage: Defensively, Ross is just as talented due to his instincts and ball skills. Ross has the frame to match up with receivers and be physical enough to be in position to make a play on the ball. I see him more as a wide receiver, but Ross' talent is just as good in the secondary. Ross keeps his feet under him so he can come up in run support as well.

Side Note:Ross can really play on either side of the ball at the next level. He needs to fill out his frame, but he has the quickness to play defensive back and the homerun speed to be a threat at receiver.

Offers: Arizona, Arizona State, Boise State, California, Colorado, Fresno State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon State, San Diego State, San Jose State, SMU, Texas Tech, UCLA, USC, Washington and Washington State.


HT: 6-2
WT: 190

Darius Anderson- 2016 RB, Rosenberg George Ranch HS (TX)

Power: Anderson still has room to add weight to his frame, but he is very elusive with the ball in his hands. Displays the ability to shed would be tacklers and break through arm tackles. Anderson never wants to be brought down on first contact, keeping his legs moving to work his way through piles not because he can push them for extra yards, but because he is compact enough not to let tacklers get him. Anderson is also solid on coverage for special teams.

Vision: Finds his way through the smallest holes, but can also set up his blocks on the outside to help him maximize his yardage. While Anderson may reverse field multiple times in any given play, he knows where he wants to go at all times and that's a good addition to his speed and quickness. Anderson can bounce it outside very well if he gets stonewalled at the hole.

Agility/Acceleration: Displays elite agility and acceleration while changing direction and that helps him be a homerun threat every time Anderson touches the ball. Anderson can break away from defenders once he's in the open field and very rarely gets brought down from behind. Has exceptional balance that allows him to stay on his feet for extra yards.

Side Note: SMU was the first to offer Anderson, who was named the District 23-4A Newcomer of the Year after rushing for 816 yards and 12 touchdowns on 91 carries.



HT: 5-9
WT: 180
40-Yard Dash: 4.63
20-Yard Shuttle: 4.22
Vertical Jump: 38.5

Darius Anderson Highlights: http://www.hudl.com/athlete/1343402/highlights/68181376

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