Defensive Class Breakdown

Hatts breaks down the defensive side of the ball in SMU's class with strengths and weaknesses.

Defensive MVP: OLB Michael Scott

From the moment, coach Morris and his staff got to SMU, Scott (pictured above) was one of the players that they were targeting to recommit to SMU. The Mustangs had to fight off offers from California, Kansas, TCU and Iowa State but were ultimately able to get one of their biggest targets back on the Hilltop. Scott will be able to provide help at linebacker and possibly defensive end for a defense that just wasn’t able to generate any pressure on the quarterback. Scott had offers from California, Colorado, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas State, Louisiana Monroe, Minnesota and TCU.

Runner Up: Mitchell Kaufman

SMU has a lot to be excited about with this pickup. During his freshman year, Kaufman should be able to come in and make plays for a defense that just didn’t have enough playmakers last season. Kaufman showed he could play in coverage with his 4 interceptions, as well as provide a few sacks and be a solid tackler at the outside linebacker position. He will not be asked to do everything early on but when he is on the field for this defense I expect his name to pop up more than a couple teams throughout the season.

Sleeper: OLB Austin Corbett

Austin Corbett was another big local pickup for SMU. The three-star prospect is Scouts 92-ranked linebacker and 16th in Texas. Corbett should be able to come in as well and provide a pass rush for this defense which is going to be key early on until they can build up a few recruiting classes. Corbett, a 6-4, 215-pound linebacker, also was a tackling machine for Plano East which should also be key for a defense that struggled stopping the run as well. Between Scott and Corbett, these are two solid pieces to help the defense improve next season.

Doesn't Fit Right: Matt McNew

It’s tough to pick a player that makes you scratch your head on defense, but McNew is the player that comes with the biggest question mark. The Robinson linebacker is the one player that leaves you wondering how he is going to adjust to the speed of the collegiate game and if he will be able to develop enough to provide a significant impact. McNew should be a solid tackler for the Mustangs but whether he will ever be able to make a significant impact remains to be seen. This staff will coach him up so there is still a lot of hope he develops into a solid starter. It is worth noting this is a good sign because there is not really a player that jumps out right away.

Defensive Grade: B

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