Size: 6-0, 234 pounds
Year: RS junior (two-year letterman)
High school: Oxford (Oxford, Mich.)
Hometown: Oxford, Mich.
Prescott Line’s only FBS offer was from SMU, but he had interest from several bigger schools when he committed, including Missouri and Michigan State. A three-star prospect, Line was a standout at linebacker and running back. As a senior, he was named a PARADE All-American and Michigan’s Mr. Football in 2011, when he collected 128 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and four sacks while rushing for 2,454 yards and 37 total touchdowns.
Line started six of SMU’s 12 games, rushing for 278 yards on 56 carries with four touchdowns. Line’s carries were inconsistently distributed as SMU struggled all year to find a running game behind a porous offensive line. He only had five games where he topped five carries, but ended the season with a 20-carry, 90-yard, two-score performance in a win over UConn. Most of Line’s carries came on first down or in short-yardage and goal-line situations. He struggled to do much on first down, averaging just 3.1 yards per carry, lower than his 3.3 season average. But it’s unfair to attribute 100 percent of the struggles to him when he was running in a predictable scheme behind poor blocking.
Line’s end-of-season success carried over into SMU’s spring game. He ran for 60 yards on nine carries and a touchdown. He ripped off a 29-yard run, longer than any run in his first two seasons at SMU. The coaches were quick to praise line after the game. Offensive Coordinator Joe Craddock said Line “probably is the best football player on this team” and they wanted to give him the ball.
Line’s solid spring and the coaches’ praise for him should help him see more consistent carries each game. Right now SMU’s backfield is pretty crowded, with power runners Line and Daniel Gresham and shiftier, speedier backs Darius Durall, Braeden West and Xavier Jones. Line is a good pass protector and has the most experience of all the running backs. Anything can happen in training camp with a crowded backfield, but Line feels like the odds-on bet to open camp, and maybe the season, as the starter. He won’t be an every-down back, but Line has a solid chance to lead the group in snaps and carries. Expecting 10-12 carries per game is reasonable if Line keeps up the solid play he showed in the spring.