Size: 6-5, 273 pounds
Year: RS senior (three-year letterman)
High school: The Highlands School (Irving, Texas)
Hometown: Plano, Texas
Scout did not rank Andrew McCleneghen out of high school (he doesn’t have a player profile). A defensive end and tight end in high school, McCleneghen was an impressive high school athlete. He lettered in football, soccer, baseball, tennis and golf. He was also a Class 3A all-state selection in basketball.
McCleneghen did not start any games for SMU, but played in all 12 contests, recording 25 tackles (nine solo). He tallied a season-high five tackles against East Carolina and blocked a field goal in the season opener against Baylor. McCleneghen started the season on the second-team defense but became a decent rotational player. He’s a sound tackler with some strength and length but not a big playmaker.
McCleneghen played all over the defensive line during spring practice and the early going in fall camp. He’s taken some reps with the first- and second-team. Just as with the offensive line, SMU could elect to start the best group of guys on defensive line, even if that means putting someone like Zach Wood inside at tackle (where he saw some snaps in the spring game and has bulked up to 290 pounds). McCleneghen can play defensive end or tackle in the four-man front, so that will help him if his play is worthy of a starting spot. Starter or not, he’s probably not an every-down player.
His best and most likely position is defensive end, where he will compete with Justin Lawler, Jarvis Pruitt and Elie Nabushosi for snaps. Robert Seals and the Scott twins are defensive ends, but more of pass-rushing specialists and not as much of a direct threat to McCleneghen’s snaps as the first three are. The pass-rushing guys will get their snaps regardless. If he does get a look at defensive tackle, he’d be competing with Zelt Minor, Spencer Hollie and Deon Green for snaps next to (and behind) Mason Gentry. Right now it’s hard to tell on defensive line starters, but give McCleneghen a 50 percent chance to start against Baylor.