MVP: Stephon Sanders
Runner Up: James Richardson
Hidden Gem: Robert Seals/Taylor Lasecki/Darius Joseph (pictured)
Biggest Bust: K.C. Nlemchi
Review: If you’ve only been around SMU for the past couple years this is the class you are probably most familiar with. Adrian Klemm came on board to help the Mustangs draft better. It kind of worked considering the long lasting impact a lot of these guys had. Conner Preston and Christian Holloway did very little…ok, almost nothing with the team. And K.C. Nlemchi never realized his full potential. Darius Joseph may have had a rough senior season, but he was pretty awesome when he was effective…however brief it might have been. Stephon Sanders and Taylor Lasecki embodied the word reliable and were steady sources of leadership. James Richardson has had to battle injuries over and over again, but has been great when healthy. Robert Seals and Ja'Gared Davis round out the success of this class which bolstered SMU’s defense.
Current grade: C+
MVP: Shakiel Randolph
Runner Up: Ajee Montes
Hidden Gem: Prescot Line
Biggest Bust: Neal Burcham
Review: Adrian Klemm left for UCLA and this class paid the price. SMU had All-American Gehrig Dieter come to the Hilltop, but he couldn’t get along with wide receivers coach Jason Phillips, so he left for Bowling Green. But maybe the biggest bust out of this class is Neal Burcham. Many thought he would be the replacement for Garret Gilbert…yea moving on. The only other major contributors from this class were Shakiel Randolph and Ajee Montes. Randolph established himself as a hard hitting, ball hawking safety in the secondary while Montes demonstrated a consistency covering slot receivers. Montes was forced to retire from football due to concussions.
Current grade: C
Review: Remember when Traylon Shead was going to carry us through life after Zach Line? What can I say, sometimes jokes aren’t funny to everyone. I kept the previous line in because it still made me laugh a year later. So sometimes, things change and players actually develop into some nice pieces. Lawler and Richardson were both solid, and Jeremiah Gaines was finally being utilized. So that’s three wins right there. Deion Sanders Jr. is ranked ridiculously high in SMU history for kick return yards…but mostly because he’s had to return so man kicks…which tells you how good SMU has been since he got here.
Current grade: C
Review: I want to quote myself from last year: “With the exception of Daniel Gresham, not a single player in this class had star potential.” Why didn’t anyone tell me how insane I was?!?! So still, this class is mostly a bunch of nothing, but Courtland freaking Sutton alone brings the grade up. Last year I gave this class a D+. Sutton gives them a passing grade, but throw in the reliability of Jackson Koonce and the pleasant surprise of Kyran Mitchell and Jordan Wyatt and you got yourself a decent class. Koonce though transferred, but that freshman season of his was solid. Tuiasosopo still make me sad though and Will Jeanlys has yet to do anything remarkable. So if the previous class got a C+, than certainly the class with Sutton is a little bit better.
Current grade: B-
Review: This class is pretty strong. I mean, Jones and West alone are incredibly strong. Throw in Xavier Castille and Kevin Thomas and you’re looking pretty good. The problem is that we didn’t see enough from any of the defensive player. So we need to wait a bit to see what they are going to bring to the program. However, it appears that the incoming class is much stronger defensively so some of these guys might get lost with the influx of new defensive talent. Again, a lot of guys didn’t get a chance to really show what they could do, so it feels almost unfair to pick a bust for this class so soon. I’ve chosen Alex Honey, simply because I think a lot of us expected him to have more of an immediate impact. So he’s a bust for the sake of picking a bust, but the jury is still out on him and a lot of these kids.
Current grade: B (for promise)