Defensive MVP: Ken McLaurin
McLaurin had a great senior year and look for that to continue once he steps on the Hilltop this coming fall. At 6-2, 285-pounds, McLaurin is so powerful and has enough athleticism that will allow him to make an impact early on for SMU. Whether it is rushing the passer, or stopping the run, SMU fans are going to hear his name a lot come September.
Runner Up: Mikial Onu
In terms of impact early on, Onu is going to be able to step right into a secondary that struggled all year long and make some plays. As with all freshman, he’s going to give up some plays, but he’s also going to force a ton of turnovers which is something this SMU defense has needed for a couple of years. It’s not going to be easy for Onu having to play Baylor and TCU early on, but once conference play rolls around he will be a difference maker.
Sleeper: Myles Duke
Watch out for Myles Duke over at the STAR position. Duke played quarterback much of his time in high school, but started seeing some time on defense during his senior season to prepare for his time at SMU. In terms of reading plays, especially the quarterback, Duke’s time as a quarterback in high school is going to pay big dividends down the road.
Project Player: Blake Carlisle
The talent is certainly there for Blake Carlisle, however it might take a little bit of time for him to be physically ready to go at SMU. Right now, Carlisle is 6-3, 185-pounds but will need to up his frame significantly when he is going up against stronger college offensive lineman. However, Carlisle’s speed can certainly help him on special teams, he is likely a player that will really come on later on in his years at SMU.