Billy: Corey Rau
Jeremiah Gaines will be a senior next year and I'm not completely sold that Hunter Herndon will be the answer at tight end, but Corey Rau is the real deal. Rau was underutilized at Cinco Ranch, but will get an opportunity to be a big reason why Chad Morris' offense can operate at a high level. Rau has the talent and decided to stay firm to his commitment with SMU. Morris has to be happy with that because he certainly found his tight end of the future.
From a personnel standpoint, Denton Ryan defensive tackle Ken McLaurin is my pick for most important signee. The 6-foot-2 and a half, 285-pound run stopper will get the chance to come in and immediately make an impact on the field as a true freshman because of his size and natural strength. As long as the North Texas native remembers to keep a low center of gravity, he should have little trouble translating his game to the collegiate level. And with a thin defensive front already, McLaurin should get an opportunity early, and I fully expect him to take advantage of that.
Patrick: Ken McLaurin
The Denton (Texas) Ryan defensive tackle may be the best defensive recruit SMU has signed in a long time. SMU desperately needed impact players on defense, and it found on in McLaurin, who should challenge for a starting spot right away. He’s strong, extremely powerful and agile for his size (6-foot-3, 290 pounds). His motor and consistent disruption can make an entire defense better. He put up impressive stats and regularly dominated opposing offensive lines at 6A-Divison I, the highest level of Texas high school football.
What better way to finish off the staff’s first full recruiting cycle than picking up the number three outside linebacker in Texas. Carmouche will certainly give the 6-0, 220-pound linebacker the chance to try playing running back, if it works out great but if not they just picked up an extremely talented linebacker that will be able to help them right away next season. With a solid foundation in place, this was a very smart move by the coaching staff to capitalize in this class and end on a very high note despite some late attrition.
Demo: Mikial Onu
I feel like Mikial Onu will prove to be the most important signee. He has incredible range and such a nose for the football. SMU desperately needed turnovers last season and he is a turnover machine. His ability to go and find the football is going to be huge for this defense.