2017 SMU Football Big Board: Defensive Backs

Billy breaks down SMU's 2017 secondary targets in his Big Board series.

SMU added their first defensive back of the 2017 class in Ridge Point cornerback Ar'Mani Johnson last night and there's still plenty of talent to fill SMU's secondary class. This is one part of the class that could fill up quickly and the quality is also really good here, which is obviously a big plus. Length is also a theme it seems with most of the offers going out to 6-foot defensive backs, an improvement from the 2016 class, which has plenty of talent, but not as much true length. Without further ado, here's the latest on the 2017 secondary Big Board.

Top Priority Cornerbacks:

1. Ridge Point CB Ar'mani Johnson***


SMU's first commit in the secondary for 2017 is the epitome of what the staff is looking for in cornerbacks this cycle — length. Johnson is 6-foot, 160 pounds and plays the boundary corner, slot corner and a little safety for Ridge Point. A big reason why Johnson is moved around so much is his ball skills. He has a solid ability to get up and win jump balls and with his long arms and ability to jump is great for that position. SMU constantly got beat on boundary receiver 1-on-1s last year and while they've added some competition at the position, I'd love more length there which is why I like the pickup of Johnson.

2. FM Marcus CB Matt Hankins


Hankins is the cornerback I'm most excited about in SMU's list of offered cornerbacks. I think he's got a frame to fill out and really develop. He's picked up some major offers since SMU was one of the early offers for him, but the staff has kept up and he's visited a few times. This is the type of player that Morris & Co. has talked about landing once they get SMU going. He'll still be a tough land, but this is a kid that SMU would love to have at that boundary corner spot. 

3. Foster CB Isaiah Richardson


This is a player that I'm surprised hasn't gotten more interest as he's filled out to 6-1, 180-pounds at Richmond (Tex.) Foster. Another corner that has great length to play that boundary position, which is an obvious emphasis for the staff. Any of these four cornerbacks would be great lands for the class, but Richardson is the one who is most under the radar with Rice being his only other offer. If SMU can get him locked down before the season, that'd really be a huge step because he'll be one to watch land more offers.

4. Nacogdoches CB Josh Thompson


Thompson is one that has been enamored with his new Minnesota offer and plans to take a visit, but plans to return this summer for a visit to SMU as well. Thompson is high on SMU and as he picks up more P5 attention, might be one to watch as one that just takes the bigger offer, which is fine and happens. Same story here with the cornerbacks above with the length and ability to defend the boundary. 

5. Cedar Park CB Javelin Guidry


Guidry is an absolute blazer and won the fastest man at the Dallas Opening. At 5-10, he's more of a field cornerback in my mind, but would have the speed to go 1-on-1 without a doubt. He'd be a monster land for the class as he continues to blow up following his Opening performance. Another one of my top targets in the class, Guidry would be a playmaker in the return game as well with his speed.

Other Cornerback Targets:

1. John Tyler CB Javontavius Mosley


SMU has continued to make a bit of a push into East Texas and did so by offering Mosley early in the game. Mosley doesn't have any P5 offers right now, but with another good year could see his stock rise higher. As of now, SMU and Houston are locked into a battle here in my mind. Mosley has visited SMU a few times now, but is a tough kid to read on true interest. He's got that length that SMU wants, but I think there's a few more corners on the board higher than him right now.

2. Woodrow Wilson CB Darrion Green


Green could be one of the next corners to commit to SMU, but the staff has a little bit more evaluation to do on him after recently offering. Green has some good ball skills and has solid speed. In camps, he hasn't performed great in 1-on-1s so he'll need to improve in man-to-man, which is a must at the next level. SMU could certainly slow play Green and land him late in the summer if they wanted to.

3. Pearland CB Justin Guy-Robinson


Another recent offer for SMU out of Pearland is a kid who has long arms on his 5-10 frame and would be a nice field corner too. At The Opening, Guy-Robinson turned some heads with his ability to cover and close quickly. Being one of the schools in early on him will help the staff and if they get him on campus, he could be one to watch if he wanted to commit early.

Top Priority Safeties:

1. Muskogee (Okla.) DB Kamren Curl


Safeties coach Jess Loepp has been up to see Curl already this spring and is one of the major targets for the staff out of Oklahoma. Curl has P5 offers from Illinois and Kansas, but also has one from Cincinnati. He's listed at wide receiver by Scout, but SMU sees Curl at safety, where his 6-2 frame could add weight and play to the boundary side, where SMU asks their safeties to come up and make tackles like linebackers do in the run game. 

2. Terrell S Elijah McQueen


McQueen is a kid that has called SMU his No. 1 school recently. SMU sees him anywhere from the Star to a field safety. His versatility is a plus, but until he puts on a little more weight, I'd peg him at safety. McQueen has offers from Tulane, Nevada and UTSA outside of SMU, but the staff is extremely high on McQueen and he's another that you could see make a decision soon after the dust settles on spring evaluations. A big plus for SMU is that Terrell doesn't have spring football, which could limit his exposure and potentially help SMU land a steal.

3. North Shore S Jaylen Thomas


Thomas fits that field safety mold for SMU well with his ability to cover ground well and play in man-to-man situations. He's got solid closing speed and SMU was the first to offer and is building a good relationship with Loepp and McDaniel recruiting him. SMU needs to get him on campus, but he's a big target for the SMU staff even though he hasn't picked up the attention yet.

4. Mesquite Poteet S Daiquain Jackson


It was only a matter of time before SMU offered the Poteet product, Jackson, after an impressive performance at The Opening. Jackson clocked a 4.6 laser and one of the better shuttle times. Jackson has visited SMU plenty of times and I'd imagine will be a candidate to commit to SMU this summer. He's high on SMU and Jackson will fit well into the system with more weight on his body to add to his impressive physical attributes.

Other Priority Safeties:

1. Denton Guyer DB Thabo Mwaniki


A pretty new offer for SMU, but Mwaniki is one to watch here as he's already admitted SMU is in a good spot for him after offering. He's got other offers, but SMU is one that he'll give some major attention to. Another candidate to play the field safety position for SMU and one that comes from a solid program. SMU would do good to get Mwaniki on board early.

2. Pearland DB Debione Renfro


Renfro is a versatile prospect and would be a massive safety for SMU to stick on the backend. He'd undoubtedly be a boundary safety and be able to contribute that way with more weight on his frame. It's a solid program and one that SMU has paid good attention to over the last couple years. Renfro is also teammates with Guy-Robinson and that's something that could help land him if SMU could get either to jump on board much like with teammates Michael Clark and Eric Sutton in 2016.

3. College Station CB Timarcus Davis


One of the more recognized players SMU has recently offered is Davis, who holds offers from some major programs in the P5 and could play safety or corner. He's got great ability to turn with receivers and also be able to go 1-on-1 with them. If SMU landed Davis, he'd be one of the biggest lands under Morris.


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