With just a few spots left in the 2017 class, the SMU coaching staff is working to fill out the class with a few players on the offensive side of the ball and potentially one defensive player. These are players that are uncommitted, but I did list a couple more committed players to watch at the bottom. I break down who I want the most on my wishlist based on need and also how talented the player is. No. 1 is no shocker, but let's jump into the list.
1. Plano East LB Anthony Hines
SMU is a longshot here, but they're still in it with about eight schools that Hines is considering. Don't expect Hines to take an official visit to SMU this fall, but that's more because he's been to campus many times before. I'm not expecting Hines to pick SMU, but he's the No. 1 player in the country at linebacker, a position I think SMU should still sign another at. Recruit him hard until the end and if he's feeling like he wants to stay close to home and be an absolute superstar from the moment he walks on SMU's campus, he has this option. SMU's defense would get one heck of a boost right away with Hines making a program-changing commitment.
Chance of commitment: 5 percent
2. Pearl River QB D.J. Gillins
I almost put Matthew Huhn/Zach McKinney ahead of Gillins, but the more I think about it, the better it would be for SMU to have a quarterback that will give either Ben Hicks or Charlie Brewer more time to develop. Brewer is the quarterback of the future at this point once he gets to SMU as Hicks hasn't developed as well as anyone hoped. Gillins would bring a big, mobile quarterback into the picture and some major playmaking ability. If he can pick up the offense in spring and summer, SMU would be in good shape heading into the 2017 season.
Chance of commitment: 75 percent
3. John Jay OT Matthew Huhn
At 6-7, but 270 pounds, Huhn still has some work to do to fill out his frame, but he's got plenty of talent to be a solid tackle to pair with Alan Ali. Baylor, Michigan, Cal and Oregon State are some of the schools in the mix here. With Ali already committed, it's not terrible if SMU misses on Huhn, but what a set of bookend tackles the staff would have in Ali and Huhn if they could land them.
Chance of commitment: 25 percent
4. Weatherford OT Zacchaeus McKinney
Do you guys get that I think tackle is important in this class? McKinney has slimmed down from his defensive tackle weight to be more athletic and able to play the position better. After Kansas and Houston offered, SMU was next after watching him this spring followed by Texas State and Oklahoma State. The word is getting out on McKinney and SMU will have to fight to land him. That being said, he's built a strong relationship with Keith Gunn and was impressed with Dustin Fry as well as his visit to SMU. SMU is in a good spot here and I expect McKinney to make a decision by end of summer.
Chance of commitment: 60 percent
5. Cy Ridge RB Trelon Smith
Smith gets the nod over Jones in my books because he's a little more ready to go, but you can't go wrong with either and that's a big reason why the staff has narrowed their search to these two backs so far. A bigger back would be nice for SMU to mix into the backfield, but you still need to sign home run threats when you can. If SMU can't land Smith or Jones, don't be surprised to see them possibly not take a running back in this cycle. SMU has to fight some big boys for Smith, but they're certainly in a good spot. As of now, Smith hasn't really done much in way of checking out some of his bigger offers though.
Chance of commitment: 40 percent
6. Cy Woods RB C.J. Jones
Jones is more of the under appreciated version of Smith, but he's also a little smaller than Smith as of now. Both though have breakaway speed and that explosiveness the staff looks for. Following his visit to SMU this spring, Jones (and his mom) were extremely high on SMU. Jones didn't name SMU his leader and doesn't have a timeline to decide, but with his family wanting him to stay close to home, SMU is in a great spot. The staff has made it known to both backs that they're huge priorities for them with Morris making trips with assistants down to see both of them.
Chance of commitment: 70 percent
7. Bishop Gorman WR Judah Bell
SMU doesn't have to take a receiver in this class, but if they did, I'd watch for Bell to be the one or at least the prototype. SMU is looking for a little more out of him this fall before really making a push on him. Justin Stepp has the luxury of being picky with his receiver in this class so he'll likely be evaluating (along with the other coaches) receivers through much of the season as SMU looks for one. Bell has the size to go up for balls down the field and the 9-man is a spot SMU could look to add depth to. That being said, there are some studs SMU is already in on for 2018 so this isn't a necessary sign.
Chance of commitment: 20 percent
8. Plano East DT Deiontae Watts
Watts is down the list only by way of the class being full. He'd likely be either ahead of Gillins or behind him, but he'd be a massive land. SMU has built a strong relationship with him and he could be an ace in the hole if SMU has a spot open along the defensive line. Could you imagine Hines and Watts teaming up at SMU again? It's tough to think of it actually happening, but you guys can just enjoy the nice thought.
Chance of commitment: 5 percent
Committed players to watch:
1. Plano East QB Miklo Smalls
This is easy. SMU was right there for Smalls earlier in the process before he committed to Rice. Again, another Plano East product here. If SMU doesn't land Gillins, the staff might convince Smalls to flip.
2. Foster CB Isaiah Richardson
Another Rice commit that SMU was first to offer, he'd be another corner with tremendous length for SMU to add. If SMU can make a late push for him, there's potential to flip him.
3. Bremond ATH Roshauud Paul
This one is out of left field, but for anyone who followed Paul's recruitment, it was odd. He visited SMU on a whim earlier this spring after committing to Texas A&M. That's a 2-hour drive so it's not around the corner. He's close with Stepp, who's leading his recruitment. If things were to change at A&M, could SMU land Paul? Potentially. Slim, slim chance, but as I said, this was a strange recruitment. I'm just throwing this one out there.