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2017 SMU Football Big Board: Quarterback

PonyStampede breaks down SMU’s options for its final quarterback spot in the 2017 class.

When Lake Travis QB Charlie Brewer committed to SMU on May 26, SMU filled its quarterback spots. But five days later, Clear Springs quarterback Will McBride decommitted from SMU, creating an open spot again.

While Brewer is a great addition for SMU, the coaches are still looking at another passer in this class. Both junior college and high school quarterbacks are on the board. Getting a junior college player would allow for some separation between the two quarterbacks in the class and would bring some more immediate help, but building through Texas high schools has been Chad Morris’ goal. Here is a look at the options for SMU at quarterback as it enters the thick of summer.

Important names to know

Charlie Brewer – Lake Travis (Texas) High School ***Committed***

SMU offered Brewer in the spring of 2015, but he became a bit of a forgotten name as SMU offered more quarterbacks. He and his family have a strong relationship with Chad Morris, who coached his older brother, Michael, in high school. When he wanted to commit, SMU didn’t want to tell him to wait and took it right away. While not a true dual-threat quarterback, Brewer is as polished a passer as anyone SMU is recruiting, with good accuracy and arm strength. He is a quick decision-maker and is still a threat to run. He fits well in SMU’s offense despite lacking the speed or running instincts some of SMU’s other quarterback offers have.

D.J. Gillins – Pearl River C.C. (Miss.)

The Florida native and former Wisconsin quarterback is an ideal land for SMU. A dual-threat quarterback recruited for Gary Anderson’s spread offense, Gillins left Wisconsin at the end of the 2015 season after switching to receiver in Paul Chryst’s under-center, pro-style scheme. He can bail from the pocket a bit early sometimes and drop his eyes when under pressure, but the playmaking ability with his arm and legs is there and it’s impressive. A source told PonyStampede Gillins is scheduled to visit SMU on July 22. He’s hearing from Ole Miss, Minnesota and Memphis, but right now only holds offers from SMU, Troy and New Mexico. He could sign and enroll in December and play in spring practice, where he’d provide immediate experience and depth and easy pressure on Brewer and Ke’Mon Freeman. He has two years of eligibility left.

Jonathan Banks – Independence C.C. (Kan.)

A newer name on the board, Banks has had a long journey since graduating from Houston's Chester Nimitz HS in 2014. When no FBS teams showed interest in him as a passer, he started his college career at Contra Costa College (Calif.), where he totaled 28 touchdowns as a freshman. Instead of returning for another year, Banks signed with Kansas State in June 2015. He redshirted 2015 for the Wildcats and transferred after the season. He has two years left.

Banks doesn’t have an offer yet and SMU would like to get him on campus before offering. A source said Banks likes SMU, but SMU won’t seriously ramp up its pursuit of him without getting him to visit. He’s a dual-threat type, but is more raw and received way less attention than Gillins coming out of high school.

Miklo Smalls – Plano East (Texas) Senior High School

It’s no secret the local product was high on SMU before committing to Rice on Monday. Multiple sources told PonyStampede that SMU was his leader. But SMU had higher priorities when he tried to commit in April. Smalls liked the idea of staying close to home and playing for his hometown, but he had built a relationship with the Rice staff that let him know he was a priority. While his throwing motion is a tad long, he’s a dual-threat option, a smart passer and can play safety to boot. Even with the commitment, SMU isn’t going to back off Smalls completely. The coaches may not give him a chance to commit before exhausting other options, but they will continue to stay in touch. If SMU gave him the chance to commit, he would at least think about it. Right now, though, it’s too early to tell how likely he would be to flip. SMU will focus on some other options first and might never have to try to flip him.

Other names to know

Aldon Clark – New Orleans (La.) Edna Karr High School

Part of SMU’s increased efforts in Louisiana, Clark has already been on campus for a junior day and spoke highly of SMU quarterback coach Joe Craddock and the school’s impending facility upgrades. The 6-foot-3 Clark operates out of a shotgun offense and reportedly ran a 40-yard dash in the low 4.6s, but doesn’t take off and run as often. He’s comfortable as a pocket passer, but his delivery is a little long and he doesn’t have standout arm strength. Clark has FBS offers from SMU, Louisiana-Lafayette, Memphis and Troy. He’s planning to come back to SMU for a camp and visit again in July, although he has remained fairly quiet on where SMU or any other school actually sits on his list.

Kamron Fields – Garland (Texas) Lakeview Centennial

Fields’ ranking doesn’t jump out, but he has an impressive offer list that includes Indiana, Minnesota, San Diego State and Utah, in addition to SMU. Fields has as much upside as any high school quarterback SMU is pursuing. He’s more of a passer first, but he has good speed and plays in a spread offense that incorporates zone-reads and run/pass options, much like SMU. He displays good arm strength and isn’t afraid to take risks - good and bad. Also an outfielder for Lakeview Centennial's baseball team, Fields stole more than 30 bases this season, leading the area.

Fields visited for SMU’s Feb. 20 junior day, but is a tough read when it comes to his favorites. Iowa impressed Fields and he visited for the Hawkeyes’ spring game with his mom, but the Hawkeyes' interest has cooled recently. He’s a longer shot for SMU right now, but still an option the coaches are exploring.

On the backburner

Will McBride – League City (Texas) Clear Springs High School

McBride picked up a handful of offers in the weeks after committing to SMU on April 16 - Boise State, Purdue, New Mexico and Utah among them. He’s visiting Utah toward the end of June. SMU took a commitment from him after it offered a couple weeks prior. A reunion between the two is unlikely.

Jason Shelley – Frisco (Texas) Lone Star High School

Another one of the early 2017 quarterback offers, SMU stayed in consistent contact with Shelley for a while as he added offers from Utah and Virginia. He’s visited multiple times since the end of the season, but a source said SMU is not heavily in pursuit of Shelley at this time.

Justice McCoy – New Orleans (La.) St. Augustine High School

McCoy visited SMU for its more selective February junior day and was offered there. He also holds offers from Arkansas State, Colorado State, Memphis and West Virginia. SMU’s pursuit of him has slowed.

Kishawn Kelley – Corsicana (Texas) High School

SMU and Kelley had mutual interest in the summer and fall of 2015, but had inconsistent contact as the season progressed. After SMU told him to wait on a commitment in December 2015, the interest and contact fell off. Kelley committed to Texas State on June 12.


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