Position: Tight End
Size: 6-2, 250 pounds
Year: Senior (three-year letterman)
Hometown: Red Oak, Tex.
High School: Red Oak High School.
Gaines turned down offers from Arizona State, TCU, Cal, Iowa, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and others to come to SMU. He was the No. 6 tight end in Texas according to Scout.com, was a three-star recruit, was named first-team All-District 15-4A and the District Co-MVP, and was ranked as the No. 3 receiver in the State by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football.
Gaines played in 12 games making nine starts. He had 16 catches for 249 yards and four touchdowns during that stretch and set a few career highs against East Carolina with four receptions and 96 yards. He was a big target and usually came through whenever Matt Davis had enough time to look his way…unfortunately that wasn’t very often.
Gaines is the likely candidate for the starting tight end (3-back) spot and given his size, athleticism and SMU’s seeming desire to utilize this particular position/athlete this season, Gaines should figure to get significantly more looks than ever before.
If you take into account his athleticism and his size, it is almost frustrating how little he has managed to produce over his first three seasons on the Hilltop. With June Jones, there was obviously no emphasis on the position and Gaines’ stat line fell victim to the neglect.
Last season was a feeling out process for everyone involved and Matt Davis was adjusting to life in the new offense, while also trying to stay alive behind a leaky offensive line.
SMU is redoubling its efforts on offense in hopes to better utilize its personnel in 2016. That means finding ways to get the ball in the hands of athletes who, like Gaines, cause matchup problems for defenses. Gaines, on paper, seems poised to have a much better season than he has ever experienced.