Position: strong safety
Size: 6-foot, 208 lbs.
High school: American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.)
Hometown: Boynton Beach, Fla.
A former two-star recruit and the No. 174 safety in the class of 2013, Darrion Millines (formerly Richardson) committed to SMU in December 2012, following a visit to the school. He held offers from Cincinnati, Florida Atlantic, Marshall, Middle Tennessee and Western Michigan.
Millines started all 10 games he played in, each at free safety. He finished third on the team with 53 tackles and also notched five pass breakups, a forced fumble and an interception. In a season full of injuries and ineffectiveness in the secondary, Millines was the only SMU defensive back to start at least 10 games. He proved to be SMU’s most reliable defensive back, but still had some missed assignments and poor reads that led to big plays. Overall, he had the fewest mistakes of any meaningful contributor in SMU’s secondary.
Where he fits
Millines will move over to strong safety, where he played a little in 2014. Last season’s two primary strong safeties were Jordan Wyatt and Shakiel Randolph. Redshirt sophomore Wyatt moved to cornerback and Randolph graduated. SMU will go younger at the field safety spot - redshirt freshmen Rodney Clemons and Kevin Johnson and true freshman Mikial Onu will get a chance to play immediately there.
SMU’s secondary needs to play significantly better if the team’s win-loss record is going to improve much. Millines is a June Jones holdover and not one of the younger defensive backs recruited under Chad Morris, but he’s proven worthy of playing time since Morris took over as head coach.
Millines consistently worked with the first team in spring practices and was solid overall in coverage. He had one interception in the spring game and nearly grabbed another. He showed a willingness to hit after receptions and come up against the run. He still needs to consistently make better reads and decisions in coverage. SMU had too many defensive backs get fooled by fakes or make incorrect reads, leading to 1-on-1 matchups for an offense or wide-open receivers.
Millines is a good bet to open the season as a starter. A start in the opener vs. UNT would be his 23rd straight, dating back to the beginning of 2014. Unless he struggles mightily right away, he’s likely to keep his spot for most of the season.