Matthew Emmons

5 Players to Watch: SMU vs. North Texas

Scott breaks down five North Texas players ahead of SMU's season opener against the Mean Green.

1. Alec Morris- Senior QB

After sitting for essentially his entire career at Alabama, Alec Morris will get his shot finally to prove he’s a capable collegiate quarterback.  After earning the starting nod this week, Morris will have to deal without his top returning receiver, Turner Smiley, because of a suspension.  The transfer’s top target is now a receiver who had just 118 yards in ALL of 2015, or three yards more than what Courtland Sutton had vs. TCU. 

2. Jeffrey Wilson- Junior RB

Wilson, the Mean Green’s leading rusher, will be looking to build off of his solid overall play from last season, and the 14 rushes for 57 yards he had against the Mustangs in 2015.  Despite having a  sub-par offensive line blocking for him, Wilson could still take advantage of an SMU defense that surrendered more than 260 yards on the ground per game last year. With the team’s top receiver out, expect Wilson to get ample opportunities to shred the SMU defense.  

3. Kishawn McClain- Junior FS

McClain is an experienced defender who has the ability to make plays in the secondary and all over the field.  The junior racked up 110 tackles last year, the second-most in school history, and isn’t afraid to try and make the tough play on a ball.  If Matt Davis finds himself scrambling, he’ll have to know where McClain is at all times.  The Rosenberg, Texas native can close quickly and make a tackle or use his athleticism to get his hand on the ball (1 INT, 3 pass break-ups). 

4. Roderick Young- Sophomore DL

Young is a player capable of making things difficult for the SMU offensive line.  The 6-1, 287-pound nose tackle had just 18 tackles last year, but he’s simply one of those players that’s going to clog up the middle and quietly do his job.  Just a sophomore, Young recorded his first career sack against the Mustangs last year, and after another off-season of being in a college weight room, Young will only continue to get better.

5. Nate Brooks- Sophomore DB

Just a sophomore, Brooks had the best fall camp out of any UNT player according to the Denton Record-Chronicle’s Brett Vito.  The Whitehouse, Texas native started the final 7 games as a true freshman in 2015, and he is one of four returning secondary players that make up a strong core.  With UNT’s other corner not 100 percent, Brooks will also likely see time against Courtland Sutton this weekend, which could make or break the team’s chances against the Mustangs.

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