First thing is first. SMU is not expected to take a running back in 2018 as of now. Something would have to happen with one of its current running backs for that to change. The recruiting board for SMU is starting to get pretty clear for 2018 as the staff looks to fill its few spots on the offensive side of the ball for 2017. SMU has five designated spots on offense right now, with possibility of going to seven, as part of the 13-man projection for 2018.
We start with the offensive line because in reality, it's the most important position in this class with some of SMU's key veterans set to graduate including center Evan Brown. SMU has emphasized tackles in its 2017 class, so for 2018 it is looking at both interior lineman and tackles. It's hard to see SMU taking more than two linemen in 2018 given the small class size.
Reese Moore is the most recent tackle offer after SMU stopped to see him during the December contact period. He's picked up five offers in the last month: SMU, Texas Tech, Northwestern, UTSA and Washington State. The next step will be getting him on campus for a junior day over the winter. Darrell Simpson would be a monster pull for SMU and has visited a couple times, but he's a longer shot. SMU, Iowa State and Tulsa have been showing Owen Condon a lot of attention after offering and SMU's win over Houston caught his attention. Though he's visited both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, each has yet to offer. Connor Galvin, a teammate of SMU 2017 OL commit Hayden Howerton, has been a target since May and Colorado, Houston and Tulsa have offered since. With former Houston head coach Tom Herman and offensive line coach Derek Wartime now at Texas, the Longhorns are one to watch in his recruitment. SMU smartly jumped in on Condon and Galvin early and started building relationships.
SMU has been the most aggressive on Thomas Shelmire so far and is his only offer. He visited for the barbecue over the summer and again for a game. He's not in a rush to make a decision, but if SMU wants him, it should be able to get him. Trey Stratford camped at SMU, earned his first offer from SMU and visited again during the season. But he's becoming a commodity with Texas, Ole Miss, Cal and UCLA all offering him since the start of his junior season. Barton Clement is another longer shot, with Auburn, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas A&M and UCLA already offering.
It's smart to get a quarterback in every recruiting class. SMU needs just one after getting D.J. Gillins and Charlie Brewer in 2017. With Gillins, Brewer, Ben Hicks and Rafe Peavey all still eligible in 2018, SMU won't likely be under a ton of pressure to find someone who can play right away, barring significant attrition.
Will Brown is very high on SMU right now after visiting for the Houston game. It's his only FBS offer at the moment. Tanner Mordecai and Jason Bean impressed the staff at a camp in June and each has yet to blow up. Alan Bowman, Brady McBride, Colby Suits and M.J. Rivers are quarterbacks to watch for offers this winter or spring. McBride and Bowman camped at SMU and Rivers visited for a game in September.
SMU gets just one receiver in this class, and don't be surprised if the above group doesn't grow much. With big receiver classes in 2015 and 2016, plus LSU transfer Trey Quinn and Tyler Page in 2017, SMU will still have plenty of depth at receiver the next two season. Still, it wants to get a difference-maker for its one spot.
Kassidy Woods and JaQuayln Crawford are priorities who SMU offered in the spring. Wide receivers coach Justin Stepp just visited Crawford last week, and Chad Morris took the TempoCopter to one of his games in November. He has a nice offer list that includes Texas Tech and Vanderbilt (which has done well in Texas recently), while Woods is still under-the-radar despite an appearance in the initial Scout 300. Woods visited for SMU's recruiting barbecue in July. Maureese Wren and Sean Shaw have been frequent visitors to SMU in the last year and either could also play tight end. SMU did a good job evaluating receivers in 2018, establishing guys as priorities, offering early and building relationships before other schools inevitably jump in on their recruitments.
SMU is, for the most part, always looking to take a three-back to fill their its end spot in just about every class. It's possible Wren or Shaw can fill this spot, but Tyrick James is another name to watch. SMU is his only offer right now, but he enjoyed his visit for the barbecue and also came in for the Memphis game. He was recently invited to the U.S. Army All-American Combine. Christian Trahan visited for SMU's win vs. Houston and also holds offers from Oklahoma State (where he recently visited) Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe and Tulane.
PonyStampede's Billy Embody also contributed to this story.