Video Breakdown of QB D.J. Gillins
COMMITTED TO SMU OVER: Ole Miss and Southern Miss
SIDE NOTE: Gillins started his career at Wisconsin, where he played quarterback and a little bit of wide receiver, before transferring out after the coaching change.
AUDIBLE: "I guess when I took my visit, it just felt right. It felt like a program I could see myself in," Gillins said. "The family environment and the certain feel I got with the coaches, it was just a great feeling."
How Gillins fits
Gillins along with Rafe Peavey were brought in to battle for the starting quarterback position. That's the expectation and anything less would be a disappointment for SMU. Ben Hicks returns, but Gillins fits that dual-threat mold for the SMU staff. He'll need to develop more as a passer, but with spring practices, SMU will continue to work with him on that front.
What Gillins Brings
That dual-threat ability that SMU had at quarterback with Matt Davis back there. With Gillins in the fold, SMU has a playmaker with his arm and his legs now at the quarterback position. He's a decent passer and not as raw as Davis was when he arrived on campus, which will certainly help him get into the mix earlier for playing time.
First-Year Expectations for Gillins
First off, Gillins has to win the starting quarterback battle for the Mustangs. That's the key and that's a part of the expectations the staff has for him. He'll need to learn the playbook well enough that SMU can operate out of just about anything rather than having to bring along Gillins, who will have plenty of playmakers around him. With the SMU offensive line continuing to develop, his legs will be a big help for him and the SMU offense to give defenses something to think about on every play.
Career Expectations for Gillins
If Gillins doesn't walk out of SMU as a two-year starter, it'll be a bit of a disappointment. He's got the talent to potentially be an All-AAC player, but can he put it all together? That's the question. If Gillins can pick up the offense and play smart, I expect SMU to start him to open the 2017 season. From there, as he continues to get more time in the offense, this should be a kid that can really make this SMU offense go for two years.