SMU Signing Day Profile: Elijah McQueen

PonyStampede's breakdown of Terrell safety and SMU signee Elijah McQueen

Video Breakdown S Elijah McQueen

COMMITTED TO SMU OVER: McQueen picked SMU on May 14, 2016 over offers from Nevada, Tulane and UTSA.

SIDE NOTE: McQueen is one of two early enrollees in the class, and the lone high school early enrollee.

AUDIBLE: “I feel like they really wanted me. They weren’t just talking. You could actually tell they wanted me to be a part of the Stang Gang.”

How McQueen fits

McQueen is a bit of a tweener at 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds and played running back, linebacker and safety for Terrell (Texas) High School. He’s moving to safety full-time at SMU.

What McQueen brings

McQueen’s football instincts are one of the better parts of his game, and despite not being the biggest, he’s a physical and willing tackler who gets low and wraps up well. He’s used to playing in space at multiple levels. He occasionally takes risks that hurt him by relying too much on instinct. McQueen has solid speed, but not top-level speed. He can make quick reads on passes in front of him, but his overall coverage ability can improve. His run defense is best right now because of the physicality.

What to expect freshman year

Though McQueen is already on campus, he would benefit from a redshirt year to hone his instincts as a safety and add some more strength. With Rodney Clemons, Mikial Onu, Kevin Johnson, Collin Rock and Michael Clark, SMU has some young safeties and some depth at the position. If McQueen redshirted, he would get some separation between himself and the guys in the two classes above him. With him as the lone safety in the class and with a 2018 class that projects to have around 15 spaces, redshirting to create separation might be the best move.

Career expectations for McQueen

If the other young safeties develop like SMU expects them to, the spot should be a strength for SMU for a few seasons. Still, McQueen has the overall instincts and physicality vs. the run to be a starter, even if it doesn’t happen right away. With some improvement against the pass, plus some added size and strength, he can be an every-down safety. 

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