2017 OT Matthew Huhn (Courtesy Photo)

Roundtable: Most Important SMU 2017 Signee

The Pony Stampede staff members pick their most important signee in SMU's 2017 class in this premium discussion.

Billy: D.J. Gillins

SMU needed a quarterback of the future in this class and I really feel they got that in JUCO transfer DJ Gillins. He was a priority for SMU from the get go and the staff got it done. Offensive coordinator Joe Craddock took the lead here and made it happen for the Mustangs to land Gillins, who will compete directly with Ben Hicks and Rafe Peavey for the starting quarterback position. Gillins has that dual-threat aspect that SMU really does value in the quarterback position and can make protection issues go away. Gillins is absolutely crucial to the depth and talent level at the position. Now, he has to perform well.

Patrick: Alan Ali

I think SMU should be thrilled with its offensive line haul, but I’m highlighting Ali just because he gave SMU early momentum on the trail and filled a huge area of need early in the cycle. I think he’s as good as any other player in the class as well. Ali committed to SMU in March, the earliest of any of the signees to commit. A junior day visit put SMU out in front, and it stayed there even after he visited Nebraska. He committed to SMU just a few days after going to Nebraska and Iowa State, both of which had offered him (along with a handful of other Power Five teams). Ali is a huge addition for SMU on the field, but getting a player of his caliber committed early and straight up beating Nebraska for him was even more impressive. Ali became one of the class’ leaders after he stayed solid when Colorado offered and Ole Miss and Texas came to his school. He was always talking up SMU on Twitter and making an effort to build relationships with the other commits. Getting that kind of player and face of the class early was really important for SMU, which likes to lock down most of its commitments before their senior seasons.

Hatts: Matthew Huhn

It was a tough Christmas on the offensive side of the ball for SMU, losing Charlie and Cade Brewer to Baylor and Texas, respectively. Given these losses, it was important for SMU to finish out the class strong and ensure they were taking the next step. Getting Matthew Huhn was instrumental here in getting another coveted playmaker on campus for SMU. He helped round SMU’s offensive line class and with Hayden Howerton and Alan Ali. With those three, the Mustangs are in a very good spot on the offensive line the next couple of years, especially with how much they want to run the ball. 

Demo: Kayce Medlock

You can never have enough playmakers with the ball in space, and I can’t get over how fast Kayce Medlock is with the ball in his hands.  The way he hits a seam and can get past safeties untouched is unreal. And at 5-feet-11 and 190 pounds, he has a decent size and is a lot more physical than you’d expect from a back with so much speed. He breaks a lot of arm tackles and bounces of a ton of hits. It’s near impossible to run him down and even harder to get him down. Running back is one of SMU's deeper positions, but SMU needed a fast playmaker at a skill position in this class, even when the focus was on the offensive and defensive lines.


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