Matt Visinsky

A look back at the last five SMU signing classes

PonyStampede's Demetrio Teniente looks back at SMU's last five signing classes and how each has fared at SMU.

2012 Class

MVP: Shakiel Randolph

Runner Up: Ajee Montes

Hidden Gem: Prescot Line

Biggest Bust: Neal Burcham

Review: Adrian Klemm left for UCLA and this class paid the price. SMU had All-American Gehrig Dieter come to the Hilltop, but he couldn’t get along with wide receivers coach Jason Phillips, so he left for Bowling Green, where he became a star. He just played for a national title at Alabama. But maybe the biggest bust out of this class is Neal Burcham. Many thought he would be the replacement for Garret Gilbert…yea moving on. The only other major contributors from this class were Shakiel Randolph and Ajee Montes. Randolph established himself as a hard hitting, ball hawking safety in the secondary while Montes demonstrated a consistency covering slot receivers. Montes was forced to retire from football due to concussions. Jarvis Pruitt, largely a reserve in his first three years, had a strong senior season in 2016, highlighted by a three-sack night vs. Houston and a Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week award. After leaving SMU last spring as a grad transfer, Line spent his last year of eligibility as Michigan State's starting fullback.

Current grade: C

2013 Class

MVP: Justin Lawler

Runner Up: Darrion Richardson (Millines)

Hidden Gem: Jeremiah Gaines

Biggest Bust: Traylon Shead

Review: Remember when Traylon Shead was going to carry SMU through life after Zach Line? What can I say, sometimes jokes aren’t funny to everyone. I’ve kept the previous lines in for two years now because they still make me laugh two years later. Shead, the heralded junior college transfer and former Texas Longhorn, didn't last a full season at SMU. Lawler has turned into the beast and Millines had huge season after changing his name. Lawler was second on the team with 65 tackles and led the team with six sacks and seven quarterback hurries. Millines was third on the team with 64 tackles and had five interceptions and four passes broken up. Both were first-team all-AAC selections in 2016. It seems SMU still can’t get the most out of Gaines though—he finished his senior season with just ten catches and 117 yards and three scores.

Current grade: C+

2014 Class

MVP: Courtland Sutton

Runner Up: Jordan Wyatt

Hidden Gem: Kyran Mitchell

Biggest Bust: Caleb Tuiasosopo

Review: Courtland Sutton continues to be the main reason June Jones' last recruiting class gets a passing grade, but he doesn’t have to do it all on his own now.  Both Kyran Mitchell and Jordan Wyatt turned in some impressive sophomore seasons in 2017. Wyatt was a monster, recording 11 passes defended, four forced fumbles, a recovery, four interceptions and two returns for a touchdown. Mitchell meanwhile tallied 67 tackles, six for a loss, and 3.5 sacks. All three have become impact players for SMU and should only continue to improve. Chad Pursley missed last season with a knee issue, but he made impressive strides in 2015 as SMU's left tackle. Evan Brown is a mainstay on the offensive line and a team leader. Daniel Gresham, the class' highest-rated player and a signing day surprise, had to retire due to injury.

Current grade: B

2015 Class

MVP: Xavier Jones

Runner Up: Braeden West

Hidden Gem: James Proche II

Biggest Bust: Alex Honey

Review:  This class has had to do a ton of the heavy lifting for SMU over the past two seasons.  Jones and West alone could carry the class to a passing grade, but now we have to consider James Proche, Xavier Castille, and Ben Hicks. After redshirting his freshman season, Hicks was thrust into the starting lineup after a season ending injury to Matt Davis. And while he had mixed success, he showed some flashes of the player SMU believes he can be. It was pretty clear that SMU wasn’t exactly prepared for Hicks to take over in 2016, but its hand was forced. The young signal caller almost passed for 3,000 yards and had 19 passing touchdowns…but he also was picked off 15 times. Turnovers aside, Hicks showed a lot of promise. Proche also redshirted in 2015, and finished third on the team in receptions in 2016 with 57 for 709 yards with six scores.

Current grade: B

2016 Class

MVP: Demerick Gary

Runner Up: Ke'Mon Freeman

Hidden Gem: Jamie Sackville

Biggest Bust: Too early to tell

Review: Gary might have only made 21 tackles, but he made each one of them count. He tallied 7.5 tackles for loss and was third on the team with four sacks. He also had three quarterback hurries, two pass breakups and 18 of his tackles were solos. Freeman had to replicate, as best he could, the production of Jones who was hampered all season with injury—he did well. Freeman finished second on the team with 651 rushing yards and four touchdowns. SMU was still getting a ton of production from the 2014 and 2015 classes, so it’s tough to accurately judge this group. The addition of punter Jamie Sackville gives this class an extra little boost with tangible production. He was a little inconsistent, but averaged 39.62 yards per punt – 21 of his 71 punts landed inside the 20 and seven of them traveled more than 50 yards (his longest was a 69-yarder).

Grade: C+ 


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