Matt Visinsky

SMU Spring Football Storylines: Defense

Hatts breaks down some of the biggest storylines for SMU on the defensive side of the ball during spring practice.

Demerick Gary Seizing Strongside DE Starting Spot 

Demerick Gary had a nice first season on the Hilltop appearing in all 12 games and finishing second on the team in TFL’s with 7.5. The biggest question this spring for him will be whether he can take that next step and seize that strongside defensive spot alongside Justin Lawler. This is certainly no guarantee, as the defensive line group SMU currently has is the deepest and most talented it has been in years. Gary really came on late in the season and it will be interesting to see if he can parlay that into a big spring. 

Who Will Emerge at the Star? 

SMU has a plethora of options at the Star position with RC Cox, Jordan Ward, Myles Duke, Kyran Mitchell, Elijah McQueen and Jordon Williams all battling it out this spring to take hold of that spot. While it’s a plus that SMU has a lot of options, someone out of this group needs to step forward and show they can hold down a key spot on this defense. This is going to be one of the more interesting spring practice battles, and it’s very important for this defense to take that next leap to find a solution at this position. 

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Who Will Emerge in the Secondary?

After losing two senior leaders in Horace Richardson and Darrion Millines, there is a bit of a void to fill in the secondary heading into next season. This spring will be a good opportunity to see which of the young corners and safeties are going to step up to fill the void left by those two. At corner, SMU needs someone like Eric Sutton, William Jeanlys or Christian Davis to step up and be that second corner for SMU along with Jordan Wyatt. There are also some questions for SMU at safety too with the likes of Mikial Onu, Kevin Johnson, and Rodney Clemons needing to show improvement with the departure of Horace Richardson. There are going to be some growing pains with this group, but it will be important to see someone step forward and take control of this group heading into fall camp. 

Jordan Carmouche at Linebacker

Carmouche was the No.3 linebacker in Texas coming out of high school, but after a year at running back SMU is about to find out what they have with the former Manvel product at linebacker. After a year off, it will be interesting for SMU to see if Carmouche can make that switch back to linebacker and solidify a group that has been devoid of playmakers since the staff got to campus. With Noah Spears coming off his redshirt season, SMU could be looking at their two linebacker anchors for the next couple of seasons, but will first need to see how Carmouche transitions to the collegiate level before they can say that for sure. This spring will not be the be all and end all in determining if Carmouche will be that impact player SMU needs, but will begin to give us some initial answers for a group that has to play better next season.   

Matt Visinsky

Can Either Jones or McLaurin make that jump at DT? 

With the departures of Zelt Minor and Deion Green, this provides an opportunity for Patrick Jones and Ken McLaurin to step forward and take on this spot. After solid senior seasons, there was hope one or both would be able to contribute last season, but neither ended up seeing any playing time of note. With the rest of the talent SMU has along the defensive line, they can make up for a lack of depth here, but it would be a big boost to this defense if one of them can make a big jump heading into their second year on campus. 

Matt Visinsky

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