It appears that June Jones is focused on raising the talent level at SMU.
Several incoming freshmen are expected to contribute this fall and the veteran coach and his staff has already garnered 12 commitments for next year's class.
If fans don't believe the talent is getting better at SMU, all they have to do is watch true freshman Taylor Thompson in action.
According to Thompson, he chose the Mustangs over 30 other offers, and it would appear that the talented tight end and defensive end at Prosper Texas may end up being one of the best athletes on the field come fall camp.
"I wanted to stay close to home and I fell in love with the campus at SMU," Thompson told PonyStampede.com in a recent interview. "I had over 30 offers, after Coach Jones was hired and I got a chance to meet him I knew this is where I belonged."
Thompson, a 6-foot-6 and a half inch, 256-pound athlete, impressed fellow teammates, strength coaches and this writer during summer workouts when he ran a 4. 46 forty yard dash with the wind and then followed it up with a 4.5 forty against the wind.
"Taylor is one of those rare athletes with combination of size and speed," Vic Viloria head strength coach at SMU said. "Coming in as a true freshman already developed like this is very uncommon, even in the SEC we didn't get athletes like this coming in ready to compete right away like he is."
Thompson admits that when he started the SMU strength program back in April, he didn't expect to see results so fast. He weighed in at 237-pounds when he started; he has gained 19 pounds of muscle in about three months. He trained with a personal trainer during the spring, it apparently worked.
"We just focused on speed work," Thompson said. "I wanted to be faster, I was very happy with the 4.46 during the recent workout. My hard work is paying off."
Thompson has increased his bench press from 330 to 360 and his squat from 450 to close to 550.
"I have been preparing myself for a long time for this transition to D1 football," Thompson said. "Workouts haven't been that bad, I was ready for them."
Another thing that Thompson hopes to be ready for is an opportunity to make an immediate impact on this team in the fall.
"I'm hoping I can make a positive contribution both on the field and the weight room for my team this fall," Thompson said. "Everyone has been so positive here. Everyone knows we can't change the past; we can only build on the future. We all feel that the future is bright here at SMU."
Thompson is also working on the transition to being a college student.
"A lot more work than high school, it's nothing I can't handle," Thompson said. "I have a great roommate in Kevin Grenier; it has made it a lot easier to be a way from home for both of us."