The word sleeper by definition means "something or someone that becomes unexpectedly successful or important after a period of being unnoticed or ignored." SMU football has several sleepers who are going to have a significant impact on the 2009 season, and while some on the list may not have been "unnoticed or ignored" last season, their contribution this season will ensure that they do not go unrecognized. Whether it is an up-and-coming defensive end or a junior college transfer, the Mustangs' sleepers provide the opportunity for SMU to rebound and have a successful bowl-eligible campaign. Here are the top 5 sleepers for 2009:
4.Margus Hunt, FR-RS, DE: It might seem odd to find an Estonian discus thrower in the top five sleepers for SMU football, but sure enough the 6'8", 267, Olympic bronze medalist is one of the most intriguing story lines for the year. Hunt's size and pure athletic ability make him a legitimate threat to opponents' running schemes. While it is unlikely that Hunt will start the first few games, (he's still adjusting to a new sport), he could see significant playing time by October, just in time to cause headaches for opposing offensive linemen.
3.Chase Kennemer, SR, MLB: Kennemer played in all twelve games last season with two starts. It was in his start against UTEP where Kennemer really showed his potential with eleven tackles and a blocked punt. The senior will play an important role in the new 3-4 defense and his presence along with Youri Yenga, Pete Fleps and Patrick Fleming should provide SMU with a dangerous and fast linebacker set. While Kennemer recorded 25 tackles last season, his new starting role should boost those numbers and provide him with a chance for a breakout season.
2.Marquis Frazier, JR-JC, DE: A transfer from Navarro College, Frazier may be the most unrecognized name on the list. However, by the first few weeks of the season, Frazier should be a household name to SMU fans. At 6'4", 280, Frazier has the strength, speed and size to overpower many of the top offensive linemen in Conference USA. A top fifty national defensive end prospect in 2007 and with offers from several Big 12 schools, Frazier's potential clearly hasn't been maximized yet. However, Frazier is healthy and ready to play, a good sign for SMU and a scary combination for opponents.
1. Taylor Thompson, SO, DE: Nobody is drawing more attention right now than Taylor Thompson. Listed at 6'6", 256, Thompson has apparently returned from the summer in better shape than ever, adding over thirty pounds of muscle. While he played in every game last season and notched twenty three tackles, Thompson figures to be the starting DE opposite of Marquis Frazier, giving SMU a lethal force at the position. While stating that Thompson could have CUSA first team honors by the end of the season is a stretch, it's safe to say his potential this season is limitless.