Listed below are 5 burning questions for EMS soccer offseason:
How good will the SMU backfield be?
Now, how about this for a follow-up query: is that this probably the most gifted backfield SMU has had for the reason that days of the Pony Categorical? It very properly is perhaps.
The Mustangs are anticipated to return all three of their main rushers subsequent season. That features main rusher Tyler Lavine, a thick, bodily runner who not solely added a singular toughness to SMU’s run sport this season but additionally 642 yards. That additionally consists of Alabama switch Camar Wheaton, a former five-star operating again recruit who supplied loads of flashes of high-end expertise this season.
Velton Gardner, the crew’s second-leading rusher, and redshirt freshman Brandon Epton are additionally anticipated again.
After which there are the additions SMU made within the switch portal. SMU head coach Rhett Lashlee reunited with former Miami (FL) operating again Jaylan “Rooster” Knighton, who had 841 complete yards and 11 touchdowns the final time Lashlee coached him. Lashlee and SMU additionally obtained a dedication from former Texas A&M operating again LJ Johnson, who was a top-five operating again prospect within the Class of 2021, in keeping with 247Sports.
There is a plethora of expertise within the SMU backfield, begging one other query: Similar Pony, New Categorical, proper?
Who replaces Rashee Rice?
Final offseason, the large story was how a lot greater Rashee Rice appeared. He appeared primed and able to be the following nice SMU receiver, and he actually lived as much as it. Rice, taking part in the vast majority of the season with a damaged toe, completed with 96 receptions for 1,355 yards and 14 touchdowns. He led the nation in receiving on the conclusion of the common season.
Rice is heading to the NFL, leaving a gaping gap at considered one of SMU’s exterior receiver positions.
So, who can exchange Rice’s manufacturing? The percentages-on favourite is Jordan Kerley, who completed with 588 receiving yards at a mean of 15.9 yards per catch final season, although has missed seven mixed video games the final two seasons.
Talking of missed video games: Jake Bailey missed the whole season apart from video games towards TCU and Maryland. He impressed in these video games, although, as he did by the whole offseason. That was very true towards TCU when he completed with eight catches for 163 yards and a landing.
One other in-house candidate to take an enormous leap ahead is Dylan Goffney, who has the same construct and taking part in fashion to Rice.
SMU additionally added former Miami large receiver Key-Shawn Smith within the switch portal. He has the prospect to make an instantaneous influence.
An offseason with no quarterback competitors?
It has been a pair years since a question-free SMU quarterback scenario heading into the offseason, however that seems to be the case this offseason.
After two years of ready and competing, it is time for the Preston Stone period at SMU. Mustangs followers have been excited for it since Stone, a former All-American at Parish Episcopal, grew to become the highest-rated recruit SMU had signed for the reason that Dying Penalty.
There have been glimpses of Stone’s capability, together with in aid of former starter Tanner Mordecai, who left the Cincinnati sport because of a concussion, and in his solely school begin to this point towards Tulsa. In opposition to Tulsa, Stone threw his first move for a 75-yard landing to Rice. He completed 11 of 17 for 219 yards earlier than he broke his collarbone on a scramble within the second quarter, ending his season.
SMU, to this point, hasn’t added a quarterback within the switch portal, which means the Mustangs are snug with Stone, in addition to Kevin Jennings, who accomplished 17 of twenty-two passes for 205 yards and a landing in a season the place he maintained his redshirt standing. SMU additionally signed McKinney quarterback Keldric Luster.
This low season, we’ll start to see what the Stone period will appear to be.
An improved secondary?
That is actually the hope for SMU and defensive coordinator Scott Symons. He and the Mustangs did loads of work this offseason in an try to make sure that.
SMU has six commitments/signings within the switch portal on the defensive again place, together with veteran starters like former Stanford security Jonathan McGill and West Virginia nook Charles Woods. SMU additionally has one highschool signed in security Abdul Muhammad and one dedication in Duncanville nook Lamodrick Spencer.
SMU additionally returns a number of starters, together with security Ahmaad Moses and nook Jahari Rogers.
The Mustangs additionally misplaced security coach and particular groups coordinator Craig Naivar, who left to grow to be the defensive coordinator at Coastal Carolina. How SMU fills that can be intriguing.
Will SMU be improved in 2023? Presumably, however Symons did guarantee there can be loads of competitors for taking part in time within the secondary.
Will there be any fashion adjustments in Lashlee’s second season?
It is a bit ambiguous, and possibly a bit of too in-the-weeds of a query, however I am curious to see if Lashlee adjustments something with how this system is run on both a micro or macro stage. Final season was his first as a head coach anyplace. The Mustangs went 7-6, which suggests there have been some good moments that went together with the unhealthy.
The offseason is an opportunity to be retrospective. Will that lead to any adjustments for Lashlee’s program? Or will this offseason be solely about constructing on the muse of 12 months 1 and getting higher on the already-existing method of doing issues?
The reply may not be very consequential, in any case, however it’s attention-grabbing – not less than for this author.
On Twitter: @JoeJHoyt
Discover extra SMU protection from The Dallas Morning Information right here.