Under Center: Coming
out of Lake Travis as the Gatorade National Player of the Year, Garrett Gilbert
probably imagined he’d be in an NFL training camp at this point. He certainly
never thought he’d be entering his senior season as an SMU Mustang. But
Gilbert’s career has taken a meandering path since signing with the University
of Texas in 2009. Following two humbling seasons in Austin, the son of former
journeyman NFL quarterback Gale Gilbert now has one final season to make his
case for a similar future. He’ll have to do better than a year ago when he
completed only 53 percent of his passes and had an equal number of touchdowns
and interceptions while passing for 226 yards per contest. Gilbert is a solid
runner having carried for 346 yards a year ago.
In the Backfield: The
Mustangs will trot out another offensive starter with a Longhorn pedigree in
six-foot-two 230-pound Traylon Shead,
a former Parade All American who signed with Texas, transferred to Navarro
Junior College and then found his way to SMU. He rushed for 1,194 yards and 17
touchdowns at Navarro and has already earned praise from SMU boss June Jones.
If for some reason Shead can’t toe the line, freshman
Prescott Line should be able to. As brother of former Mustang All Conference
back and current Minnesota Viking Zach Line, Prescott certainly has the
bloodlines. He’s a tough bruiser who ranked among the top recruits in the state
of Michigan last season.
In the Trenches: Ben Gottschalk, a six-foot-five 295-pound senior returns to his starting post at
left tackle. He’ll be backed by freshman Chauncey Briggs. Starting alongside
Gottschalk at left guard will be six-foot-four 285-pound sophomore Sam Rice who
appeared in 12 games last season. Anchoring the line at center will be
sophomore Taylor Lasecki. The six-foot-three
295-pounder started all 12 games last season and looks to be a future star, if
he’s not one already. Right guard will be hulking (6’ 5” 310) sophomore Kris Weeks who started one game a year ago. Rounding out the starting line will be
six-foot-six 290-pound freshman Seaver Myers of
Friendswood, Texas. Myers, who got a medical redshirt last season, is SMU’s
most heavily recruited offensive lineman; he fielded offers from Texas A&M,
Colorado and Louisville, among others. On the whole, this is a fairly talented
but extremely young offensive line.
The Receivers: Returning
starter Der’rikk Thompson, winner of SMU’s Outstanding
Onomastic Orthography Award, had a solid season in 2012, catching 535 yards
worth of passes, averaging 13 yards per grab, and hauling in four touchdowns.
He has 4.37 forty speed. Abilene sophomore Darius Joseph should also be in the
starting lineup for the Mustangs. As a freshman he caught seven passes for 70
yards. The third starter in SMU’s receiving corps will be senior Jeremy Johnson.
The All C-USA candidate led the Mustangs in receiving last year with 67 catches
for 679 yards, but only three TDs. As a prepster he
was recruited by Baylor and TCU among other schools. Rounding out the unit will
be six-foot-one 185-pound senior Keenan Holman. He started six games last
season, catching 25 passes for 311 yards and two touchdowns. This will not be
one of the deadlier receiving groups Tech faces in 2013.