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SMU Mustangs Sign 19 Athletes on 2017 National Signing Day

Chad Morris continues to lock down the state of Texas in recruiting.

NCAA Football: Navy at Southern Methodist Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

While SMU didn’t produce the fireworks that fellow American Athletic Conference foes UCF and Memphis did in this recruiting cycle the Mustangs hauled in a very solid class full of high-ceiling athletes. The Mustangs signed 16 high school prospects, two junior college transfers, and one graduate transfer to build a small but well-rounded class that should position SMU to take a gradual step forward in 2017.

Many coaches give public lip service about recruiting the state of Texas. No one backs it up the way head coach Chad Morris does. Under Morris’ direction SMU has not signed a single high school athlete from outside the Lonestar State. This batch of 16 all-district performers brings the total number of Texas high school recruits signed by Morris to a staggering 63.

SMU 2017 Signing Class

Name Position Height Weight Previous School 247 Composite
Name Position Height Weight Previous School 247 Composite
Raymond Epps TE 6'4" 247 Arizona State ⭐⭐⭐
D.J. Gillins QB 6'3" 205 Pearl River CC ⭐⭐⭐
Matthew Huhn OL 6'7" 270 John Jay HS (TX) ⭐⭐⭐
Harrison Loveless DL 6'3" 255 Cypress Ranch HS (TX) ⭐⭐⭐
Alan Ali OL 6'5" 275 Timber Creek HS (TX) ⭐⭐⭐
Hayden Howerton OL 6'4" 260 Katy HS (TX) ⭐⭐⭐
Austin Upshaw QB 6'1" 188 La Porte HS (TX) ⭐⭐⭐
Tyler Page WR 6'0" 180 Friendswood HS (TX) ⭐⭐⭐
Kayce Medlock RB 5'10" 190 Arp HS (TX) ⭐⭐⭐
Toby Ndukwe DL 6'2" 220 George Ranch HS (TX) ⭐⭐⭐
Judah Bell WR 6'3" 190 Bishop T.K. Gorman ⭐⭐⭐
Elijah McQueen S 5'9" 173 Terrell HS (TX) ⭐⭐
Ar'mani Johnson CB 5'11" 165 Ridge Point HS (TX) ⭐⭐
Justin Guy-Robinson CB 5'10" 170 Pearland HS (TX) ⭐⭐
Turner Coxe DL 6'2" 248 Highland Park HS (TX) ⭐⭐
Shaine Hailey LB 6'0" 205 Bishop Dunne HS (TX) ⭐⭐
Delano Robinson S 5'11" 185 Billy Ryan HS (TX) ⭐⭐
Jordan Gipson DL 6'1" 247 Bay City HS (TX) ⭐⭐
Tyeson Neals DL 6'3" 235 NE Oklahoma A&M (OK) ⭐⭐
SMU 2017 Signing Class & 247 Sports

The arrival of junior college transfer D.J. Gillins will lead to a fierce position battle between Gillins and the incumbent sophomore starter Ben Hicks. Thrust into action as a freshman, Hicks showed great improvement throughout his first season of college football and won’t give up his starting spot easily. Regardless of who takes the first snap against Stephen F. Austin, competition breeds success and offensive coordinator Joe Craddock has two skilled options to chose from.

SMU’s signing class is highlighted by two terrific offensive tackle prospects. Alan Ali chose SMU over a bevy of Power Five offers including Cal, Nebraska, Arizona State, and Colorado. The 6’5”, 275 pound Timber Creek prospect is very light-footed and looks to have the frame to maintain his athleticism while carrying over 300 pounds of weight. Ali has the strength and mean streak to move to the interior if the Mustangs need him at offensive guard.

Another Power Five target, Matthew Huhn flipped from Houston to SMU following Tom Herman’s departure from UH. At 6’7”, 270 pounds, Huhn’s reach makes him an elite talent at offensive tackle. Huhn’s top offers include Michigan, Oklahoma State, Cal, and Iowa State.

While his offer sheet may not have been as impressive as some of SMU’s other recruits, 6’3” wide receiver Judah Bell might just be the steal of the class. One of the most prolific receivers in the state of Texas, Bell finished his high school career at Bishop TK Gordon with 4,671 receiving yards and 43 touchdowns. Those would be impressive numbers for a quarterback, much less a wide receiver.

A flip from Rice, Hayden Howerton helped anchor a Katy offensive line that finished with a combined record of 26-3 during Howerton’s junior and senior seasons. Howerton played all over the offensive line for Katy but he projects as a center or guard at the next level thanks to his quick first step and lateral quickness.

What small school talent Kayce Medlock (Arp HS) lacks in size he makes up for with blazing speed and big play ability. Medlock played several different positions at Arp but was primarily an all purpose back in Arp’s wishbone offense. Medlock’s versatility makes him a valuable piece of this recruiting class as he could give quality snaps as a slot receiver, running back, or cornerback.

With few scholarships available Chad Morris was never going to be able to make this recruiting class crack the top of the conference rankings but you’ve got to love the talent he was able to add to the roster. By targeting talented athletes from winning programs Morris has a great bunch of prospects to mold into major contributors as SMU seeks their first bowl game since the 2012 season. With more scholarships available in the 2018 class the Mustangs should be able to make a wider splash in the recruiting world next February, especially if Morris is able to lead SMU to their first winning record since June Jones’ departure.