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Sonny Dykes and SMU continue winning big in the offseason

Life is pretty great if you’re an SMU Mustang fan.

SMU v Texas State Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Sonny Dykes came to SMU without much flare, but he’s quickly making everyone notice the things going on with the Mustangs program. It’s been a crazy offseason for Dykes, and it doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. From big time recruits to transfers, the Mustangs are ready to make a run now. The only question will be if this is actually legit, and if so, how long will he stick around? For now, it’s been an offseason to remember, one that Mustangs fans are hoping ends with them at the top of the AAC.

Here’s the thing, SMU already won the offseason before the last couple weeks. Sonny Dykes retained running backs Ulysses Bentley IV (leading rusher), TJ McDaniel, and Ryan Lavine as well as receivers Danny Gray and Rashee Rice. He got Reggie Roberson to come back after a year in which he only played four games but still led the team in yards per catch and touchdown receptions. Oh, and the entire offensive line is back. Even without bringing in transfers, SMU appeared locked and loaded for another great season, but Dykes wasn’t going to play things conservatively.

Dykes snagged Tre Siggers from North Texas, who nearly rushed for 900 yards in 2019. He also brings in two Arizona State transfers in tight end Nolan Matthews and receiver Jordan Kerley. He also made headlines by getting committments from two former four-star Oklahoma transfers in quarterback Tanner Mordecai and tight end Grant Calcaterra. Mordecai spent his time with the Sooners behind Jalen Hurts and Spencer Rattler. Calcaterra has 637 yards and nine touchdowns in his career, but also battled multiple concussions and at one point retired from football. If he’s healthy, he’ll be a monster. Dykes didn’t just focus on the offense, however. In March, he added former four-star corner Jahari Rogers from Florida and just yesterday added Oregon transfer Isaac Slade-Matautia.

Transfers aren’t guaranteed to work, but most of them feel like they should work out for the Mustangs. Mordecai’s learning curve shouldn’t be too steep given that he’s coming from a similar system. Calcaterra is a proven weapon, and Siggers was mostly affected by the weird year caused by COVID. Slade-Matautia started for Oregon the last two years, and brings 131 tackles (12.0 for loss) and 16 passes defended with him. For those worried this is only a temporary fix, Dykes has that question answered as well.

Preston Stone comes to SMU as the highest rated recruit in the AAC this year, and will compete for the starting job with Mordecai. He’s a dual threat that put a ton of highlight reel plays on tape, and could be thrilling to watch. He’ll be joined (for now), by receiver Jordan Hudson, giving Mustangs fans a preview of the future electric combination. Hudson is the 12th best player in the Class of 2022 according to ESPN, making him the highest rated recruit to sign with SMU. At one point committed to Oklahoma, SMU came in and stunned everyone by getting the Garland, TX prospect to commit. Hudson would also be the highest rated recruit to sign with an AAC program since Ed Oliver (4th in the ESPN 300 in 2016) signed with Houston.

Life is great for the Mustangs. They’re now 22-13 under Dykes, and they head into 2021 as a conference title contender. Club Takeaway is one of the best turnover celebrations in college football. The coaching staff wears Jordans on the sideline. Players can make money off of their name, image, and likeness. Sonny Dykes isn’t interested in waiting around for someone else to make a move. He’s taking control of his situation, and sending a message to the rest of the conference.