Courtesy of SMU Athletics
DALLAS - On the heels of its breakout 2009 season, SMU announced the signing of 25 student-athletes to National Letters of Intent on Wednesday, Feb. 3, assembling perhaps its finest recruiting class in 25 years. The 2010 incoming class has 16 three-star Rivals.com recruits, surpassing the number of such recruits in the 2007 (4), 2008 (4) and 2009 (7) classes combined.
Jeremy Crabtree, Rivals.com's national recruiting editor, said, "SMU is definitely back. They proved it on the field this season and carried that momentum into the recruiting wars. There's a lot to be excited about with this class."
He calls SMU's class "one of the top five recruiting surprises this season," and writes, "Ignore where the Ponies are ranked in the Rivals.com team rankings, because even though SMU is ranked in the 70s, this class is honestly much better than that."
However, based on those same Rivals.com team rankings, SMU still bettered schools like BCS Buster Boise State in total Rivals points and schools like Big East Champion Cincinnati in average stars per recruit.
Crabtree continues, "Coach Jones has to be excited about the playmakers heading his way. SMU reeled in of the Midlands' best offensive weapons with running back Darryl Fields, who many thought was worthy of being a four-star prospect with his performance as a senior. He was one of the most highly recruited players in Oklahoma and many Big 12 teams wanted him.
"They also flexed some muscle by going outside of Texas to land talented offensive linemen Ben Gottschalk. He is one of the best offensive linemen in California and even more valuable because he can play all three offensive line positions. Then quarterback Steven Kaiser helped lead his team to the Missouri Class 5A state semifinals with a season to remember.
"But where SMU's class went to another level was in the Lone Star State. Jeremy Johnson and Ricky Collins should be stars for SMU. Both are good athletes who are dangerous with the ball in their hands. Defensive tackle Michael O'Guin was one of the top defensive tackles in Houston and Brandon Thornton was a tackle machine out of Conroe."
Scout.com's Scott Kennedy says, "June Jones is doing a terrific job of bringing SMU back into the minds of players in the state of Texas... (This class) continues an upward trend for the Mustangs..."
Athlon Recruiting Editor Braden Gall lists SMU as one of his seven "2010 Surprises" and writes, "The state of Texas has taken serious note of the high octane offense of June Jones."
Local media outlets have taken note as well, with Keith Whitmire of The Dallas Morning News writing, "This will be one of (SMU's) best classes in years... The class is full of legitimate three-star recruits."
Of the 26 signees, two are junior college transfers and 24 are high school student-athletes. Eighteen hail from the Lone Star State and eight are out-of-state recruits.