The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Spring Football position battles to look out for

SMU Running Back Prescott Line
Courtesy of
SMU Running Back Prescott Line

SMU Running Back Prescott Line (Courtesy of

With the start of a new season looming there are several key areas for Coach June Jones and company to take a hard look at before the 2013 season.

Running Backs

SMU lost one of the most productive running backs in school history in Zach Line, but not only will SMU lose his production, but his consistent production.

Every time it seemed like SMU handed the ball to Line, he’d rip off five or six yards a carry, but it is time to move on because SMU has an extremely unproven backfield on their hands going into the spring.

Luckily for the Mustangs, Jones and his staff landed former five-star recruit Traylon Shead from Navarro JUCO. The 6-2, 225 Shead looks like a full-grown man, but SMU has yet to see how he will pickup Jones’ Run-n-Shoot.

Shead is most likely going to be the starter barring any major surprises, but it will be all on him to pick up the blocking schemes is Jones said after the first day of spring practice.

Behind Shead, Line’s younger brother, Prescott, who is a spitting image of the older Line at 5-11, 215, has a similar physical makeup as his brother does and will also see reps in practice.

Rishaad Wimbley, who moved from defensive line to running back, fell down the depth chart last season after seeing time his freshman year when Line was out with an injury, so it will be interesting to see how the coaches utilize him.

K.C. Nlemchi also has been a disappointment, constantly finding himself out of the staff’s good graces, but appears to possess some talent.

One of the big moves was the staff’s decision to move the speedy 5-8, 175 pound Ronnell Sims to running back from receiver. Sims gives the Mustangs some serious speed and a possible change of pace back in the backfield.

With the arrival of Hal Mumme on the staff, SMU could see some changes on the offensive side of the ball and those changes could include more work for Sims.


SMU loses linebackers Taylor Reed, Ja’Gared Davis and Cameron Rogers to graduation, but that doesn’t mean there will be a drop-off in talent at the position for the Mustangs.

Rising seniors Kevin Pope and Randall Joyner, who played a lot last season, especially with Rogers going down with an injury, return to battle for Rogers’ and Reed’s spots.

While Davis also graduated, Stephon Sanders anchors the other outside linebacker position and has all the talent to make SMU fans forget Davis and his big-play ability. At Davis’ position though, soon-to-be redshirt-sophomore Robert Seals could be the breakout player to watch.

SMU head coach June Jones has raved about his athleticism and Seals has filled out his 6-3 frame nicely, which could mean the Mustangs could have two big-play outside linebackers on their hands.

The Mustangs are fortunate to have Joyner though, who is one of the more vocal players on the team and is always pushing his teammates. A unique note is that Pope started his career at SMU as a running back, but has made the transition extremely well to linebacker.

Jonathan Yenga is the younger brother of former SMU linebacker Youri Yenga, and is a natural athlete at the inside linebacker position so if anyone can challenge Pope and Joyner, watch out for Yenga.

Defensive Linemen

Gone are the days of Margus Hunt blocking a field goal every game, Torlan Pittman’s brute strength, Kevin Grenier’s steady play and Aaron Davis’ war paint for the games. The Mustangs lost all three starters in the trenches in the defensive coordinator Tom Mason’s 3-4 defense and the Mustangs may not be able to find who their starters are going to be in the springtime.

With junior Beau Barnes out for the spring with an injury, Zach Wood will get more than his fair share of reps at one of the defensive end positions. Barnes is expected to anchor one of the defensive end positions, but the real question is the quality of the depth on the line and who will start at nose tackle.

Pittman was a great athlete at the position, but now the cupboard seems to be a little bare for the Mustangs. Junior Darrian Wright is the team’s only legitimate threat to do well at the position, but all eyes will be on Zelt Minor, the talented Houston Lamar HS defensive lineman, who is expected to challenge for the nose tackle position.

Minor is the most talented defensive linemen to sign with SMU since Jones has been on the Hilltop and he could not have come at a better time with so little depth at nose tackle.

Also watch for Andrew McCleneghen, the 6-6, 255 pound sophomore. The coaches have raved about his size, comparing him to a leaner Margus Hunt. 

SMU Running back Rishaad Wimbley (Courtesy of

SMU Linebacker Jonathan Yenga (Courtesy of

SMU Defensive Lineman Zach Wood (Courtesy of

More to Discover