Good news. Both were dominant, top caliber receivers…
They’ve als had two good recruits decommit in December, Michael Woods, WR Magnolia, flipped to Arkansas and Tre Allison, OLB Tyler John Tyler, flipped to Syracuse. Also, less highly rated was Silas Robinson, OT Yoakum, who flipped to Arkansas.
Dykes is trying to sell recruits on them joining the Big 12.
SMU hired Dykes from TCU in December to replace Chad Morris, who left for Arkansas. According to the Dallas Morning News’ Adam Grosbard, Dykes said during his Signing Day press conference that his “ultimate goal” is to get his program from the American Athletic Conference into the Power 5.
Head coach: Sonny Dykes (0-1, first year)
2017 record and S&P+ ranking: 7-6 (67th)
Projected 2018 record and S&P+ ranking: 7-5 (74th)
Five key points:
With a pass-happy background and Texas connections, Dykes appears set to continue the culture-building that Chad Morris began.
Dykes made two exciting coordinator hires in Rhett Lashlee (offense) and Kevin Kane (defense). The former has more to work with than the latter, though.
In Ben Hicks, Dykes and Lashlee inherit a junior QB with 6,500 yards to his name already.
The defense was aggressive and terrible last year. Kane made NIU’s defense excellent quickly, but give him a year to get the chess pieces arranged.
In 2019, SMU could return a fourth-year starter in Hicks and an experienced and exciting defense. In 2018? Just make a bowl.
Dykes was a solid hire. He has his limitations and I doubt SMU will ever play defense well enough to contend for an AAC title. But he’ll keep them doing well enough offensively to lower the floor a lot, I’d bet.
So here are the pertinent numbers, 65% of completions, 61% of yards, 26 of 35 touchdown receptions are all gone from the Hilltop. Transcendent receiver Courtland Sutton and ultra security blanket Trey Quinn are gone from SMU’s stable of receivers.
Chad Morris is gone too, the architect of SMU’s slogging turnaround that has guided the Mustangs from one win in 2014, before his arrival, to six wins last season. From the laughing stock of the AAC to a contender in the best case scenario or an also-ran in the worse case.
Ben Hicks remains. Once Matt Davis suffered a knee injury in the 2016 North Texas game, SMU turned to Hicks. His first start, vs. Baylor, was a disaster. For most of 2016, Hicks didn’t show much in the way of any unique, particular talent. His numbers were average. His completion percentage was just above 50%, well below the national average and light years from elite. He’d thrown one more touchdown (12) than interception (11). His yards per attempt hit right at 6.5. Again, all these numbers are below average, the bottom quarter of FBS quarterbacks, efficiency marks.
Then came a three-game stretch, vs. East Carolina, South Florida, and Navy, to end the 2016 season. In those three games, two of which were against bowl teams, the light came on. Hicks completed 64% of his attempts, his yards per attempt jumped by almost two full yards. Hicks set a career yardage mark against South Florida and nearly matched it against Navy.
Has Coach Dykes talked about anything specific he wants to add to Ben Hicks’ toolset for the coming season?
Grosbard: It’s a whole new mentality for Hicks. Last year he was basically asked to sit in the pocket as his three receivers (Sutton, Quinn and Proche) found space for him to get the ball to them (as Hicks called it, backyard football).
Now, he’s being asked for quick releases and to know where he’s going with the ball soon after he gets the snap. It’s a different mentality than he’s used to and that’s his biggest learning area under Dykes this season.
And their first game in October is at UCF.
SMU loading up on grad transfers, Nelson has 2 years left.
"The 6-2, 210-pound safety joins Cal defensive end Noah Westerfield and Arkansas defensive tackle Jake Hall as graduate transfers. "
Question: How different will Sonny Dykes’ offense look from Chad Morris’?
Grosbard: It’s going to be more of a death-by-a-million-cuts type attack than a lot of long shots downfield. It’s going to be short routes and quick releases from the QB. It’ll still be up-pace and still will feature the running game heavily, but don’t expect constant shots downfield anymore.
SMU survives a brutal September, handling North Texas in the process, and beats Willie Fritz’ Green Wave on the road. If they can pick off Houston again, the Mustangs could get to eight wins. 8-4.
The losses of Sutton, Quinn, and Lawler is too much, and the September schedule puts them into a funk, including Navy’s flexbone. 5-7.
Hmmm…Ponies actually have a good idea. Coogs head there this year.