Chad Morris and SMU football welcomed 22 new Mustangs on National Signing Day on Wednesday. Here’s a look at some of the signees to watch.
Fastest player: wide receiver Xavier Castille
Castille runs a 4.43 40-yard dash and boasts impressive lateral quickness. At 5-foot-10 and 195 pounds, he’s one of the class’s most physically mature players. Castille will see a lot of snaps out of the slot right away, and he’s a good bet to lead all of SMU’s freshman receivers in yards thanks to his speed and explosive playmaking ability. He reminds me of Stanford wide receiver Ty Montgomery, whose name should be called in the NFL draft in April.
Day one starter: linebacker Jordon Williams
Williams spurned the likes of Arkansas, Utah, Northwestern and Louisville to come to SMU. He was recruited specifically to play the “star” linebacker position, which is a safety/linebacker hybrid, in Van Malone’s defense. The star linebacker sees a lot of time near the line of scrimmage, but also drops back into coverage over the middle. Williams is a sound tackler with good special awareness and should start at the star right away.
Future captain: wide receiver James Proche
Proche can walk into a room and immediately command respect. He’s the most gracious and humble player I’ve ever talked to, and he played a big role in recruiting Xavier Castille and high school teammate Kevin Thomas to the Hilltop. Coach Morris said at his signing day press conference that he looks for winners on the field and in the classroom. Proche more than satisfies both.
Future all-conference selection: quarterback Ben Hicks
Hicks was SMU’s only January enrollee in the group, and I think he was the most important signee. He is a near-perfect fit for Chad Morris’ offense because of his underrated mobility and his ability to make all the throws. He displays great touch on all of his throws and generates a ton of throw power with his hips. He extends plays well too. Hicks will battle for the starting gig right away.