The Top 10 points from June Jones’ National Signing Day press conference…
1. June Jones began his presser with the following statement:
“I thought it was gonna be our best class. I every year it seems to get better. The national coverage, the games on TV, the bowl game…all that helps. Every year we’ve improved and been able to compete for a higher level of kid.
“I think also the quality of the kid every year seems to be going a little higher, too, as far as academic work and character, all those things which are very positive.
“This class is a cut above the ones we’ve had the previous two years for sure.”
2. June Jones probably brought Pleasant Grove defensive tackle Nick Reed (Texarkana) up more than any other player, saying that he’s the “sleeper” of the class.
He sounds a bit like Rishaad Wimbley in that he’s an athletic tackle that could be turned into an offensive playmaker and according to Jones, “could start at running back.”
4. Without directly addressing the fact that Garrett Gilbert is coming to SMU in June (because a coach can’t talk about a transfer until he has enrolled), Jones discussed SMU’s quarterback situation for 2012.
Neal Burcham, an under-the-radar prospect who was co-MVP at last year’s Elite 11, is a player that Jones calls “gifted” and “special.”
Gilbert, who started 14 games at Texas (not including his debut in the 2009 National Championship) has the most experience out of all four guys vying for the job.
Said Jones of the position’s status: “We feel very comfortable.”
Jones also mentioned that Burcham did not tear his ACL despite reports that he did, and he should be ready to compete in the fall.
5. The offensive line was the biggest need of this class and Jones says he doesn’t think he’s finished recruiting at that position, even though there are five in this class, which makes 17 on the roster.
“I’d like to have one or two more offensive linemen to come in the fall or [next] January,” Jones said. “It’s a numbers game and I’d like to have more for practice and scout team.”
Jones added: “We have 14 or 15 on scholarship, but with that position, I like to have 16-18 and that’s from my NFL days.”
6. Gehrig Dieter, who enrolled early, has some torn cartilage in his knee (that SMU knew about before he committed). Jones mentioned the national record-breaking wide receiver will have it scoped and likely won’t participate in spring drills.
“I think Roundtree really got a leg up [by enrolling early] because we’re graduating a lot of safeties,” Jones said. “He’s a good football player, a great kid and is already one of our hardest workers in the weight room and accountability-wise. He’s going to be a good football player.”
He also mentioned Jarvis Pruitt as someone to watch out for. He said they wanted to offer the Stratford defenseman back in the summer, but he just recently got his ACT scores.
“He’s got a sparkle in his eye and he’s maybe one of the best players we have on the list,” Jones said.
Jones also said a couple of the offensive linemen may be able to play early as well, but didn’t name names.
8. Jones raved about Prescott Line.
“He looks like just another Zach Line and might even be a little faster and we told Zach he might take his girlfriend,” Jones joked.
Jones added: “When we first looked at his tape, [Wes] Suan and I said he’s just like Zach, let’s go and offer. But [no other coaches] agreed with me. Then after his first game, I went back to them and said I was right because he rushed for 450 yards and six touchdowns…he proved out to be just like Zach. He’s going to win a wrestling title and nobody recruited him, just like Zach.
“You have to have 40 Prescott Lines for special teams, camaraderie, the way he plays the game…that’s what you gotta have.”
Jones said the younger Line will play running back, no linebacker (just like Zach).
9. With the bulk of the class in place before the Big East announcement, the fact that SMU is headed into a BCS conference didn’t affect this year’s recruits. However, Jones feels that next year and in the future, it will definitely have an impact.
“It’ll help us immensely,” Jones said. “Ty Law, for example, and another kid from Florida who we didn’t get that I wanted and though we would get (Adrian Burton) will get to play against kids they grew up with that go on to play at UCF and South Florida.
“We can recruit a kid out of New York City and bring him down this time of year and it’s 70 degrees. Then they can go back home and play against [their friends].”
10. Jones said that they haven’t filled all their spots yet and will go out this spring and try and find a few other players to sign.
“We still have the ability to add one or two more players,” he said. “We always go out in the spring and find seniors who got overlooked or didn’t qualify on Feb. 1. We’re in a position to add one or two kids. That may mean pushing them to January, but that’s fine with me.”
Bonus point: Jones is very happy with the hiring of Jason Phillips and said that with his help, SMU is slowly breaking down some of the recruiting walls in the state of Texas, getting kids to consider becoming a Mustang who in the past, might not have.
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