SMU added a crucial component to its 2011 recruiting class on Monday when Round Rock McNeil outside linebacker Cameron Smith committed to the Mustangs. PonyStampede.com spoke with Smith to find out what factors played a role in his decision.
"The academics and athletics at SMU are great," Smith said, "and they're 'going up' in athletics. My family and I talked about it and decided that it was the right fit. It's going to be a great choice for me."
Smith, who chose SMU over offers from the likes of Illinois, Duke, Colorado State, Houston, Tulsa, Rice, and Air Force, has an ideal size/speed combination for an outside linebacker.
"I'm 6-foot-2, 230 pounds," he said, "and I run 4.5-ish. I work on my agility every day so I can keep my speed up. I don't keep up with my stats. I'm not going to lie, I can't tell you how many sacks or tackles I had last year. I'm not a stats nerd. When you watch my highlight tape, you may not see a bunch of big plays, but you'll see good fundamentals and technique.
"In the 3-4 defense, sometimes you may not make the plays that an outside linebacker in the 4-3 will make. In the 3-4, it's about teamwork and being in the right position and I think that SMU saw that aspect when they watched me play. Some schools were recruiting me as a defensive end, but SMU runs the 3-4 and they want me as an outside linebacker."
McNeil posted a 2-8 mark in 2009 and Smith expects that to change for the better this fall.
"Last season did not go like we expected. We didn't really have a team leader and now we have a new head coach. I think we can do something that we haven't done in awhile this year. I want to go out with a bang and our first game, against Bastrop, is a big one. They have a great scrambling quarterback who will be a test for us."
Another prominent matchup for the Mavericks will come against Round Rock Stony Point, which finished 13-2 last year and defeated McNeil 21-14 in week seven.
"People usually think of Stony Point when they think of Austin-area football," said Smith, "and they usually go deep in the playoffs. Stony Point is known as a powerhouse in Austin and hopefully we can beat them."