SMU QB Room Develops Under New Assistant

D'Eriq King
D'Eriq King | Image by SMU Athletics

The SMU football team feels prepared to take on its first ACC season this fall thanks to the experience it has on its roster, but another critical influence could come from a new coaching hire.

Former Miami (FL) and Houston quarterback D’Eriq King, who played for current SMU head coach Rhett Lashlee when he was the offensive coordinator at Miami, was promoted to quarterbacks coach in the offseason and has already made an impression on the room.

“He’s the same player, [and he] played in my situation,” backup quarterback Kevin Jennings told The Dallas Express after Tuesday’s practice. “He played quarterback for Coach Lashlee a couple of years back, so he knows the offense, and he knows how it feels to play quarterback and all of that. It’s really helped me develop a lot.”

Lashlee has also been impressed with King’s work so far and believes his playing days are a significant factor in his ability to influence the group.

“He’s had a great impact,” Lashlee told The Dallas Express. “First of all, I think he commands their respect because he’s more on their level in terms of age, and he’s been there recently, both at the college and professional level. So there’s a relatability factor that he just naturally has that really helps him, gives him credibility, and they want to listen to him, and he’s played in our system.”

“… He knows what he liked as a quarterback from his quarterback coach,” Lashlee added. “… I think it helps him communicate very calmly and very confidently, and I think he does a good job of teaching and communicating at that position. So I think it’s been a really good transition.”

That playing experience and what he’s learned in his time with Coach Lashlee are what King has wanted to rely on as he takes hold of his new position.

“I think my approach has just been to be myself, right?” King told The Dallas Express on National Signing Day in February. “I’m honored and blessed that Coach Lashlee trusts me to coach the quarterbacks here. I played the position, right? I played in the same exact offense, so I kind of know what those guys are seeing and going through. I think talking through that and just helping those guys here where I can to bring something to the table. Coach Lashlee is a great coach, and he coached me, and me and him kind of speak the same language when it comes to coaching quarterback. So I’m just trying to take it and run with it.”

Junior Preston Stone will be the starting quarterback for the Mustangs at least one more season. King will undoubtedly influence him as well, but the coach’s overall impact could be felt in the program for years to come, and his experience as an ACC player can be crucial heading into a new era of SMU football.

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