College football programs nationwide secured commitments and National Letters of Intent from several of the country’s best high school football players as National Signing Day passed on Wednesday.
The signees include many heading to the Dallas-Fort Worth area for their college years.
Ahead of its debut season in the ACC, SMU signed 10 high school players. It seems like a small class, but the Mustangs believe they filled some gaps and added some playmakers.
“I think that as coaches, the more tackle-breakers and the more touchdown-makers you can get, the better,” offensive coordinator Casey Woods told The Dallas Express. “Those guys that manufacture yards and points for themselves. You’ve got to be a smart enough coach to make sure they’re in space … but they take care of a lot of problems for you.”
The Mustangs also added the nation’s 35th-ranked transfer class, according to 247Sports, which includes high-profile players like former Ohio State defensive lineman Omari Abor, former Miami defensive end Jahfari Harvey, former Georgia defensive lineman Jordan Jefferson, former Texas A&M defensive back Deuce Harmon, and wide receivers Ashton Cozart (Oregon) and Brashard Smith (Miami FL).
SMU has been able to land several significant transfers in Rhett Lashlee’s short time at the helm. Still, the argument can be made that, with the move to the ACC and the “Power Four,” bringing guys in with experience in those conferences had an increased importance.
“They’ve been in those settings and in those situations,” cornerbacks coach Rickey Hunley, Jr. told The Dallas Express. “So now I think it’s about us just continuing to develop and getting the opportunity to compete in the ACC.”
Recruiting the Dallas area and giving local prospects (past and present) a chance to stay (or return) home to play has been an emphasis under the current coaching staff, and now SMU has the addition of being a “Power Four” program to go with it. In the 2024 class, six freshmen are DFW natives, while the transfer class also includes six from the area.
“It has worked well for us for players returning to either the state or Dallas,” Lashlee said as he met with the media. “We don’t really care what school they went to or what their stars were. A lot of times, they were good enough out of high school, and sometimes guys leave, and they decided, ‘You know what? It was pretty good in Texas. It was pretty good in Dallas.'”
“It is an advantage for us with all the great talent,” he added. “You can’t sign them all every year. They’re going to leave, but then, for whatever reason or another, some want to get closer to home, [or] some want a new opportunity. I like to think winning over the last five years has helped us, too …”
Lashlee also mentioned that the Mustangs would be announcing their final 2024 non-conference opponent soon, and the school sent out a release announcing Nevada as that final opponent. SMU will take on the Wolfpack in Reno on August 24.
TCU signed all of its high school recruits during the first signing period in December but added eight transfers on Wednesday, including quarterback Ken Seals (Vanderbilt), offensive lineman Cade Bennett (San Diego State), and six defensive backs.
Overall, the Horned Frogs signed 40 scholarship players, 24 of whom will participate in spring practice.
Meanwhile, North Texas welcomes 49 new players, which includes 28 high schoolers and 21 transfers. Seven players (six transfers and one high schooler) signed with the Mean Green on Wednesday.