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 Draft Scout College Football Player News: Southern Methodist
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  It'll be year No. 2 for QB1 at SMU. Senior Tanner Mordecai, the incumbent at SMU, was announced as the starting quarterback for the Mustangs by head coach Rhett Lashlee after practice on Friday. Mordecai beat out freshman Preston Stone for the second-straight season. Lashlee said he expects Stone, a former All-American at Parish Episcopal, to play this year. "We feel like that's just the best thing for our team and for those guys to give them, and us, the best chance to be ready to go in three weeks," Lashlee said after announcing the decision. "It's been a really good unifying moment for our team, and I like I told them yesterday, Tanner has earned that opportunity. I think the guys believe in him. Preston has earned the opportunity to play [as well]." Stone, like he often is, was the last player to leave the practice field on Tuesday.

Lashlee had just announced that Mordecai would be the starter, but Lashlee also preached then importance of all his players being ready to play, including his quarterbacks. "He's still going to get plenty of reps. The reality of it is he's one play away," Lashlee said about Stone. "You've got to get him ready, and he's still young. He's a redshirt freshman and it speaks a lot of what his teammates think about him and his ability to be in this situation for us to say, 'Hey, he's going to play. He's going to help us win." But when it comes to the leading role, that's Mordecai's job. Mordecai waited a while to be a starting quarterback. He was a four-star recruit out of Waco Midway and headed to Oklahoma. He played in 12 games for the Sooners, including a stint in place of starter Spencer Rattler in the 2020 Cotton Bowl. Mordecai then transferred to SMU where he won the starting job. - Dallas Morning News


rSr/2023 QB Tanner MordecaiSouthern Methodist
News Source: Dallas Morning News
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  Football is a complex game, but players blessed with freakish physical traits have the ability to simplify things with their overwhelming talent. The Athletic's Bruce Feldman acknowledged SMU defensive tackle Elijah Chatman as one of these talents in his recent list of college football's top athletic freaks. "Not only is he pound for pound one of the strongest people in college football, Chatman is one of the strongest period," Feldman said in his article. "On the field, Chatman made 25 tackles, 10 TFLs and 2.5 sacks. In the weight room, the 6-1, 295-pound Shreveport, La., product bench pressed 495 pounds this offseason and has done 42 reps at 225. He also back-squatted 615 and power-cleaned 335, and did this muscle-up weighing 290." Chatman's on the smaller end for a DT, but it's worth noting that his size and weight compare to Rams' DT Aaron Donald, the athletic freak among athletic freaks. While he might not be the next Donald, Chatman contributions will be key in 2022 as he was one of two players last season to have double-digit tackles for loss for the Mustangs. - Dallas Morning News

rJr/2024 DT Elijah ChatmanSouthern Methodist
News Source: Dallas Morning News
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  2022 PRESEASON ROTARY LOMBARDI AWARD WATCHLIST: Elijah Chatman, SMU, Sr DT,...In 2021, Chatman saw action in all 12 games, making 11 starts, and registered 40 tackles, including 10 TFLs for 39 yards and 2.5 sacks for 19. He added a team-high two fumble recoveries, a forced fumble and three quarterback hurries. For his efforts, Chatman was named second-team All-AAC. - SMU Football

rJr/2024 DT Elijah ChatmanSouthern Methodist
News Source: SMU Football
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  2022 PRESEASON WALTER CAMP PLAYER OF YEAR PLAYER TO WATCH: Tanner Mordecai, QB, senior, SMU,...Mordecai threw for 3,628 yards (12th NCAA) and a school-record 39 touchdowns (5th NCAA) in 2021, while his 41 total TDs responsible for were also a program record. His 308 completions ranked second at SMU, while his 454 attempts were ninth. In all, he posted eight 300-yard games and five games with 4+ passing TDs and six with 4+ total TDs. He also ranked in the top 10 nationally and led the conference in points responsible for (248, 6th NCAA), points responsible for per game (20.7, 6th NCAA), completions per game (25.67, 8th NCAA), passing yards per game (302.3, 10th NCAA) and total offense (319.2, 10th NCAA). His seven passing TDs in the season opener against ACU set the SMU single-season record, while his 427 yards against Tulane were ninth. - SMU Football

rSr/2023 QB Tanner MordecaiSouthern Methodist
News Source: SMU Football
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  In not-so-surprising news: SMU coach Rhett Lashlee, as he has all offseason, declined to name a starting quarterback during Thursday's virtual American Athletic Conference media day. Lashlee, in his first season as a head coach, wants to instill a culture of competition, including the battle between incumbent starter, all-conference quarterback Tanner Mordecai, and heralded redshirt freshman Preston Stone. "Their position is obviously the one you talk about because it's quarterback, but it's like all of them," Lashlee said. "We feel like competition makes our roster better." Lashlee called competition one of SMU's core philosophies.

Most coaches would probably say the same thing, but veteran wide receivers with a knack for candor? That was a little more surprising. Moments after Mordecai finished answering a question about how he and Stone feed off each other, all-conference wide receiver Rashee Rice gave his opinion, too. "The quarterback room is a major key to our offense," Rice said, "and to have two great quarterbacks is a great thing for the receiver room. It's not mentioned that much, but I think everywhere on this team, everyone's competing." - Dallas Morning News


rSr/2023 QB Tanner MordecaiSouthern Methodist
News Source: Dallas Morning News
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  2022 PRESEASON PAUL HORNUNG AWARD WATCH LIST: Bryan Massey, SMU,...Massey saw action in all 12 games last season and registered a team-leading 20 kick returns for 686 yards, which ranked 12th in the NCAA and 11th all-time at SMU. His two kick return TDs ranked second in the NCAA and tied both the SMU career and single-season records. The 36.1 yards/return led the conference. Overall, Massey posted three 100-yard return games (Tulane, Houston, Tulsa) and finished with 734 all-purpose yards. On defense, Massey registered 29 tackles (22 solo), including 1.5 TFLs. He added one interception for 48 yards and six pass breakups. - SMU Football

Jr/2024 FS Bryan MasseySouthern Methodist
News Source: SMU Football
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  SMU has aspirations to win a conference title this year. To do so, the Mustangs will have to climb from their preseason ranking. SMU was picked fourth in the American Athletic Conference preseason media poll, the conference announced during its virtual media day on Thursday. Houston edged Cincinnati - the first non-Power Five team to make the College Football Playoff - in total votes to take the top spot in the preseason rankings, even though Cincinnati had three more first place votes. UCF was picked third in the media poll.

Each of the top three teams will leave the AAC for the Big 12 after this season. SMU and new head coach Rhett Lashlee is the highest-ranked team among those that will remain in the conference after this year. Though SMU has a new coach, the Mustangs do return a lot of talent from a team that started 7-0 last season and rose to the top-20 of the AP college football rankings, but finished 1-4 down the stretch. Head coach Sonny Dykes agreed to go to rival TCU before the season ended. - Dallas Morning News


rJr/2024 WR Rashee RiceSouthern Methodist
News Source: Dallas Morning News
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  2022 PRESEASON BUTKUS AWARD WATCHLIST: Isaac Slade-Matautia, SMU,...Slade-Matautia saw action in all 12 games in 2021 after transferring to SMU following three seasons of action at Oregon. He registered 31 tackles, including 2.5 TFLs and a sack, added a team-high two interceptions for 27 yards and had a fumble recovery and two pass breakups. - SMU Football

rSr/2023 ILB Isaac Slade-MatautiaSouthern Methodist
News Source: SMU Football
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  2022 PRESEASON RAY GUY WATCHLIST: Brendan Hall - SMU,...Hall is hard to miss at 6-8, 232. As a freshman last year he played in all 12 games, had 82 kickoffs for 5,048 yards with 49 touchbacks... Punted 36 times for 1,502 yards with a long of 67, nine inside the 20 and five of 50 or more yards. He was named to the American Athletic Conference All-Academic Team. At Springtown High School (Texas) Hall had 81 kickoffs for 4,443 yards and 33 punts for 1,432 yards as a senior.

Was 50-51 on PATs and 12-17 on field goals with a long of 49 yards… Helped Springtown to an 11-3 record and an appearance in the 4A Division I Quarterfinals… Was 81-85 on PATs and 10-13 on FGs as a junior…Punted 40 times for 1,707 yards with a long of 52 yards and 16 inside the 20… Added 115 kickoffs for 6,187 yards… Helped Springtown to a 13-2 record and an appearance in the State semifinals. Hall wears a size 14 shoe. He is the tallest punter in college football and we were curious if he played college basketball, but there is no mention of it. FYI, tallest punters in NFL history are Sav Rocca and Brandon Fields, each 6-foot-five. - SMU Football


So/2025 P Brendan HallSouthern Methodist
News Source: SMU Football
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  2022 PRESEASON OUTLAND TROPHY WATCHLIST: DT Elijah Chatman, SMU,...Chatman is the first Mustang to be mentioned on the Nagurski list since Justin Lawler in 2017, while the Outland nod gives SMU a student-athlete on the list for the third consecutive season (Jaylon Thomas, 2020-21). Chatman saw action in all 12 games, making 11 starts, and registered 40 tackles, including 10 TFLs for 39 yards and 2.5 sacks for 19. - SMU Football

rJr/2024 DT Elijah ChatmanSouthern Methodist
News Source: SMU Football
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  2022 PRESEASON BRONKO NAGURSKI TROPHY WATCHLIST: DT Elijah Chatman, SMU,...Chatman saw action in all 12 games, making 11 starts, and registered 40 tackles, including 10 TFLs for 39 yards and 2.5 sacks for 19. He added a team-high two fumble recoveries, a forced fumble and three quarterback hurries. For his efforts, Chatman was named second-team All-American Athletic Conference. - SMU Football

rJr/2024 DT Elijah ChatmanSouthern Methodist
News Source: SMU Football
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  2022 PRESEASON MAXWELL AWARD WATCH LIST: Tanner Mordecai, SMU,...As a 2022 senior, SMU quarterback Tanner Mordecai is not only already on the Maxwell Award Watch list but also the Davey O'Brien Award Watch List...and Preseason Phil Steele Second-Team All-AAC… Athlon Sports First-Team All-AAC.... DCTF All-Texas Second Team... PFF Top 50 FBS QBs: No. 20... East-West Shrine Bowl 1000 List. In 2021, started all 12 games... Was 308-for-454 (.678, 15th NCAA) passing for 3,628 yards (12th NCAA, 1st AAC, 3rd SMU) and a school-record 39 TDs (5th NCAA, 1st AAC)... His 308 completions rank second at SMU, while his 454 attempts rank ninth... Posted eight 300-yard games and five games with 4+ passing TDs.

Registered six games with 4+ total TDs... His seven passing TDs in the season opener against ACU set the SMU single-game record... The 427 yards against Tulane are ninth for a Mustang... Had a 75% or better completion rate in three games (ACU, at LaTech, Navy)... Also ranked in the top 10 nationally and led the conference in points responsible for (248, 6th NCAA), points responsible for per game (20.7, 6th NCAA), completions per game (25.67, 8th NCAA), passing yards per game (302.3, 10th NCAA) and total offense (319.2, 10th NCAA)… His 41 TDs responsible is a single-season record for SMU... Rushed for 202 yards and two TDs off 74 carries... Finished with 3,830 yards of total offense (4th SMU) - SMU Football


rSr/2023 QB Tanner MordecaiSouthern Methodist
News Source: SMU Football
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  2022 PRESEASON DAVEY O'BRIEN NATIONAL QUARTERBACK AWARD WATCH LIST: Tanner Mordecai, SMU, Sr., 6-3, 218, Waco, Texas,...Mordecai threw for 3,628 yards (12th NCAA) and a school-record 39 touchdowns (5th NCAA) in 2021, while his 41 total TDs responsible for were also a program record. His 308 completions ranked second at SMU, while his 454 attempts were ninth. In all, he posted eight 300-yard games and five games with 4+ passing TDs and six with 4+ total TDs. He also ranked in the top 10 nationally and led the conference in points responsible for (248, 6th NCAA), points responsible for per game (20.7, 6th NCAA), completions per game (25.67, 8th NCAA), passing yards per game (302.3, 10th NCAA) and total offense (319.2, 10th NCAA). - SMU Football

rSr/2023 QB Tanner MordecaiSouthern Methodist
News Source: SMU Football
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  The spring game for SMU wasn't exactly a spring game. Still, it did give a look at a potential depth chart heading into summer. Of course, the "starters" and "backups" from the final spring showcase aren't written in stone for a Week 1 projection, but the defensive back groupings might've been the most interesting we saw. Specifically, the outside corners. Ar'mani Johnson and Sam Westfall, two seniors, got the starting nod, while Jahari Rogers and Bryce McMorris, the starters as freshmen a season ago, ran with the second team. This simply could be an ode to seniority by new SMU corners coach Rickey Hunley Jr., and a sign that starting jobs must be earned, or it could be the way the new regime sees things early on.

Considering last season, that would be interesting. Rogers, a highly-touted transfer from Florida, and McMorris, a true freshman playing corner for the first time, got a lot of experience a season ago as young starters. There were a lot of learning lessons, too. SMU's passing defense ranked 124th in the country, allowing an average of 278 yards per game and nearly 14 yards per completion. It was a glaring weakness for the Mustangs, and in losses against Houston, Cincinnati and Memphis, it was exposed. - Dallas Morning News


rSo/2025 CB Jahari RogersSouthern Methodist
News Source: Dallas Morning News
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  Former Kansas running back Velton Gardner announced on social media that he will be playing for the SMU Mustangs. Gardner was a three-star recruit and the No. 51 athlete in the Class of 2019, according to the industry-generated 247Sports Composite rankings. Gardner chose the Jayhawks over other scholarship offers from schools like Texas Tech, Kansas State, Arkansas State, BGSU and others. As a true freshman at Kansas, Gardner carried the ball 26 times for 138 yards and a pair of touchdowns. As a sophomore, Gardner saw his role expand, tallying 325 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 72 attempts. Last fall, Gardner was limited to three games, and he ran for 56 yards in those appearances. - 247 Sports

rJr/2024 RB Velton GardnerSouthern Methodist
News Source: 247 Sports
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