As the SMU Mustangs prepare to join the BCS ranks as a member of the American Athletic Conference in 2013, they will be looking for leaders to step up as they tackle the upgraded level of competition next season. That is where senior Kenneth Acker will come in handy as he leads a deep and talented secondary into their new conference. With Acker at corner, the Mustangs’ secondary should prove to be the strongest part of their team in 2013.
Acker enters his third year as a starter in 2013 and has established himself as a leader of the SMU secondary. In 2012, he led the team with 15 passes defended and 12 pass breakups while tying for the team-lead with three interceptions (one of which was returned for a touchdown). He was a lockdown corner and a playmaker with the ball in his hands and could quickly become the best corner in the AAC next season.
He’ll have the support of a deep and experienced secondary that will keep offenses from simply throwing away from Acker. Chris Parks returns for his senior season at the other cornerback slot and healthy after playing through a knee injury in 2012. Starting safety Jay Scott is also back, giving the Mustangs a trio of senior leadership in their secondary. Sophomore Shakiel Randolph will hold down the other safety spot after starting six games as a freshman and earning Conference USA All-Freshman team honors.
The defense will get tested for SMU in 2013, there is no question of that. But with Acker leading the way in the secondary, the Mustangs have a very good chance of holding up and giving their team a shot in most games next fall. Will it be enough to make them AAC contenders next season?