The SMU Mustangs are moving up the BCS ranks in 2013 as they join what will soon become the American Athletic Conference. June Jones is looking for playmakers to step up in a major way next fall and help SMU make the transition smoothly, particularly on defense. He doesn’t seem like he is discriminating by age, either, as he appears ready to get true freshman defensive end Zelt Minor into the mix early and often next season.
Minor was a three-star recruit who flipped from his hometown Houston Cougars to SMU last October. The 6-foot-3, 260-pound end has shown the size and strength to be ready to contribute at the BCS level right away and his ability to penetrate and create pressure in the backfield will be a major asset to the Mustangs. Jones has been very high on the prospect’s potential since he signed and is chomping at the bit to unleash him on opposing offenses.
For Minor, there will be plenty of opportunity to earn playing time this fall. In addition to having the eye of his new head coach, SMU is looking to replace all three starters from their defensive line from year ago. Margus Hunt was the biggest loss, of course, and his team-high eight sacks will need to be replaced. But the other end, Kevin Grenier, and the underrated nose tackle, Torlan Pittman, are also gone. Together, the trio combined for 92 tackles, including 18.5 for loss in 2012.
And they didn’t leave obvious heirs to their positions. Defensive end is still an open competition which gives Minor the opportunity to hit campus this August and earn a significant spot in the defensive rotation right away. SMU is desperate for playmakers on the defensive line and Minor just might have the tools to contribute. Will he get his shot during his freshman year?