Portal shopping? 5 non-quarterback transfers to watch
SMU was shopping for a transfer quarterback, and it scored big Tuesday evening, when Oklahoma transfer Tanner Mordecai announced his plans to finish his college career on the Hilltop.
Mordecai is a former Waco Midway standout – which means SMU returned another former Texas high school football player closer to home. Keeping the in-state talent in state has always been a priority for Sonny Dykes and his staff.
The NCAA transfer portal has been very good to the Mustangs, from Reggie Roberson (West Virginia) to Shane Buechele (Texas), from Kylen Granson (Rice) to Brandon Stephens (UCLA), from Chris Naggar (Texas) to Mike Williams (Stanford). What makes the portal such a weapon for SMU is that the program is able to grab some of the best prospects in Texas and bring them to a booming metropolis that not only is providing competitive football but also a solid academic reputation and postgraduation connections that are extremely difficult to pass up.
Mordecai is the latest player to transfer, as he will join former Oklahoma teammate Ty DeArman – who played his high school ball minutes away from the SMU campus at Arlington Bowie. Now that the transfer quarterback position has been resolved, the question shifts to two words: Who’s next?
SMU had 16 players sign during the early signing period earlier this week. A small class means there’s still room for the Mustangs to add impact players via the transfer portal. In addition to Mordecai, SMU recently added tight end Nolan Matthews from Arizona State -- who played his high school ball minutes away from University Park at Frisco Reedy.
Here are five players from the transfer portal – all from the Lone Star State – who could help SMU if both sides mutually agree.
RB Deondrick Glass | Oklahoma State
Katy, Texas/Katy HS
SMU’s running back quartet of TJ McDaniel, Ulysses Bentley IV, Tyler Lavine and TaMerik Williams combined for 1,618 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns in 2020. If Glass can be the dynamic backfield presence he was when he was at Katy High School, he definitely can help SMU’s young group. Glass redshirted in 2019 and didn’t play a game in 2020. He was a back who rushed for nearly 2,000 yards and 30 touchdowns as a senior at Katy, one of the dominant programs of Texas Class 6A football.
WR Dylan Wright | Texas A&M
Mesquite, Texas/West Mesquite HS
SMU managed to add a lot of quickness with its 2021 wide receiver class, but adding a player like Wright would mean having a physically imposing pass-catching option. Wright is a big, strong target who could be a matchup problem because of his size. The former Under Armour All-American caught 70 passes for 1,141 yards and 14 touchdowns in his final two high school seasons after starting out as a quarterback. With Texas A&M, Wright redshirted in 2019 and played in four games this season, but mostly on special teams.
LB Byron Vaughns | Texas
Fort Worth, Texas/Eastern Hills HS
Vaughns (known in high school as Byron Hobbs) entered the transfer portal in October, and he would be a solid addition to an SMU defense that will be losing some key linebackers. He recorded 14 tackles and a forced fumble in seven games last season but didn't register any stats in 2020. He's a strong-side linebacker who plays sideline to sideline, someone who could be a big-time contributor for defensive coordinator Kevin Kane. Adding Vaughns to the roster would be a nice shot at TCU, as he lives down the street from the TCU campus.
S Xavion Alford | Texas
Pearland, Texas/Shadow Creek HS
Alford is one of the newest members of the transfer portal, after sources reported his decision on Tuesday. Alford played in three games as a true freshman and registered four tackles. A four-star prospect out of the 2020 class, Alford is a high-ceiling player who reported more than 40 offers in high school -- including Power 5 programs Alabama, Texas A&M and Oklahoma. While he had trouble cracking the two-man depth chart at Texas, Alford could be an asset playing at SMU.
LB Hal Vinson | Texas State
Dallas/South Oak Cliff HS
Vinson could be a low-risk, high-reward player for an SMU team looking to build depth with its linebacker group. He was a three-year letterwinner for the Bobcats, and with the COVID-19 waiver for the upcoming season, he'll have one final season of eligibility. Vinson played 11 of 12 games for Texas State (he missed the season opener against SMU) and finished with 58 tackles (4.5 for loss), a sack, two quarterback hurries and three forced fumbles. Vinson would bring added toughness and experience to the Mustangs.