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February 9, 2007
The Mustangs added 23 players on National Signing Day. Among those were four defensive backs. Following is Part II of a four-part look at the players signed by SMU this year.
S/WR (6-2, 200), Lawton, Okla. (Eisenhower)
ANALYSIS: Bailey was hardly under the radar during the recruiting season, but stayed quiet under signing day as to where he would commit. His 4.4 speed is a welcome asset to the SMU secondary. His resisting the lure of multiple Big 12 schools to sign with SMU gives the Mustangs some extra credibility within the top-tier high school circles.
STATS/AWARDS: Rated as the No. 51 athlete in the nation by Rivals.com and the sixth-best player in Oklahoma. Bailey is one of SMU's four three-star recruits according to Rivals.com. Made 78 tackles as a senior on defense, and caught 41 passes for 669 yards and five touchdowns as a receiver on offense while also playing four other positions during the season. Earned all-state honors in football and has also lettered in basketball, averaging 21 points and eight rebounds per game.
BENNETT SAYS: "He's a warrior on the field. We had our eye on him from the get-go. Coach (Eric) Roark did a good job staying with him from the beginning. He'll be in the secondary for us, but we may want him to do some other things for us too."
WHO ELSE RECRUITED HIM? Had offers from Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Colorado, Iowa State, TCU, Missouri, Kansas State, Kansas, Vanderbilt, and Wyoming.
CB (5-10, 165), Dallas, Texas (Hillcrest)
ANALYSIS: Bell fits into the athlete mode more than a position player. He'll start out in the secondary, but could fit into plans elsewhere on offense or special teams. He rarely left the field in high school, which Bennett was always quick to mention about graduating safety and former All-America candidate Joe Sturdivant also. Hopefully, Bell can settle in quickly ? this will be his fourth school in four years.
STATS/AWARDS: He is another of SMU's three-star recruits by Rivals.com, who placed him 62nd on its national defensive back prospect list. ESPN.com rated Bell as the 12th-best cornerback prospect and the nations' No. 143 recruit overall. Opponents rarely threw Bell's way, limiting him to only three interceptions and seven pass breakups. He made 59 tackles and returned two kickoffs for touchdowns. Bell runs a 4.4 40-yard dash.
BENNETT SAYS: "He's a ball hawk and a true cornerback. He finds his way to the ball, and reminds me of (former Kansas State player) Jemetrius Butler, who's playing for the St. Louis Rams now. We offered him very early, and (assistant coach) Joe Tumpkin stayed with him. He has potential as a return guy. Staying close to home and having his family come watch him play meant a lot to him."
WHO ELSE RECRUITED HIM? Baylor, TCU, Tulsa, UTEP, Colorado State, Kansas.
S (5-10), 185, Leavenworth, Kan. (Garden City CC)
ANALYSIS: May be the first member of this class to see the field. Dennis is already enrolled at SMU and will take part in spring drills. His speed at safety should allow SMU to play more man-to-man coverage and withdraw from over-using its zone packages.
STATS/AWARDS: Dennis was an All-Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference performer last season. He grabbed two interceptions, running them back for a combined 92 yards and a touchdown. Dennis is timed as the speediest of SMU's recruits with a 4.34 40-yard dash, and has a 36-inch vertical leap.
BENNETT SAYS: "He can help us immediately in the secondary, and can play either safety or corner. He has as much explosiveness as anyone I've seen on film. He has tremendous strength. We have to play evolve on defense to playing more man-to-man coverage with our safeties. He fits into that plan."
WHO ELSE RECRUITED HIM? Utah State, Western Kentucky.
S/CB (5-10, 170), Brookshire, Texas (Royal)
ANALYSIS: Initially, the jury's still out on Emerson, who didn't play football his senior year in high school after starting on the varsity in eight grade and running out of eligibility. He's already enrolled, and will participate in spring drills to knock off any rust. He's another defender-first who might also play on offense and special teams.
STATS/AWARDS: Was an all-state selection and district MVP as a two-position player at Brookshire Royal his junior season. He played eight different positions in his varsity career. Emerson registered more than 2,000 yards rushing and 400 passing that season. He clocked a 4.35 40-yard dash at a summer camp, and returned five kicks for touchdowns.
BENNETT SAYS: "He reminds me a lot of Emmanuel Sanders coming out of high school. He didn't play his senior year, which kept some other schools away from him. We're thinking to redshirt him, but he can contribute in the secondary right away if we need him to. He might also return kicks."
WHO ELSE RECRUITED HIM? Boise State, Houston.