SMU Mustangs

CLEMSON, SC - OCTOBER 01: Lamar Jackson #8 of the Louisville Cardinals looks to pass under pressure from Scott Pagano #56 of the Clemson Tigers during the second quarter at Memorial Stadium on October 1, 2016 in Clemson, South Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
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Nearly three dozen teams show interest in Clemson grad transfer


It was expected there would be a significant market for a Clemson defensive lineman leaving the Tigers as a graduate transfer. Suffice to say, that is indeed the case.

This past week, Dabo Swinney‘s football program confirmed that Scott Pagano would be leaving the team and transferring elsewhere. The head coach also revealed that the tackle would “probably” end up at a West Coast school to finish out his career.

Teams in that part of the country are indeed interested in the one-year rental, as are myriad others as is reporting that 32 made contact with the lineman in the hours after his impending pending departure was announced. Arizona State, Cal, Oregon, USC, Washington and Hawaii are among the teams out west who have expressed interest.

A handful of Power Five programs further east have expressed interest as well, including Arkansas, Baylor, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisville, LSU, Maryland, Nebraska, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Purdue, Texas and Texas A&M. Group Five teams that have shown interest include Charlotte, East Carolina, FAU, FIU, Louisiana Tech, Memphis, SMU, Temple and Utah State.

Coming out of high school in Hawaii as a four-star 2013 recruit, Pagano was rated as the No. 24 tackle in the country and the No. 2 player at any position in the state. Pagano started 13 games the past two seasons, four of which came in 2016.

SMU formally adds ex-Texas assistant to Chad Morris’ staff

DALLAS, TX - NOVEMBER 26:  Davis Luster #43 of the Southern Methodist Mustangs enters the field before a game against the Navy Midshipmen at Gerald J. Ford Stadium on November 26, 2016 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Reports earlier in the week stated SMU had targeted a former Texas assistant.  Thursday night, those reports came to fruition.

SMU confirmed in a press release that Chad Morris has hired Jeff Traylor to be his running backs coach.  Additionally, Traylor will carry the title of associate head coach.

The past two seasons, Traylor had been Charlie Strong‘s tight ends coach and special teams coordinator at the University of Texas.

Traylor was a long-time assistant and head high school football coach in the state of Texas prior to moving on to UT.  After playing football in the state, he remained as a coach in some capacity from 1989-2014.  H won three state championships during his time as a head coach.

“We are excited to add Jeff to our staff,” said Morris in a statement. “He has deep ties to Texas high school football, particularly in east Texas, and I consider him one of the bright offensive minds in college football. I’ve known Jeff for 15-20 years and I know he’ll add a lot to our program.”

SMU expected to name former Texas assistant as new associate head coach

DALLAS, TX - OCTOBER 22:  Head coach Chad Morris of the Southern Methodist Mustangs leads the Mustangs against the Houston Cougars in the second half at Gerald J. Ford Stadium on October 22, 2016 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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Two Texas high school football coaches are reconnecting again, this time at the college level.

SMU head coach Chad Morris is expected to hire former Texas assistant (and longtime high school coach in the state) Jeff Traylor to his staff, according to several reports. ESPN Central Texas notes that the move is expected to come with an associate head coaching title as well.

Traylor was a splashy hire by former Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong and was brought onboard in Austin to help connect with coaches around the state as well as recruit players who were familiar with him winning several state championships at the high school level. He recently served as tight ends coach and special teams coordinator the past two years but was not retained by Tom Herman and did not follow Strong to South Florida.

The move should strengthen ties to local recruits even further for the Mustangs, who have boasted quite a bit about the school signing exclusively in-state players since Morris took over the team.

Independents and Group of Five National Signing Day Recap: Irish bounce back, Memphis tops AAC

SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 15: Head coach Brian Kelly of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish is seen during the game against the Stanford Cardinal at Notre Dame Stadium on October 15, 2016 in South Bend, Indiana. Stanford defeated Notre Dame 17-10. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
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Outside of the Power Five conferences, recruiting went about as expected in 2017.

Notre Dame continued to pound the national trail and landed a top 12 class full of players who will be expected to play early. BYU managed another impressive group that was one of the most diverse out there. The schools with a talent-rich backyard to draw on did well in the AAC.  Boise State was once again tops in the Mountain West and did better than a few peers in the region. And yes, Lane Kiffin earned that recruiting reputation by pulling in the best class of Conference USA.

Though there wasn’t much drama outside the top schools, there nevertheless was plenty of action for many programs on National Signing Day.

Top recruits (all rankings via 247Sports Composite): No. 67 overall Brock Wright (TE, Notre Dame), No. 154 overall Chaz Ah You (DB, BYU), Aisa Kelemete (DE, Boise State), Nick Robinson (TE, Memphis), Nicholas Sims (RB, Toledo)

Top classes: Notre Dame (No. 11 overall), Memphis (No. 58 overall), Boise State (No. 60 overall), BYU (No. 65 overall), Florida Atlantic (No. 71 overall), Toledo (No. 74 overall), Texas State (No. 87 overall)

Biggest storyline: Irish still land solid recruiting class

Despite the worst season in South Bend since Charlie Weis and a nearly brand new coaching staff, Notre Dame still managed to cobble together a top 12 class on Signing Day. Tight end Brock Wright was the highest rated player and should see early playing time but the number of quality offensive linemen was really evident in the group Brian Kelly signed. Will it be enough to help with a big turnaround? We’ll see.

Biggest surprise: Memphis runs away with things in the AAC but new coaches still fared well

Given all the turnover in the American this year, it should probably come as no surprise that the Tigers pulled the top recruiting class in the conference. That’s a testament to what Mike Norvell is building with the program and the fact that they don’t have to go far for players. Many of the same factors played a role in Scott Frost landing the second-best class at UCF. It was also pretty impressive what Luke Fickell did on the recruiting trail at Cincinnati and Charlie Strong did at USF given those two didn’t have a ton of time to get things lined up.

Don’t sleep on: Boise State, Colorado State

The Broncos were once again the class of the Mountain West on the recruiting trail and fended off several Pac-12 schools for prospects. That will put them firmly in the mix to win the league again in 2017 but don’t overlook another good job by Mike Bobo and staff at Colorado State in landing 17 three-star players.

We’ll see about: Everybody else

Miami a potential landing spot for former Clemson RB

CLEMSON, SC - NOVEMBER 22: Tyshon Dye #23 of the Clemson Tigers carries the ball during the game against the Georgia State Panthers at Memorial Stadium on November 22, 2014 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Tyler Smith/Getty Images)
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Tyshon Dye has already left one ACC school, but, in the end, he may not be leaving the conference.  Maybe.

According to, Miami offensive coordinator/running back Thomas Brown has been in contact the transfer running back about a potential move to the Hurricanes.  In fact, according to the report, Brown told Dye that he has a spot on Mark Richt‘s team if he wants it.

In addition to The U, SMU and nearly 10 other schools have shown interest in the back.

Two weeks ago, reports surfaced that Dye had decided to transfer from Clemson.  The rising fourth-year senior will be leaving the defending national champions as a graduate transfer.

A four-star member of the Tigers’ 2014 recruiting class, Dye was rated as the No. 14 running back in the country.  The Georgia high schooler chose Clemson over offers from, among others, Auburn, Georgia, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Tennessee and USC.

After running for what turned out to be a career-high 151 yards as a true freshman, he ran for 91 in 2015.  Dye’s 109 yards during the Tigers’ run to the title was tied for sixth on the team.