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Veteran defenders answer call, earn starting spots for SMU

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Amid all the talk about a defense-heavy freshman class this spring and summer, SMU head coach Chad Morris called out several experienced defensive players to prove themselves. Some of them did, and they are listed as starters for Saturday’s season opener vs. North Texas.

At SMU’s media day on Tuesday, Morris and defensive coordinator Van Malone lauded senior Nick Horton’s transition from linebacker to defensive end. After three years at linebacker, he is listed as a starter at defensive end.

As a linebacker, Horton struggled. He started the first four games of 2015, but hardly played afterward. He has only 16 career tackles in three seasons. Now he is back to the position he played in high school.

“Nick has done a great job in the spring and in the summer and he it has shown up in fall camp,” Malone said. “Nick was all for this move. And for us, it was an opportunity to get a guy who works hard, who loves the game, who gives great effort and who wants to contribute to a place where he can be successful. And moving him to defensive end has proven so far to be exactly the thing that has helped him.”

In his first spring practice press conference earlier this year, Morris challenged senior defensive tackle Zelt Minor to live up to his status as a highly touted recruit. Five-and-a-half months later, Minor is one of SMU’s starting defensive tackles.

read more:  http://www.smudailycampus.com/sports/veteran-defenders-answer-call-earn-starting-spots-for-smu

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