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College Sports: 5 SMU players who exceeded expectations in 2018, including how Reggie Roberson softened the blow of key WR departures

The 5-7 Mustangs fell short of reaching the postseason, but individual achievements are still worth celebrating. Here’s a look at five SMU players who exceeded expectations in 2018:

1. Reggie Roberson, WR

The Mesquite native and West Virginia transfer was an exciting offseason addition.  Roberson helped replace the production of receivers Courtland Sutton and Trey Quinn, who departed for the NFL. He tallied 802 receiving yards and six touchdowns. He also returned kicks for over 200 yards, including a 98-yard TD return vs. Navy. If not limited by nagging hamstring, back and ankle injuries throughout the season, his stats could have been even more impressive.

2. William Brown, QB

The true freshman quarterback played a majority of the second-half snaps in SMU’s 45-20 loss at Michigan. He won the starting job for a few games — in wins vs. Navy and Houston Baptist — while junior Ben Hicks struggled to lead the offense consistently. His sample size is small, but Brown nailed his first impression and proved to be a viable option. That experience should benefit him as SMU moves into life without Ben Hicks, who is transferring in the offseason.

3. Braeden West, RB

While it may be strange to see West, a senior and former 1,000-yard rusher, on an “exceeded expectations” list, that’s exactly what he did. During a season when SMU’s running game vanished at inopportune times, West proved to be somewhat of a constant. While Xavier Jones and Ke’Mon Freeman battled early-season injuries, West carried the load like he did in 2016. West didn’t have a 1,000-yard season, but was the sole player who kept SMU’s ground attack from looking completely anemic.

4. Delontae Scott, DE

Scott’s first two seasons on the Hilltop were relatively quiet, be he undoubtedly embraced a much larger role in 2018. He finished the season tied for second on the team in sacks (4.5) and third in tackles for loss (10.5).

5. Elijah McQueen, S

Another defender who stepped up in 2018, the sophomore McQueen placed top five on the team in total tackles (64). Just two years removed from being a two-star recruit with no “power five” offers, McQueen is proving to have serious upside.

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