SMU Football Recruiting Track and Field, Rugby Athletes

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP

    Southern Methodist head coach June Jones is challenging the status quo in college football when it comes to recruiting.

    "World class athletes, if they've played football for eight or 10 years, they're probably going to Tennessee, Alabama, Texas or USC," Jones said. "We probably wouldn't be able to compete on those guys."

    So, Jones has positioned his recruiting bulls-eye squarely upon largely untapped markets and projects.

    In other words, Jones is after world class athletes who have never played football.

    His primary target? So far, it's been track and field, but eventually, Jones has his eye on rugby players in South Africa.

    "Unless you're the number one guy in the world (in track and field or rugby), you're probably not going to make a lot of money," Jones said.

    When SMU succeeded in 2013 in converting super-athlete Margus Hunt from a shot putter into a second-round NFL Draft pick, Jones decided to expand his feelers in the track and field world. And now, just two years later, history looks to be repeating itself.

    Bo Antunovic was an All-American shot putter at UT-Arlington before deciding to transfer and play football for the Mustangs. At 6-foot-6 and nearly 300 pounds, Antunovic is projected to start for SMU's offensive line this fall, and Jones recently told Fox Sports he believes the native of Serbia will be drafted in 2016.

    If Antunovic's name is called in two years, he would be the fourth player to make his football debut in college under Jones and then to be drafted by an NFL team (twice at Hawaii, once at SMU).

    "I do have a little bit of a track record and can identify an athlete and a guy that might be able to do what we need him to do in three or four years," Jones said.

    It's an outside-the-box approach that requires a little extra work teaching the game early, but has an enormous return-on-investment when players not even on the radar of opponents become future NFL draft picks.