SMU hiring Oklahoma DPP J.R. Sandlin to recruiting staff

On3 imageby:Billy Embody02/19/24


Ross Dellenger breaks down SMU's NIL advantage

SMU is hiring Oklahoma football Director of Player Personnel and Recruiting J.R. Sandlinaccording to Matt Zenitz of 247Sports. The move further addresses support staff for Rhett Lashlee’s program as the Mustangs head to the ACC.

Sandlin, who has been with the Sooners the past two years, is expected to be hired as SMU’s assistant athletic director and football general manager, according to Zenitz. A source could not confirm Sandlin’s title to On3, at the time of publishing.

He has served as an important piece of coach Brent Venables‘ staff, overseeing much of OU’s recruiting efforts. Before his time in Norman, Sandlin spent eight years as recruiting coordinator, tight ends coach and senior executive head coach at Jacksonville State.

Sandlin’s role at OU involved helping evaluate talent and organize recruiting events. He had an integral behind-the-scenes role for the Sooners.

SMU has five commitments in the 2025 recruiting class, which ranks No. 21 nationally. The group includes four-star Duncanville (Tex.) quarterback Keelon Russell, four-star DeSoto (Tex.) wide receiver Daylon Singleton, three-star Duncanville (Tex.) defensive back Javion Holiday, Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy defensive back Elijah Pratt and Arlington (Tex.) Mansfield Timberview defensive back Nathan Tilmon.

With Sandlin on board, the Mustangs continue to address needs to elevate its recruiting efforts in the ACC.

“I do think after we’ve had a full year, year and a half of time through the conference, we maybe have a better answer for that,” Lashlee said of SMU’s recruiting efforts. “This 2025 class will be the first full class we’ve kind of realized from ACC recruiting. I think the thing that’s to our advantage is you could argue, you could argue ever, but specifically in the last four decades, there’s not been a better time to come to SMU and play football. We’re in the city of Dallas. It’s No. 1 in the country for jobs. Sports Business Journal just called it No. 1 for sports and business. It’s the Top 5 media market. We have a great institution. 

“We’ve won as many games as anybody in the last five years (in Texas). We won a conference, going to the ACC, we got the facilities. Everything’s hitting all at once. The thing you’ve seen is kids wanna play on the highest level. I think for a long time, guys that wanted to be able to stay home and play in Dallas and come to SMU and get that degree and those things. But when it came down to it, they wanted to play BYU, Florida State, Louisville, TCU, all those people on schedule. And we didn’t have that, and now we do.”

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