Kenneth Acker, SMU's top cornerback, could end up playing WR


SMU senior Kenneth Acker is on basically every preseason All-AAC team as a cornerback, but that could end up being his "other" position this season.

Acker expects to see time at wide receiver, and could end up spending the bulk of his time on offense.

"He's a talented player," Mustangs coach June Jones told the Dallas Morning News. "He can make an impact on both sides."

Acker (6 feet, 195 pounds) has started the past two seasons at corner and was a second-team All-Conference USA selection last season (SMU changed leagues in the offseason), when he had three interceptions and 12 pass breakups. He also returned a blocked field goal for a TD and saw some time as a punt returner. While Acker doesn't have elite speed, he is quick, elusive and has good size and instincts. SMU's scheme doesn't call for much press coverage, so he hasn't shown he can be a physical cover corner.

Acker has started 26 consecutive games at corner and was used some at wide receiver in the spring before he was shut down by a sports hernia.

"My goal is just to do everything I can on both sides of the ball and prove that I am an all-around football player," Acker told "I want to show people that I'm ready for the next level."

Acker played receiver in high school at Portland (Ore.) Grant, coincidentally Jones' prep alma mater. He also played quarterback and cornerback.

SMU returns two established receivers in senior Jeremy Johnson and junior Der'rikk Thompson, but the Mustangs lost four of their top seven receivers and don't have a true big-play threat. Acker has the potential to be a big-play guy.

Depending on what happens offensively, Acker could become solely a nickelback on defense. Senior Chris Parks is a returning starter, and coaches are high on two young corners, sophomore J.R. Richardson and redshirt freshman Horace Richardson (no relation). Both Richardsons missed last season with knee injuries. J.R. Richardson has excellent speed.

"He's got a chance to be a very special defensive player, and he can help us on offense," SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert said of Acker to the Morning News. " ... If we can find ways to get him the ball five, six, seven times a game, that's great. That just adds another dimension to the offense. When you have a special talent like that, you want to get the ball in his hands."

Mike Huguenin can be reached at You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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