Coming into the season, it was a 50/50 chance that SMU freshman Kyle Padron would play. Listed early in the season as the No.3 quarterback on the depth chart, SMU coach June Jones wanted to get him experience, but did not want to just waste his red-shirt. Six months later, the Southlake Carroll product finishes with one of the best quarterback ratings in the country, the highest for a freshman.
“I would have told you were crazy. It’s a good feeling. I still know there is a lot more to go. I still have a lot to learn. That is why I’m starting right now. I have been throwing to Chayse (Joubert) and Ryan (Walker)," said Padron. "I need to go out and try to get better every day. The sky is the limit, and I’m looking forward to getting better.”
Padron finished the season 5-1 overall as a starter, setting a SMU single game record with 460 yards passing against Nevada in the Mustangs’ bowl game. SMU entered as the biggest underdog in the bowl season.
“It’s been a fun couple of weeks. It was awesome to get back to Dallas and see how the fan base reacted to it. I don’t think anyone, including ourselves expected to go out and dominate the way we did. It was fun to see their reaction,” said the freshman. “We knew that they had some weaknesses in their secondary, and if we could hold our protection, we would be okay. That is exactly what we did. The offensive line had a great day and we limited our mistakes. We might have had one or two bad plays, but overall we had a great day.”
With the graduation of Padron’s biggest weapon in Emmanuel Sanders and the early departure of Shawnbrey McNeal, more pressure will be put on Padron along with other members of the 2009 class.
“There are going to be guys that step up that no one that has ever heard of. It’s going to be fun to get some new faces in and go from there. We will have a good season next year,” said Padron.
The SMU coaches are not publically announcing Padron as the team's No. 1 headed into the spring, but his play over the last six games has made him by far the front runner. With sophomore quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell transferring, Padron is the only SMU quarterback headed into the fall with significant experience on the field.
“We don't really get caught up in that. We will get everyone equal reps or close to equal reps, to try to get everyone ready. It's not something we announce or anything,” said SMU offensive coordinator Dan Morrison. “We just go in and do it. With this offense, you need two to three kids ready to go in and win. They are the center piece.”