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UNT commit talks SMU offer

By: Billy Embody

SMU was thought to have been done adding skill players in the 2015 class, but apparently not.

Last night, coach Steve Broussard offered 3-star Edmond Santa Fe (Okla.) defensive back Ashton Preston.

Preston had camped at SMU the past two summers and had contact with SMU from the camp last year and then it died down. After camping this year, Preston and Broussard built the relationship back again after he performed well.

Preston is a North Texas commit though and will now be faced with deciding between the two schools. Preston says he’s always been looking out for other options though.

“It doesn’t really affect it at all,” Preston said. “I am committed to North Texas, but I let them know that I was going to keep my options open so we’re all on the same page and we know what can happen.”

With the offer, his second, Preston is now looking to visit SMU for the second time this summer.

“I talked to coach Broussard last night and we’re trying to set up a visit in the next two weeks,” Preston said.

Since Preston has visited SMU before, he knows what to expect and likes a lot of different aspects of SMU ‘s campus.

“I just like the atmosphere. Everything is just so family oriented,” Preston said. “The fans are great. They’re really loving and caring. The big thing is I can get a great degree from them. It’s a great school academically. That’s my big focus and that’s very top of the line.”

Preston wants to major in business and minor in kinesiology at SMU. With academics as a major focus, SMU stands to put up a good fight for Preston’s services.

A major part of that fight will be how Preston relates to his recruiting coach, Steve Broussard. It’s going well so far.

“He’s a real down to earth guy, a guy I can really relate to,” Preston said. “He’s a real funny guy and he’s real nice.”

Preston has also started to build a relationship with SMU head coach June Jones.

“I actually met him at the first camp and then I talked to him a couple days ago through email,” Preston said. “We’re starting to build a relationship up. Coaches are a big part of my decision so everything’s great there.”

As a corner, it’s important to have confidence and Preston believes he’s one of the best in the country.

“Technique wise, I stand out. Technically, I’m probably the best in the country hands down,” Preston said. “I’m a very physical corner. I’ll come up and hit you if I have to. I make sure I get my hands on you.”

The biggest thing coaches like about Preston is his combination of size and strength.

”The big thing is everyone likes my length cause I’m a 5-11, 180-pound corner so a lot of people like that and my long arms,” Preston said. “Along with passing the eye test, that helps too.”

Preston has also worked with local defensive back guru Clay Mack, even though he lives in Oklahoma.

”He’s helped it a lot. From me being a little, scrawny 150-sophomore to becoming who I am.” Preston said. “He’s probably the main reason why I’m in this position right now. I owe him everything.”

Preston still comes down to work with Mack twice a month now. Preston says he grew up in Lewisville coming down during the summers to stay with his aunt, which makes the possibility of playing at UNT or SMU that much more special.

“That would be great because it’s close to home so even my family in Oklahoma could come and watch me,” Preston said.

The 3-star DB couldn’t put a percentage on UNT or SMU having an edge at this point though.

Preston visited UNT last weekend and plans to head back to Denton for SMU vs. UNT. Preston also has received interest from California, Texas, Houston and Louisville to name a few.

2017 point guard calls SMU “perfect fit”

By: Scott Sanford

Since Larry Brown arrived at SMU, the Hall of Famer and his entire coaching staff have not stopped recruiting Team Texas Elite of the AAU circuit.

Guys like Matt McQuaid, Jawun Evans, Elijah Thomas and Chris Giles have all received SMU offers and are high on the Mustangs’ list in their respective classes, just like 2017 point guard C.J. Roberts.

Roberts spent his first high school season of AAU basketball with Team Texas Elite and formed bonds with a lot of the older players.

“Me, Matt (McQuaid) and Austin (Grandstaff) are cool, but me Elijah (Thomas) and Tyler (Williams) are brothers now,” Roberts said. “We talk to each other everyday and we even just made a group chat with us in it.”

Elijah Thomas, who’s one of SMU’s top targets in the class of 2015, has even started sharing his thoughts with Roberts about SMU.

“Elijah told me that SMU would be a good fit for me because Coach Larry Brown would let me play and Tyler said the same thing,” Roberts said. “But they told me they won’t really start helping me out with my recruiting until I’m a junior.”

While it’s still early for Roberts, he thinks about his recruitment everyday and knows SMU could be a good fit for him.

“I think SMU, Coach Larry Brown, a hall of fame coach, that’s just a perfect fit,” Roberts said. “Not too many colleges can beat that.”

Roberts has already been to the Hilltop multiple times to workout and has spoken with Larry Brown every time he makes the trip.

While Roberts and Coach Brown have an “okay” relationship, the rising sophomore said he has an even better relationship with Brown’s top assistants.

“I have a strong relationship with Coach KT (Turner) and Coach Ulric (Maligi),” Roberts said. “They’re like family. I can call Coach Ulric and Coach KT to just talk about life and how my life is going and we won’t even speak about basketball.”

Roberts’ relationship with the SMU coaching staff is a big reason he has the Mustangs in his top 2 at the moment, along with UT-Arlington.

The 6-foot-1, 160-pound point guard already holds offers from UTA, SMU, TCU, Illinois, Baylor, LSU Texas A&M, Kansas State and Purdue, but does not want to make his decision until his senior season.

Nelson talks SMU interest

By: Scott Sanford

While the 2017 class is still three years away from officially signing with colleges, some of the top prospects in the class are already receiving high interest and praise from schools across the country.

Houston Elite point guard Ricky Nelson Jr. is one of those players whose recruiting is starting to heat up.

Nelson does not hold an offer from SMU just yet, but he has been in contact with Coach Larry Brown and his staff for quite some time.

“I started hearing from them (SMU) when I was in eighth grade,” Nelson said.

The 6-foot-1, 165-pound rising sophomore has only spoken with Coach Larry Brown once, but has kept in contact with assistant coach Ulric Maligi.

“I have a pretty close relationship (with coach Maligi) because my dad has been around the AAU circuit and my dad had some of the players he (Ulric) has been recruiting,” Nelson said. “My dad had a relationship with him when I was young so that has just carried on to me having a relationship with him now.”

Because of Larry Brown’s reputation, and SMU’s reputation as an up-and-coming program, Nelson is very interested in the Mustangs.

“I’ve heard it is a really good program, and I’ve heard they have really nice facilities, but what stands out to me is Larry Brown of course,” Nelson said. “He’s a Hall of Fame coach, he’s had a ton of success and it’d be great to play for him.”

Nelson said SMU is “up there” on his list of schools, but it’s still too early to name any favorites.

Nelson also plans on visiting SMU’s campus this fall for a football game, as well as the Lamar and UT-Arlington campuses.

Besides SMU, Wake Forest, Creighton, Texas A&M, UT-Arlington and Lamar have expressed interest in the Houston native the most, but Nelson only holds offers from Lamar and UTA.

2015 RB has no timeline on a decision

By; Demetrio Teniente

Chris Warren is on the cusp of his senior season of football for Rockwall High School. The 6-2 235 pound running back, is sitting on top of over 20 scholarship offers from some of the nation’s best programs.

All he has to do is picking one- a task the 2015 commit has found to be easier said than done.

“You’d think that someone in my place would be leaning towards something,” Warren said. “But I’m not leaning towards anything- and I’m not really happy about that.”

Warren is frustrated with the process and with himself. This is what he has worked so hard for- he just can’t make up his mind where to go.

However, what bothers him is that his inability to decide has a greater area of impact outside of himself.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to go to all these places and I think you should be able to help out other people and yourself by figuring out where you are leaning towards,” Warren said. “Or at least have some general idea where you want to go.”

Warren has already visited most of the schools who have offered him, but none have stood out to him as clear front runners. He has a list of what he is looking for in a University: academic support, good medical program and a prestigious football team.

The problem for Warren isn’t that the school he has received offers from doesn’t meet his needs; it’s that a lot of them do.

“That’s what makes it so hard,” he said. “There are multiple programs, I just don’t know which one I would prefer to go to or be at. “

Warren doesn’t plan to visit any more schools, but says he might visit SMU one more time because it is so close to home.

He also says that he may not know where he is going to go until he absolutely has to make a choice.

If that is the case, then all the schools that have made him offers still have a shot at getting him to commit to their programs, including SMU.

2016 top WR talks summer training

By: Demetrio Teniente

Dylan Crawford is one of the top wide receiver prospects in the class of 2016 and has drawn a lot of interest from various programs.

This summer, the wide receiver from La Canada, California, went around the country to visit a bunch of the schools that have offered him or expressed interest in him, including: Michigan, Notre Dame, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, Florida St., USC, UCLA, Oregon, and Oregon St.

“My summer’s been good,” Crawford said. “I just knocked out a bunch of visits to a bunch of schools and now school’s starting up so I’m just getting back into high school football.”

In between his visits and after he was done, the 6-1 175 pound wideout spent time training with his wide receiver coach.

“I’ve just been doing a bunch of different drills,” he said “Doing different stuff to try and step up my game and get better. I’ve been trying to improve my footwork and press releases, because you always got to be able to get off the press to get open.”

Crawford is a talented athlete and knows it- which isn’t a bad thing. One area of his game where he feels the most confident is his ability to make plays on the ball.

“Wherever you throw it,” he said. “Outside, inside, on sideline, down low, I’m going to go get it.”

At the moment, Crawford is unsure where he wants to play. Part of his indecisiveness comes from the difficulty in communicating with coaches from schools.

“It’s hard because I’m still a junior right now,” he said. “After September first they can contact me but until then it’s still hard to know.”

Crawford says that he has given thought to SMU but is undecided on whether he will make a trip to Texas to visit SMU in the future.

Jackson Koonce Q&A

By: Andrew Hattersley

SMU commit updates summer

By: Patrick Engel

SMU wide receiver commit Lamont Johnson may not be the most heralded prospect, but he is still important to SMU recruiting. By landing the 6-foot, 160-pound Johnson, wide receivers coach Jason Phillips showed that SMU wants to make recruiting South Oak Cliff (Dallas) players a priority.

Phillips did a commendable job building a relationship with Johnson, and it paid off when Johnson committed at SMU’s camp in June. But Johnson and the coaching staff have been in touch less since his commitment.

“A few days after I committed I talked to him,” Johnson said. “That’s on my part, I should be calling him more.”

The lack of contact between the two parties is not a concern, because Johnson said he is firmly committed and enjoys being an SMU commit.

“It’s really just a great opportunity,” he said. “Mainly because it’s a good school, and football-wise, I think it’s just great for me.”

Johnson said he has not visited SMU much since the June camp, but he says he is planning his official visit for a game day in the fall. He said he will talk to Phillips about picking the date.

South Oak Cliff is one of Dallas’ powerhouse public school teams, and Johnson said he thinks the Golden Bears will have another strong season. Full team practices have just started, and Johnson said the team is already off to a strong start after a successful summer.

“I think we can really go all the way if we keep our composure and stay humble,” Johnson said. “It’s been going really well; We’re getting everything down. [I’m working on] my speed and staying low.

Johnson said he has not run a 40-yard dash in a while, but clocked a 4.5 the last time he did run one. He said he thinks he will play both outside and in the slot for SMU.

A.J. Justice Q&A

By: Andrew Hattersley

Q: How is camp is going so far?
AJ: Camp’s going pretty good, there’s a lot of competition out there in the secondary especially with us 4, me, GB, D Rich and Shaq so it’s going pretty good.

Q: How about that interception today in the back of the endzone?
AJ: Oh you know just making plays, coach is putting me in the right position just got to capitalize.

Q: Looking forward to the season?
AJ: Yeah it should be exciting, we got a lot of playmakers on defense, so we’re gonna hear that TD song a lot of times.

Q: What’s your biggest focus?
AJ: The biggest focus is just bringing the younger guys along and guys just polishing their craft and getting plays done.

Q: What’s your biggest focus during the season as an upperclassmen?
AJ: Just staying healthy. Camp is a long process and the season is even longer so just staying healthy and taking care of my body is something I strive to do.

Q: It’s getting late in camp, what about the competition level out there?
AJ: Yeah everyone is battling for positions, just trying to stay healthy and like I said get some sleep.

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