Neroes 100% committed to SMU

Three-star linebacker Damien Neroes said that even if June Jones had left for Arizona State, he would have stayed committed to SMU. Neroes took his official a few weeks ago and discussed how the visit reinforced his decision.

Damien Neroes would have stayed committed to SMU even if June Jones had left for Arizona State.

Quite the refreshing statement for SMU fans to hear.

Neroes, a 6-foot-1, 220-pound linebacker out of Garland, took his official visit the weekend after Jones had almost left. Neroes said the head coach told all the recruits that weekend – twice – that he would be staying.

"We didn't talk about it too much," Neroes said. "Just kind of blew it off. Everybody just wanted to have a good time. I mean, [Jones] cleared up some ifs and buts, but got it out of the way so we could enjoy ourselves."

Neroes said once all the recruits got to campus on Friday, Jones addressed the issue and then Sunday when each player had his one-on-one with Jones (with their parents) he reassured them one more time.

"He gave us his word and all I can do is believe him," Neroes said.

Neroes admitted that if Jones had left he may have looked around at other schools, but said that he would have stayed a Mustang.

This was the three-star linebacker's second visit to campus, but first time to really explore the football facilities.

"I knew it was going to be nice, but it was just a totally different environment…it opened my eyes a lot," he said. "I've never been around anything so high class. I liked it."

Neroes said all of the recruits got along that weekend. Heading into the visit, he already knew Lincoln Richard (Everman) and Elie Nabushosi (Heritage) – they'd gone to SMU football games together earlier in the season.

Neroes got to meet defensive coordinator Tom Mason's family and said the two, who have a solid relationship, got to talk a lot during the visit. Neroes said Mason told him he'd get playing time as a true freshman.

The visit was also the weekend after SMU was announced as a new Big East member. Neroes said being in a BCS conference is just an extra perk to his commitment.

"To me, that's more shine, that's more publicity, that's more everything," he said. "And it's better competition, too, so we're not just beating nobody's. We're actually playing someone better and getting the chance to go out and beat somebody better. It's a good opportunity for the team and for the school."

Garland didn't make it far in this year's state playoffs – they lost in the first round to Mesquite in overtime by a field goal – but now, Neroes says, is the time to focus on college.

Neroes runs track – he says his personal best in the 200 meters is 21 seconds flat, and he also throws the discus.

But other than that, his focus will solely be on getting ready to play football at SMU.

For more SMU coverage, follow Laken Litman on Twitter!

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