Big East move important to latest commit

SMU's latest commitment, Munday athlete Dee Paul, is the first prospect to talk about the importance of SMU heading to a BCS conference in terms of recruiting. He said the fact that the Mustangs are headed to the Big East in 2013 is part of the reason he decided to give his verbal pledge last week.

If SMU wasn't headed to the Big East Dee Paul's freshman year, the athlete out of Munday High School (Munday, Tx.) would not have committed to the Mustangs last week.

"One of the reasons I committed is because of the BCS conference," Paul said. "If they had been in Conference USA, I probably wouldn't have committed. I just like that (the conference status) a lot and hope we can make a run in the next few years."

This is the first time SMU is seeing the fruits of its labor in moving to the Big East. Many times kids say they don't care about conference affiliation, but Paul's comments prove how important moving to a BCS conference is for SMU. The Mustangs are now able to snag kids that they might not have been able to get before.

Paul was also receiving interest from Texas Tech and Washington State.

"SMU is coming back up," Paul said. "June Jones and what he does, he's a great coach."

Paul, who has been in contact with Jason Phillips, took a visit to SMU a couple weeks ago and got to meet the coaching staff, including Jones.

"He's a great guy," Paul said of the head coach. "We talked about school mainly and that's what I really like. I'm there to get an education first and be an athlete second."

Paul plans to major in sports management.

Paul plays quarterback at Munday, which is about three hours northwest of Dallas, but he is being recruited as an athlete. He said Phillips told him he would probably fit best at wide receiver, but that he'll also be looked at as a defensive back and kick returner.

"He's probably one of the best competitors I've been around in the last 20 years," said Ronny Lawrence, one of Paul's football and track coaches at Munday. "He is playing quarterback for us, but that's just because of our situation we're in, being a small school. We're going to take our best athlete and put him at quarterback."

Asked if he thinks Paul would thrive at a different position on the field, Lawrence had no doubts.

"He's a type of athlete who, anything he wants to do, he can accomplish," Lawrence said.

Aside from meeting the coaching staff during his visit, Paul got to walk around the campus and talk to some students about SMU.

"I really liked the school on my visit," he said. "My major really fits in and I talked to some guys there and they say it's a great place to go from a small town because there's [not an overwhelming student body population]."

During football offseason, Paul channels his inner track star. He competes in the sprint and mile relays, the long jump, triple jump and is a two-time state champion in the 300-meter hurdle. His personal record is 38.3 seconds.

Next weekend is the regional track meet and the week after that is state. Paul thinks he can win a third consecutive title.

When he gets a break from studying and track, Paul runs routes—since he knows he could end up at receiver in college—with some teammates. This summer he plans to hit up SMU's camps and a few other ones here and there.

Click here for a Dee Paul photo gallery.

For more SMU coverage, follow Laken Litman on Twitter!

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