Gaines: "I can see myself playing for SMU"

Red Oak athlete Jeremiah Gaines has nine offers, including one from SMU. He's visited the Hilltop twice in the past five weeks and could definitely see himself playing for the Mustangs. He doesn't plan to narrow down his list until after spring ball and a couple summer visits, though.

Jeremiah Gaines was one of about 40 prospective recruits that attended SMU's final spring practice last Saturday.

Gaines, who went to the Mustangs' Junior Day about a month prior to Saturday's visit, loves being on the Hilltop.

"I liked it," he said. "I can see myself playing for them. I mean, it's a great academic program, I can see myself playing there and it's close to home and that's a good plus."

Gaines, a three-star, 6-foot-3, 235-pound versatile athlete out of Red Oak High School (Red Oak, Tx.), holds nine offers, including ones from Syracuse, Purdue, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, TCU and SMU. He's not opposed to going out of state, but would prefer to remain closer to home. Then his family could come see him play.

Gaines does not have a leading school at the moment. He plans to wait to narrow things down until after spring ball, which just began on Monday.

Listed as a middle linebacker, Gaines also plays on the outside and at safety for Red Oak. He can also switch to offense. In fact he says he prefers it. And when he spoke with June Jones on Saturday, Gaines recalls the head coach telling him he could play anywhere he wanted at SMU.

"He said I could play any position I wanted to," Gaines said. "I could play tight end or receiver or linebacker, whatever I wanted. Right now I play linebacker and safety, just depending on what my team wants me to do. But it doesn't matter [where I play]."

Gaines, who is being recruited by SMU defensive line coach Bert Hill, said he got to meet a couple other coaches over the weekend and tour the campus for the first time. When he was at SMU for the junior day, he saw the athletic facilities but didn't get a chance to walk around the school.

"It was impressive," he said.

Ultimately when choosing a school—something he hopes to do before the fall season starts so he won't have to worry about it and can just focus on football—Gaines is looking for the perfect combination of academics and athletics.

"I'm looking for a great education, a place where my team can compete for a championship, conference and national championship, good facilities and coaching experience that can lead me to the next level," he said.

Gaines, who said his strengths on the field include his route running, speed and hands, plans to take a few other visits over the summer. He'll go to Tennessee to look at Memphis and Vanderbilt, and then to North Carolina where he'll check out Wake Forest.

Gaines has already visited Baylor, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M and TCU for those programs' respective junior days.

One school he hasn't heard from but is intrigued by and would like to hear from is Boise State.

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