The Hilltop Review

Every Saturday morning, the Pony Stampede staff will provide exclusive stories and information on SMU basketball, football, and recruiting that you can't find anywhere else!

Return Of Printz?

By EJ Holland

Earlier this week, we learned that UCLA had released former SMU quarterback commit Eddie Printz from his scholarship. So what does that mean for SMU?

While some might say absolutely nothing, I have reason to believe otherwise. A source explained that SMU quarterbacks coach Dan Morrison has been in contact with Printz once a month while another source close to the situation said SMU would definitely be an option.

Although neither Printz or his father returned our calls, it's clear things could get interesting. Although SMU currently has a verbal from Kolney Cassel, in my opinion, Printz is a very special talent and would be too good to pass up on.

We do know that Missouri is definitely an option for Printz. He will be taking an official visit there on Oct. 12

Weekend Visitors

By EJ Holland

1. TE Jeremiah Gaines, Red Oak

2. WR Jarvis Baxter, Lakeview Centennial

3. DB Trey Washington, Gilmer

4. DE Justin Lawler, Pottsboro

5. WR T.V. Williams, McKinney (2014)

6. WR Tyrique Edwards, Sachse (2014)

7. LB Bryan Husdson, Sachse (2014)

Note: There will be other big time guys like Jordan Points, Jay Arnold, Brandon Simmons, and others here to see A&M

Basketball Notes

By EJ Holland

- There will be two visitors on campus this weekend. One is Jordan Mickey, who I fully expect to be a Mustang sooner rather than later. The other is 2015 center Elijah Thomas, who is considered the top sophomore big man in the state and will be a top 50 national prospect

- The staff extended a couple of offers this week including to 2013 shooting guard Sterling Brown, the younger brother of Phoenix Suns guard Shannon Brown. 2015 point guard Prentiss Nixon also picked up an SMU offer. He is a teammate of Ben Moore, who will be visiting SMU next weekend.

- Moore picked up an offer from Northwestern, which could be a big problem for SMU. Moore is a Chicago native and will also make an official visit there.

- While in Chicago this week, the staff visited Moore as well as St. Rita brothers Charles and Dominique Matthews, who both have SMU offers

- The staff also made an in-home visit with the Harrison twins this week. Soon after, they cut their list down to SMU, Kentucky and Maryland meaning Baylor and Villanova are eliminated. The twins will be visiting SMU on Sept. 27 and will not be seeing Kentucky again

- Marcus Foster is off the board. He committed to Kansas State earlier this week. SMU was losing interest in him so no surprise here

- SMU watched 2015 Plano West SF DJ Hogg work out on Thursday. Earlier in the week they also checked out the Prime Prep kids and Keith Frazier

- While at lunch this week, Beionny and I saw Markus Kennedy for the first time. He looks slimmed down but still has his arm in a sling

Roberson Enjoys In-Home Visit With Brown

By Billy Embody

2013 four-star forward Tyler Roberson recently had a high-profile guest in his home for an in-home visit. The guest was none other than SMU head coach Larry Brown, who has hit the recruiting trail with passion and drive while going after top talent.

"We talked about the school, the basketball program, the academics. I really learned a lot about the program," Roberson said.

Roberson's parents were also present during the meeting, and it was a big deal to them that Brown was there. But he also wowed them with everything the Mustangs have to offer.

"They were impressed with what Coach Brown had to say. They liked it a lot," Roberson said.

Roberson is about ready to make his top five, which will include SMU. The Mustangs have been near the top of his list for a while now, but he is taking the recruiting process slowly.

"I'm close to having one, but I'm still deciding which ones are going to be in it. I'm close though," said Roberson.

Roberson will visit SMU on Sept. 27 and would like to have his decision made by the fall signing date.

Podcast: Preview With Dallas Morning News Texas A&M Blogger Sean Lester

Phillips Watches Ayers

While Jason Phillips hasn't landed as many recruits as SMU fans expected, he could catch a very big fish in Lancaster athlete Demarcus Ayers. Phillips was at Ayers' game last Friday when he scored three touchdowns and helped his team upset No. 1 Tyler John Tyler.

"I had a chance to speak to Coach Phillips after my game against John Tyler," Ayers said. "He called me the next day and told me that I played a really good game. It was great to hear from him since I hadn't heard from him since the offer. He told me to keep working."

Although Ayers doesn't have SMU in his current top three, he still maintains high interest in the Mustangs.

"I'm still interested in SMU," Ayers said. "I like their style of play. They're kind of air raid so I feel I could fit in and be explosive with the ball. I'm still solid to Washington State but I want to take all of my visits to see what I like so right now I'm open to hearing from other schools."

Ayers says he will definitely take official visits to Washington State, West Virginia and Illinois. But he would also like to check out LSU, Tulsa and SMU.

Houston-Area Point Guard Visiting Soon

By EJ Holland

The Village (TX) point guard Isaiah Taylor will be joining the long list of basketball visitors that will be on the Hilltop these next two weekends. Taylor is unsure if he will be here on Sept. 21 or Sept. 28 but is excited to see SMU after speaking with Ulric Maligi earlier this week.

"I spoke to Coach Maligi on Sunday. He just told me that Larry Brown wants to keep looking at me and evaluating me," Taylor said. "He said they'll be down here next week to check out my practice and going over things with my parents. I will definitely be going up there before the end of the month."

Taylor says SMU is in his top two along with Oklahoma State, which extended an offer in late July.

"They really jumped on me and showed me a lot of love," Taylor said. "I saw a lot of their games last year and they play up-tempo. That's my style of basket so they really intrigue me."

Taylor will be visiting Oklahoma State on Oct. 15 and added that visits to Long Island and Santa Clara are possible.

Baxter Recaps Visit

By EJ Holland

When SMU hosted Stephen F. Austin last weekend, Jarvis Baxter was on hand to watch the Mustangs dominate in their home opener.

"The game was great," said the SMU commit. "I was happy to see a blowout. I even left at halftime because I already knew SMU had the win. The fan support was nice. For the home opener, there was a decent crowd."

While on the Hilltop, Baxter was able to mingle with other SMU commits including fellow wide receiver JaBryce Taylor.

"I got to talk to JaBryce Taylor for little while. We talked about being teammates at SMU and how the team was playing offensively," Baxter said. "It was great to finally meet him. I also got to talk to Nick Horton and Kent Myers so I enjoyed talking to those guys."

Joining Baxter on his visit was teammate Marquis Denmark, who is hoping for an SMU offer. Baxter said Denmark was very impressed with the environment at SMU.

"I talked to Marquis a lot about SMU," Baxter said. "During the game, I was even helping him out with the Pony Ears sign. When he got home, he updated his Facebook with SMU in his bio so I think he really liked it."

Baxter will be back on campus to watch SMU face Texas A&M today and is confident the Mustangs can keep up with the Aggies.

"I think we can get them. We have a chance," Baxter said. "If we start off like we did against SFA, things can get out of hand. But if we start strong, we definitely have a chance."

Denmark Nearing Offer

By Beionny Mickles

It seems as though SMU is targeting yet another Lakeview Centennial (TX) player in defensive back Marquis Denmark. Denmark, who converted from wide receiver to cornerback this season, says that he was very impressed with SMU's ability to get takeaways in the SFA game, which SMU won by 52.

Denmark saw SMU force 10 total turnovers in the game and got a chance to speak with defensive coordinator Tom Mason after the big win.

"He asked me how I liked it and I said I liked it a lot," Denmark said. "I'm a cornerback and a defensive type of person so with the interceptions and blocked punts, getting to experience the game was really nice."

Denmark has yet to receive any offers but says that he thinks Tulane and Rice are close and want him to visit one of their home games. Denmark also says that an offer from SMU might be in the works as well.

"I think they're real close," said the 5-foot-11, 150-pound senior.

Before visiting for the SFA game, he had previously attended an SMU practice with teammate and SMU commit Jarvis Baxter. Denmark says that he walked around the campus and talked to Baxter about the possibility of being teammates at the next level.

"I walked the campus with Jarvis Baxter and we were talking about what it would be like if we all came to the same school because we play together at the same high school right now," Denmark said.

Denmark, whose best time 40-time is a 4.54, says that although he likes corner better he could see himself playing safety as well because of his height and speed. During the summer Denmark worked on his footwork because of the transition from wide receiver. He says that once he gets his feet how he wants them to be everything else will fall into place.

Denmark says that SMU would probably second on his list if they offered behind Tulane. Wherever he ends up, Denmark says that playing college football would be a dream come true, and he wants to go as far as the sport will take him.

"It would mean a lot. It'd be a dream come true," Denmark said. "Since I was a kid I've always liked playing football, and I want to keep playing. However far I get, I'm going to keep going until I stop."

Parks Confident In His Play

By Beionny Mickles

After giving up 784 passing yards in two games and helping Baylor QB Nick Florence to be ESPN's highest rated passer with a rating of 209.5, the SMU Mustang defense goes into A&M on Saturday ranked 116th only ahead of Hawaii, Louisiana Tech, and West Virginia, who all have yet to play their second game.

SMU cornerback Chris Parks entered the starting lineup late in the summer after then starter J.R. Richardson suffered a season ending ACL tear. Parks says that he thinks he's played well so far but had room to improve and help this defense. "I feel like I've played well but there's still room for improvement," Parks said. "You can always get better out there." In the first two games, both Baylor and Stephen F. Austin went after Parks early and often and continued to throw his way throughout the duration of both games. Parks says that he welcomes quarterbacks who throw to his side of the field because it gives him a chance to make plays on the football.

"It feels good," Parks said when asked how he felt about quarterbacks testing him. "There are more opportunities to make a play on the ball. You want teams to test you so you can let them know that you can do it."

Parks, who is second on the team with 16 total tackles, will be facing an A&M team led by freshman dual-threat QB Johnny Manziel on Saturday afternoon as well as returning wide receiver Ryan Swope, who burned SMU a year ago for eight catches, 108 yards and a touchdown.

Parks says that he's been spending time in the film room looking at A&M's techniques, tendencies, and things that they do to get off of the line of scrimmage. Parks says the SMU secondary feels confident that they will have a better day against A&M's passing attack as long as they stick to their own fundamentals and techniques.

"On the ends they have some speed," Parks said. "Swope he's a quick shifty guy. We're just working on our fundamentals to go out there and lock them up. We feel confident in ourselves. They're not the fastest we've seen so as long as we do our fundamentals right we'll have success."

Parks, who was held out of practice on Thursday, has been nursing a hamstring injury and says that he's day-to-day but should be ready for the 2:30 kickoff at Ford Stadium on Saturday. But look for Keith Robinson to possibly see some action.

2014 Prospect Checks Out SMU

By EJ Holland

Sachse junior quarterback Kent Myers has taken the Texas high school football scene by storm especially here in Dallas, where he is quickly establishing himself as one of the most dynamic athletes in the area.

In his firs three games, Myers has passed for 931 yards and 11 touchdowns and has also rushed for 389 yards and seven scores. It's even scarier because Myers keeps getting better game-by-game. On Thursday night, he scored nine total touchdowns against Grapevine. Yes, nine!

Since this is his first year starting at quarterback after playing mostly receiver as a sophomore, the 6-foot-1, 175-pounder hasn't heard from many schools. But he did recently watch SMU destroy Stephen F. Austin.

"It wasn't really a visit but I decided to check out their game against Stephen F. Austin," Myers said. "I thought it went pretty good for them. They forced some big turnovers and overall, they played pretty good. I also saw Jarvis (Baxter) by the concession stand and he said what's up. We've played against each other before so it was pretty cool.""

Myers, who says he could play various positions at the next level, believes he can be a great fit in SMU's Run N' Shoot offense.

"I believe I could see myself playing there if they continue to show some good things," Myers said. "I haven't gotten to see the campus so I'm not too familiar with SMU yet. I haven't heard for their coaching staff yet either, but I would like to."

As of now, Myers has only received mail from LSU, Iowa and Nebraska. It would definitely be smart to jump on this kid early.

Thomas Still Interested In SMU

By EJ Holland

This week, assistant basketball coach Ulric Maligi watched all the Prime Prep players work out including shooting guard Shirmane Thomas, who holds an offer and is interested in hearing more about the program.

"My interest level in SMU is really high right now," Thomas said. "I talked to Coach Ulric the other day, and I've known him since he was at Houston. I'm just looking forward to talking to Larry Brown to find out more about SMU."

Thomas' teammate Jordan Mickey will be on the Hilltop for an official visit the Saturday and although he already has a visit set up for Santa Clara, Thomas would still like to see SMU with Mickey in the near future.

"Jordan and I talk about going to school together all the time," Thomas said. "Maybe we can make that happen but I don't know yet. I know he really likes SMU so it could be a possibility."

Thomas will also visit Creighton next week weekend and Wichita State on Sept. 28. Others schools that have offered include Nevada, Pepperdine and North Texas.

Indiana Wide Out Hoping For SMU Offer

By Russell Palmer

Evansville (IN) wide receiver Aaron Killebrew holds high interest in SMU, despite living over 700 miles away from the Hilltop.

Killebrew, a 5-foot-10, 165-pound play maker says although he has not made contact with the SMU coaching staff recently, but is still interested in what SMU has to offer after initially speaking to Jason Phillips this past spring..

"I have a lot of interest in SMU, but I haven't talked to them in a while," he said.

Killebrew has not visited the Hilltop yet, but he still believes that SMU is in the mix along with a few other schools.

"I'm also looking at Indiana, Kentucky, Indiana State and Georgia Tech," Killebrew explained.

Killebrew says that the first few games of his senior season will determine whether or not schools that he is interested in will offer him and was happy to report that he got his first offer a few hours before he talked to me and says more could come.

"I got an offer from Indiana State today," he said. "They [IU, UK and Georgia Tech] just really want to see the film of the first few games, and I sent that all out this morning, and Indiana State was the first to get back to me."

Killebrew understands how valuable a DI offer is, and how hard it is to come by, and says that because of this, he is willing to travel to wherever he needs to in order to make this happen.

"It doesn't matter at all [proximity to home], I'll go anywhere," he said.

Last season, Killebrew caught 44 passes for 594 yards and eight touchdowns. He also recorded 31 tackles and five interceptions as a defensive back.

Lawler Reschedules Visit

By EJ Holland

SMU commit Justin Lawler was supposed to see SMU vs. Stephen F. Austin last week but couldn't make it due to personal reason. However, he has some good news for Mustang fans.

"My mom just had surgery so I couldn't make it down there, but I'll be at both the A&M and the TCU games," Lawler said. "Hopefully, they can pull off wins in those games. I just want to see them play hard."

Despite not making the trip, Lawler paid close attention to the game and was impressed with SMU's 52-0 blowout win.

"It was good to know that they bounced back," he said. "I'm sure it was good for their confidence. It was beautiful. "

Lawler says he has not heard from any other schools and has no other visits planned at the moment.

"My commitment is pretty solid. I'm still committed," Lawler said. "I haven't heard from any other schools or anything. I've just been keeping in contact with Coach (Bert) Hill for now."

Reed Facing Familiar Foe

By EJ Holland

When SMU takes the field today, Taylor Reed will be keying on one Aggie in particular- former high school teammate and Texas A&M running back Christine Michael.

"I talked to him after last year's game, and he told me he got me," Reed said. "I just reminded him that we would play again the next year. Hopefully, I'll have that one-one-shot in the hole. He's a great player and a great friend, but we have a nice friendly competition going."

But Michael is just one of many Texas A&M offensive weapons that Reed and his defense will have to worry about. Against Stephen F. Austin, the unit scored four touchdowns but gave up a lot of yards. In fact, the defense ranks 116th in the country, but Reed is not concerned.

"We're not worried about the yardage we gave up since they ran over 100 plays.," Reed said. "Really, it gave us confidence so but we have to keep on forcing turnovers and playing with more energy."

Reed and the rest defense have been in the film room everyday studying up on Kevin Sumlin's explosive offensive scheme. Last year's Texas A&M game film has been thrown out the window. Instead, the focus has been on the 2011 Houston Cougars.

"We've been watching Houston game film and we also took a look at their game against Florida last week," Reed says. "They did a lot of similar things at Houston so we're just watching as much film as we can. We've seen enough to make a game plan, and we're ready for them."

The senior MIKE linebacker knows that win in a game of this magnitude can do wonders for SMU. But he know in order to pull of the upset, the defense will have to step up and force redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel to make mistakes.

"Texas A&M has a great program and the SEC is a tough conference. But we just have to come out here and play well and expect to win. They have an experienced offensive line that's pretty sound," he said. "They will run the ball and they also have great receivers. The quarterback may be a redshirt freshman, but he put up some freakish numbers in high school. Watching him on film, he's pretty good and can make plays. We just have to pressure him early."

Campbell Hopes To Hear From SMU Again

By Beionny Mickles

2013 defensive back Colby Campbell out of Whitehouse (TX) says that he expects to receive his first offer in the near future.

"I'd probably say Texas State, North Texas and Tulsa," Campbell said. "I've been talking to them a lot."

Those three haven't been the only schools that have contacted Campbell however UTSA, Houston, Memphis and Oklahoma State have also expressed interest in the senior cornerback.

Campbell says that he is also interested in SMU but has not heard from them since the end of his junior football season. Campbell says he hopes to get in contact with the Mustangs soon and would put them in his top five if they were to offer.

"I had talked to them earlier at the end of my junior football season but that was probably the last time," the 5-foot-11 175-pound. athlete said. "I'm probably going to try to get in contact with the recruiter from my area."

Campbell, who has primarily been recruited as a safety, says he has had the opportunity to see the Mustangs in action and was very impressed with the play of former SMU safety Chris Banjo. "I've seen them play a couple of times," Campbell said. "I saw Chris Banjo play and I really liked his game and how the safeties played so that really drew my interest to them."

Campbell, who has visited Texas State, Tulsa and North Texas over the course of the past six months, has recently been working on his speed and strength with athletic trainer Bobby Stroupe at the A.P.E.C (Accelerate Performance Enhancement Center). Campbell says that the training facility has helped his him immensely.

"We do strength two days, speed two days and then we have another day where you can get in anything extra that you want," Campbell said. "It's real good. It's produced a lot of athletes."

Higginbotham Loses Contact With SMU

By Billy Embody

Cincinnati Day (OH) linebacker Zach Higginbotham is a relatively and unknown name for SMU fans, and it will likely stay that way as Jason Phillips has not been in contact with Higginbotham, who holds offers from FCS schools and Western Kentucky, for a long while.

"I haven't heard from them too much," Higginbotham said.

Although he has not heard from the coaches, if SMU was to get in contact, the 6-foot, 220-pound linebacker would be very interested in SMU he says.

"I know they're going to the Big East and they're doing good things and they have a good coaching staff," said Higginbotham.

SMU currently does not reside in Higginbotham's top five of schools he is interested in, which includes Cincinnati, Boston College, Northwestern and a few schools from the MAC. Higginbotham will be visiting BC, Cincinnati and Northwestern and will wait for SMU to contact him.

Higginbotham's strength is stuffing the run and staying inside the box, but he is improving other aspects of his game.

"I'm kind of a rangy linebacker, but I do real well inside the box and I am improving at playing in space, but I do best downhill," he said.

A Look At How A Few Of The SMU Commits Did….

- Jarvis Baxter caught six passes for 82 yards and a TD in a 28-24 win over North Mesquite

- Jeremiah Gaines caught two passes for 42 yards and also scored a rushing touchdown in a 28-24 loss to Crowley

- Jesse Brubaker caught four passes for 70 yards in a 34-31 win over Denton Ryan

- Nate Halverson scored three total touchdowns in a 42-26 loss to Sunset

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