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!

Phillips Stops By Dallas Lincoln, Checks Up On TCU Commit

By EJ Holland

2014 Dallas Lincoln wide receiver Emmanuel Porter may already be committed to TCU, but that didn't stop SMU wide receivers coach Jason Phillips from stopping by to sell SMU earlier this week.

"It was cool having SMU check out my practice," Porter said. "Coach Phillips told me that I was invited to SMU's game against TCU this weekend. Other than that, I didn't get to talk to him much, but he did seem like a cool guy."

Porter said he will in fact be on the Hilltop for the game and hopes to learn a little bit more about SMU as the recruiting process runs its course over the next year.

"I like SMU," he said. "I know a little bit about them and saw that they were coming up. I've watched a few their games. I really like that they're close to home because I would like to stay around here."

Porter added that his commitment to TCU is not solid and he's still open to hearing from other schools. As of now, SMU and North Texas are the only other programs to show interest.

A pure athlete, Porter plays for Deron Williams Metro Elite AAU team and is also a member of Lincoln's regional 4x200 team and has run a 21.6 in the 200. The 6-foot-5, 185-pounder, who has 4.5 speed, still has another year to develop and is focused on having a superb junior season.

"The season has been going good, but we've had trouble at quarterback," Porter said. "We made a switch after the first game so we're still trying to click. I think we should have good season though."

Hill Checks In On Top Prospect

By EJ Holland

The bye week gave coaches the opportunity to hit the road and check out some of the area's best prospects. SMU defensive line coach has Lewisville defensive end Hendrick Ekpe at the top of his board and recently saw him in action.

"Coach Hill came to my game against Ennis," Ekpe said. "It was really cool that he came out. There was no pressure. I just went out there and played. I didn't make a sack, but I made a few tackles and played well."

Ekpe said SMU is still in his top four along with Houston, Minnesota and Tulsa. The two-star prospect has developed a great relationship with Coach Hill and speaks to him frequently.

"I'm still very interested in SMU," he said. "I've kept in contact with Coach Hill, and he's been telling me the basics. I didn't get to talk to him after the game, but I will soon."

Ekpe has an official visit planned for Minnesota in two weeks and will also see Tulsa the weekend after. He said he will not be taking an official to SMU and probably won't check out a game since he's focused on the season. Ekpe also said he wants to make a decision by the end of October.

Visitors List

By EJ Holland

TE Jeremiah Gaines, Red Oak

ATH Ronnie LaRue, Red Oak (2014)

DB Payton Hendrix, Red Oak (2014)

DE Justin Lawler, Pottsboro

DB Trey Washington, Gilmer

RB Chans Colbert, Copperas Cove

WR Emmanuel Porter, Dallas Lincoln (2014)

QB Blake Bogenshutz, Carthage (2014)

VIDEO: SMU QB Garrett Gilbert Talks TCU, Learning Offense

Austin Wants To Hear From Phillips

By Russell Palmer

Lancaster cornerback Dakota Austin has multiple Division I offers, including ones from Big Ten and Big 12 schools, but the three-star prospect is very interested in what SMU has to offer him and has them high on his list.

"My interest is SMU is high right now," he said. "But I haven't really gotten a lot of attention though."

Austin, who has been recruited mainly by Jason Phillips, is unfortunately yet another example of a talented recruit who maintains interest in the Mustangs but has heard nothing from the coaching staff.

Phillips, however, was at his game earlier this season to watch both Austin and Washington State commit Demarcus Ayers play against Tyler John Tyler. The two would like to visit the Hilltop together in the near future.

"I would like to try to visit at the end of the season," Austin said. "Me and DeMarcus have talked about going to a school together, but we aren't that serious about it."

Austin says he is not ‘leaning towards any schools right now' but hopes to make his decision by January

With no schools in the lead for Austin, and the fact that he holds high interest in SMU despite having little contact with the coaches, it will be interesting to see if the coaching staff increases their interest in the talented corner.

Colbert Hoping For SMU Offer On Unofficial Visit

By EJ Holland

Copperas Cove (TX) running back Chans Colbert is still waiting for his first offer but is hopeful he will finally pick it up when he visits SMU on Saturday.

"Out of any other school, I'd rather go to SMU," Colbert said. "It's in the middle of Copperas Cove and Oklahoma, where a lot of my family lives so it's a perfect location. The football program is the first to take interest, and I've always liked SMU."

But Colbert has not heard from the SMU coaches directly. Instead, he has kept in contact with people in the recruiting office and has received numerous letters including his invitation to the TCU game.

"I would like to get to know the coaches and see SMU play live," Colbert said. "I've talked to a few people that deal with recruiting and received a couple of letters from their coaches. They invited me to take an unofficial visit, and I use that as motivation on my locker."

The 5-foot-9, 190-pounder rushed for 630 yards and scored nine total touchdowns last season. Colbert believes he can play a variety of positions at the next level and thinks he would be a good fit in the Run N' Shoot offense.

"I'm not only a running back, I also play slot receiver," he said. "I can bring a different packages to the offense and also be a blocking back. I think I have good strength but my best attribute is my elusiveness."

Colbert, who has also received interest from Air Force, says he would commit to SMU immediately if he picked up an offer this weekend.

OL Commit Visits SMU

By Beionny Mickles

Class of 2013 offensive lineman Brian Taylor got the opportunity to see the Mustangs live in action against the Texas A&M Aggies two weeks ago. Although the Mustangs gave a very poor showing on the offensive side of the ball, Taylor still enjoyed his time on campus.

"I thought it was a great experience," Taylor said. "They took a select few of us to the locker room before the game started so we got to see a couple of the players. It was a great experience. I'm just looking forward to next year."

SMU was outnumbered by the hundreds of Texas A&M fans that packed the stadium and the ratio significantly decreased going into the fourth quarter. However, Taylor said that the atmosphere was one that he'd never felt prior.

"I had never gotten the chance to experience that before. The whole crowd started yelling and the stadium started shaking," Taylor said. "It was pretty great." During his visit, the 6-foot-4 270-pound offensive tackle got the chance to talk with recruiter and defensive line coach Bert Hill as well as offensive line coach Bob Palcic.

"They were just telling me they were glad to see me there," Taylor said. "They're looking forward to making some of my games and their ready for me to be down there next year."

Coach Palcic, who arrived at SMU in March, has earned the reputation of bringing intensity to the practice field and often gets very vocal with his offensive linemen. Taylor said that he expects to benefit from Palcic's style of coaching because he likes to get fired up.

"I think that's great, it gets me going," Taylor said about the edge that Palcic brings in his coaching. "I love coaches that try to get us fired up because it makes you have a great game."

Taylor, who thinks that he has played well thus far, says that his team has much to improve on before districts. The night prior to SMU's thrashing, Taylor's Pittsburg Pirate team had a similar outing.

"Yeah everybody has one. We had one the day before where we'd gotten beat 48-7 so it was almost like déjà vu," Taylor said. "We were having the same problems so everybody has those days."

SMU Loses Interest In Taylor

By EJ Holland

Just two weeks ago, The Village (TX) point guard Isaiah Taylor couldn't stop raving about SMU. But things recently took a huge step backwards.

"SMU kind of fell off," Taylor said. "They became really sketchy and basically stopped recruiting me. It was pretty disappointing."

Now, Taylor is focused on Oklahoma State and Alabama. Taylor has an official visit planned for Stillwater on October 20 and will also see Alabama soon after. Taylor has canceled visit plans to SMU.

"Oklahoma State is the school that has been showing me the most love." he said. "Alabama started recruiting me really hard after they lost out on another player."

But Taylor would still be interested in SMU if they were to reconnect this month. He plans to make a decision after his official visits.

"If SMU jumped back in it, I would still be interested," Taylor said. "I would never pass up an opportunity to play for Larry Brown."

SMU OL Healing Quickly

By Beionny Mickles

Head Coach June Jones stated earlier this week that guard Jordan Free probably wouldn't have played if there were a game last week. This week, Free says he has progressed and should be ready to go on game day.

"It's getting better," Free said. "Monday I was still feeling it pretty good but I've been doing rehab so it's almost all the way back. I'd say it's about 85 percent."

SMU's offense has struggled at times in each of its outings and the offensive line hasn't played particularly well- partially due to guys being dinged up. Free says that this past bye week really helped the Mustangs form chemistry and hopefully it can pay dividends against a tough TCU team.

"We're still trying to figure each other out," Free said. "I think our timing is off a little bit but the bye week has really helped us to get to know each other better. Everything will fall together at TCU."

Free says that TCU has been running a few special packages on defense that the offensive line will be focused on. He says that protecting the quarterback and opening running lanes for Zach Line will be the primary objective against a TCU defense that has given up an average of just four points a game.

"They're running some dog looks that we really want to focus on," Free said. "We obviously want to protect our quarterback, and in doing so also open up some holes for Zach to run the ball up and down the field."

With rain expected in Dallas on Saturday, Free said that Line will most definitely be a big part of their offense.

"He's always a big part of our game plan," he said. "He's going to go out there and he's going to run it hard like he always does, get some tough yards and hopefully he can stick some in the end zone."

2014 Linebacker Recaps Visit

By Russell Palmer

2014 Sachse (TX) linebacker Bryan Hudson is in the early stages of his recruitment but has started to look into what SMU has to offer, and likes what he sees.

"I like how they play," he said. "I like the way they play defense, and I like how physical their linebackers are."

Hudson, who has already racked up an impressive 24 total tackles in the first four games of his junior campaign, visited the Hilltop recently and was impressed by the game day atmosphere and facilities.

"I went to the Texas A&M game," Hudson said. "I liked the school, and I really like the campus and stadium too."

Hudson says that he holds interest in some top tier programs, but did not sound particularly thrilled about one school.

"I'm interested in Baylor, Arizona State and USC," Hudson said. "I visited Baylor, and it was alright."

Hudson has gained a better understanding of what it takes to play on the college level throughout his visits, and knows what aspects he needs to improve on to thrive at the next level.

"I want to improve on my reading of offenses and making plays," he said.

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