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!

SMU Commit Shines in Huge Upset

By Beionny Mickles

SMU's top commit Jeremiah Gaines led his Red Oak (TX) team to an astonishing upset over the Lancaster Tigers, the number two team in the state, just last week. The 5-3 Hawks blanked Lancaster 17-0 at home behind Gaines' two touchdowns.

"Awe man it's a real blessed season," Gaines said. "I think we have a good thing going on down here right now. We have a weird bond with each other. We do some weird things, but we all understand each other, and we all just love each other."

Gaines, whose team is on the brink of qualifying for the playoffs, says that his coach advised the team to enjoy the win over the weekend but be prepared to get back to work on Saturday. This past Friday Red Oak will play at Waxahachie.

"We're not guaranteed anything yet," Gaines said. "We need to take care of business on Friday and then we'll take it one game at a time from there. That's our motto, one game at a time."

Gaines, who last visited SMU in their loss against TCU, said that the team didn't play well in that particular outing. Gaines said that the weather certainly didn't help the offense but the defense had a very good game.

Gaines says that he's been in contact with his recruiter, SMU defensive line coach Bert Hill, just about every week. Gaines says that he and Hill talk about each other's teams and how SMU is starting to pick things up on the field.

"They've been playing pretty well lately with the Houston win and the Memphis win," Gaines said. "They just need to keep that streak going. We still have a shot to win the conference if we beat UCF. They and Tulsa are going to be the two tough games we have left."

With SMU starting off the season slowly, losing games badly to Texas A&M and Baylor and suffering a disappointing defeat at Tulane a couple of weeks back, Gaines says that some of his teammates poke fun at him sometimes. However, he believes that SMU will finish strongly and take home the C-USA title.

"Oh I have complete faith in them," Gaines said. "People down here sometimes give me a hard time when they lose but it's all out of fun."

Gaines, who has amassed 341 yards and nine touchdowns rushing as well as 477 yards and six touchdowns receiving, says that he thinks that he's getting better as the season continues to roll on. Gaines also says that he has strengthened parts of his game that don't include him touching the ball as well.

"I think I've played decent over the course of the year," Gaines said. "I haven't been playing up to where I think I should be playing but each game I think I get better and better. One of my goals this year was to get better at blocking and I think I've progressed game by game."

SMU Commit Visits

By Beionny Mickles

SMU commit Myles Crosby visited the Hilltop last Saturday and witnessed SMU beat Memphis 44-13.

"It was awesome, It was so much fun," Crosby said. "I got to watch the game, and I got to go out on to the field after the game. I got a chance to meet up with Coach (Wes) Suan, and I talked to some of the other coaches again and hung out with my family."

Crosby said that Suan told him how excited he was that he had made it out to the event and he congratulated him on accepting the offer to SMU. But Crosby did not get a chance to speak with head coach June Jones or defensive coordinator Tom Mason while on the visit.

Crosby, who was accompanied by his family, said that they enjoyed their time on the Hilltop as well. Crosby says that his mother has fallen in love with SMU because of the close proximity of the campus from their neighborhood.

"They absolutely loved it," Crosby said. "My mom's happier than anything because it's so close to home."

Crosby, who hasn't received any offers since his commitment, says that he did receive a call from Tulsa right after he gave the verbal to SMU. Crosby says that he told them that he appreciated the interest but his decision to go to SMU was solid and final.

"When I committed, Tulsa called me within five seconds," Crosby said. "They called me and asked what was going on and if it was my final decision. I just told them that this was my commitment and I'm not going to be changing it. I'm solid to SMU "I'm not going to wait and not commit and get a bunch of offers just for my ego you know. Their commit list is already at 23 so I'm glad I committed when I did."

Crosby says that he'll be visiting the Hilltop within the next couple of weeks and looks forward to getting the chance to hopefully meet some of his future teammates.

Crosby's Colleyville Heritage team has already qualified for the playoffs entering the final few weeks of the season with a comfortable 7-1 record. The first round of the playoffs for Crosby will be hosted at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington and Crosby says he's looking forward to the experience.

"It's a once in a lifetime kind of thing," Crosby said. "My sophomore year I was on varsity, but I didn't get to actually play in the game that week so it was kind of disappointing, but it's nice to go back and be able to play in the game. I'm excited."

Record Breaking 2014 Wide Out Visiting Soon

By Russell Palmer

Although he is only a junior, Trae Hart can do it all. Hart is a standout wide receiver, defensive back and kick returner, which is why some top local schools have shown heavy interest in the young playmaker.

Along with Texas Tech and TCU, SMU has expressed interest in Hart, and have invited him to visit the Hilltop soon.

"I going to the game on November 10 (Southern Miss) because the coaches told me I should come see that," he said. "I already like the location, because it's close to home so I just want to see how the campus is, how the atmosphere is, and see what the academics are like."

The Dallas First Baptist Academy product has put up extraordinary numbers in his junior season, including an exceptional average of 165 receiving yards per game, and three games of over 200 yards receiving. In only eight games, seven of them wins, Hart has racked up an astounding 20 receiving touchdowns and isn't done yet.

"I want to try to get over 2000 yards on the season, and put over 300 yards in these last two games," he said.

Hart's video game like numbers have not gone unnoticed.

"I got invited to the USA Army National Combine, so I'm excited for that," he said.

As Hart's recruitment start to heat up, SMU would be smart to keep tabs on this local talent as he would be a great fit as the slot receiver in June Jones' Run N' Shoot offense.

LaRue Visits SMU

By EJ Holland

Ronnie LaRue should already be a familiar name for SMU fans. The 2014 Red Oak athlete has been to SMU multiple times this year and was recently on the Hilltop for another unofficial visit.

"This was my favorite trip for sure. It was really fun," LaRue said. "The fans were really into the game (SMU vs. Memphis), and I really liked that it."

Before the game, LaRue had the opportunity to speak with SMU defensive line coach Bert Hill and his new recruiter Jason Phillips, who will be taking over for Hill as the recruiter in that area.

"I got to talk to Coach Hill and Coach Phillips, and they told me how they liked me and stuff," LaRue said. "Coach Phillips is now going to recruit my area. He said Coach Hill told him about me he was up there at one of my games so I'm excited to get to know him."

LaRue is patiently waiting for an offer to come his way but has been attracting interest from top schools around the nation. Still, the 6-foot-1, 180-pounder currently lists SMU in his top three.

"I like the early playing time that I would get, and I like how it's close to home," LaRue said. "I like how I can build up my hometown program here in Dallas."

Proche Sees SMU

By EJ Holland

Joining Ronnie LaRue on his visit was 2015 Prime Prep wide receiver James Proche. The two played together in middle school and have kept a close relationship.

"I actually met Ronnie in seventh grade," Proche said. "Ever since then, we've talked about going to the same school together."

The school could very well be SMU.

"The visit was nice. Homecoming was cool," Proche said. "The running back was really good, and I enjoyed watching him play. The Johnson's were great out of the slot. I would love to play in that offense at SMU."

Proche is currently being recruited by SMU wide receivers coach Jason Phillips, who has a friendship with Prime Prep coach Deion Sanders. The two played together in the NFL and have kept in touch throughout the years.

"I talked to Coach Phillips, and he told me that he wants me to come out again so I can tour the campus," Proche said. "He has a good relationship with Coach Deion Sanders, and he just a really cool guy."

Although Proche still has a few years before he has to make a decision, the 6-foot, 175-pounder has SMU at the top of his list.

"SMU in my top five for sure," Proche said. "My mom wants me to stay in Texas, and it's close to home."

Mullins Interested In SMU

By EJ Holland

Anthony Mullins is still searching for a perfect fit but got a recommendation from former SMU safety Justin Sorrell to check out SMU.

"Coach Sorrell was telling me about SMU so I wanted to visit and check it out," Mullins said. "He told me that the coaching staff was great, and he could see me playing there."

Mullins listened to Sorrell and was on the Hilltop for an unofficial visit when SMU took on Memphis this past weekend.

"I love the campus and the game was pretty fun," Mullins said. "They spread the ball around they use receivers a lot. I talked to the receivers coach (Jason Phillips) for a little bit, and he seemed to like me."

Mullins does not hold an offer, but if SMU were to extend a scholarship, he would consider committing on the spot.

"I would definitely think about committing," Mullins said. "I got to talk to the fans, and they have a lot of support for SMU so I would really like to play there."

The 5-foot-9, 175-pounder plays defensive back and wide receiver for Bishop Lynch but says his future is on the offensive side of the ball. This season, Mullins has caught 36 passes for 317 yards and five touchdowns.

2014 Twins Like SMU

By Russell Palmer

FB Bush twins Donald and Ronald Monroe have spent their entire lives being compared to each other, and they like it that way. Ronald, a quarterback has spent his entire life throwing touchdowns to his brother Donald.

The set of brothers were scheduled to visit SMU during the Memphis win, but some complications came up as Donald explained.

"We were supposed to go, but out ride to campus cancelled on us, so we weren't able to go," he said. "I plan on going to one of there last home games."

Donald, a 6-foot-1 wide receiver, likes a lot of things about the Mustangs, especially the unique offensive system SMU runs.

"I like the way the play, I like the program, and I could see myself in that system," he said.

The set of 2014 recruits have attracted major interest from some top tier programs and although they are early on in the recruiting process, the are excited about the prospect of playing FBS football.

"In particular, Texas Tech, TCU, Boise State and Nebraska," he said. "I just plan on going to the college that best fits me."

Donald says he and his brother have no timetable for making their decision, and he is just excited to get back on the field as soon as possible after suffering a knee injury.

"I just came off an surgery for my injury from a torn meniscus, so I've spent the season on the injury list," he said.

A Look At How Some Of The SMU Commits Did…

- Dee Paul returned an interception for a touchdown and also scored on a punt return in an 82-0 win over Era

- Jesse Brubaker caught one pass for seven yards in a 50-26 win over McKinney North

- Jeremiah Gaines rushed for 80 yards and caught a pass for 23 yards in a 34-17 win over Waxahachie

- J'Marcus Rhodes returned an interception 34 yards for a touchdown in a 46-0 win over Bridge City

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