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!

Moreira Signs With SMU

By EJ Holland

Save the best for last.

SMU basketball commit Yanick Moreira hopes the old cliché holds true as he was the last of the Class of 2013 members to sign his letter of intent this week. But Moreira is now officially a proud Mustang.

"It felt great to sign my letter," Moreira said. "My family was very supportive, and I feel I made the best decision for myself. I can't wait to go to SMU. I love the coaching staff and the players."

The South Plains C.C. star also received support from his current coaches.

"My coaches here at South Plains said that this was the best decision I have ever made in my life," Moreira said. "Everybody says I'm going to go in and make an immediate impact, and I hope I can do that."

As Moreira mentioned, the SMU coaching staff was a big factor in his decision. But it was head coach Larry Brown who truly made a lasting impact during the recruiting process.

"I kept in close contact with Coach Brown, and he's such a nice person," Moreira said. "I really think I'll enjoy playing for him because he's a teacher. I know all about his background, and I feel he can help me get to the next level."

With his decision out of the way, Moreira is focused on helping South Plains C.C. repeat as national champions. In his first two games, the 6-foot-11, 220-pound center registered back-to-back double-doubles.

"Everything is going well so far," he said. "We have a lot of work to do and there are a lot of games left but our main goal is to win another championship."

Baxter Hopes To Play Two Sports At SMU

By EJ Holland

With a playoff spot on the line, Jarvis Baxter's Lakeview Centennial team faltered under pressure and lost to Rowlett 36-29. But Baxter still had a nice season, recording 49 receptions for 763 yards and eight touchdowns.

"It was very disappointing to miss the playoffs, but my senior year was still great. We did some really good things and it was the best year of my high school career," Baxter said. "Overall, I would give myself a B+ because I made some mistakes but improved in a lot of areas."

Now, Baxter will begin training in the offseason by playing basketball and running track. The two-star prospect hopes these two sports will help him keep in shape and get faster. But the SMU commit also aspires to play basketball on the Hilltop for the legendary Larry Brown.

"I really hope Coach Brown comes out to one of our games. I've always wanted to play both sports in college," Baxter said. "I actually think I'm better at basketball than I am at football. I can play the one, two or three."

Baxter hopes he can speak to Brown about the possibility when he visits for next weekend's game. The SMU commit also hopes to speak to the football coaches due to a lack of communication.

"My commitment is 95 percent solid. It's getting there," Baxter said. "I haven't been hearing much from other schools. I haven't even heard from the SMU coaches in a long time. They haven't been showing much love."

Despite this, Baxter is excited about playing at the next level especially after hearing about SMU's new Big East division.

"The move to the Big East is just great. We get to compete against some great competition," he said. "The thing I'm most excited for is playing on the blue turf at Boise State. I can't wait."

Hines Picks New Mexico State

By EJ Holland

On Tuesday night, Dallas Kimball linebacker Brandon Hines was all set to commit to SMU. But the three-star prospect was unable to get his recruiter Jason Phillips on the phone. In fact, not being able to get in touch with Phillips was nothing new.

"Communication issues with Coach Phillips was an ongoing thing," Hines said. "When I was up there for the Memphis game, I got to speak to him in person. He gave me a new business card and told me they were still really high on me. He said to give him a call so I did.

"But I could never get in contact with him. I mean this man can't be that busy. For the last couple of days, I called him day and night. I even called him while I was at school and he never answered or returned my calls. My high school coach told me that SMU didn't have a lot of spots left so I tried to commit, and it just didn't happen."

On Wednesday, Hines received more bad news when Colorado State and Kansas pulled his scholarships. He had enough. Just hours later, he pulled the trigger and committed to New Mexico State.

"I got a call from a former teammate, and he said they were still very interested in me so I called the coaches and committed. New Mexico State is a sleeper team, and I'm all about building programs, but I guess I'm going to have to do it in a different state."

Kimball wide receiver Prentavious Morehead and running back Teriyon Gipson also hold New Mexico State offers and Hines says he hopes his high school teammates join him at the next level.

"Everybody wants to go to school with their homeboys," he said. "I can't speak for them, but I think we could all do something really special at New Mexico State."

EJ's Notebook

By EJ Holland

- SMU offered Los Angeles Salesian safety Kyahva Tezino. He holds no other offers at the moment.

- Larry Brown and Co. offered 2015 FB Clements point guard Coleman Edwards. He's a MaxPreps Freshman All-American.

- Atlanta Sports Academy's Deion Sanders Jr., Deontay McManus, and Eric Jenkins were on campus Thursday. I tried calling Sanders, but he's changed his number. I spoke to him a couple of times last year and he was always interested but SMU never offered like I thought they should have. This year, there is just not enough room for him. McManus was a former West Virginia commit so he would be a nice land at wide receiver but again, spots are limited.

- I have not been to any Highland Park games this season but I asked a stringer who covers them regularly about William Barns. He did not have any positive things to say and even went as far as to say that SMU was clearly not thinking when they offered. He also mentioned that Barns is only about 5-foot-11, 235-pounds. It's a little strange that he claims offers from Iowa State and San Diego State. But again, I have not seen him in person or his tape.

- As we know, Dee Paul and Everett Dickerson have picked up Oklahoma State offers. A source told me Jesse Brubaker could be next. Apparently they have been speaking to him and trying to convince him to go on a visit along with teammate Marcell Ateman, who is committed.

- I recently spoke to a professional scout and had the opportunity to get his take on the Run N' Shoot. He told me that the offense can work with the right personnel but in the ever-changing game of football, June Jones must be willing to adapt. He added that the offense defines June Jones and his unwillingness to change is not a surprise. He did say he still believes June Jones is a good football coach but as previously stated, he needs the right personnel. As far as the draft, he said Margus Hunt's stock has shot up while Darius Johnson's has declined. He also said Ja'Gared Davis could be a nice late round sleeper.

- I was at the Allen vs. Richardson game on Friday night and was very impressed with Byron Bonds. It's a shame SMU didn't jump on him because he would have been a perfect fit at nose tackle in the 3-4. I also like sophomore quarterback Kyler Murray as an athlete. He is the son of former Texas A&M quarterback Kevin Murray.

- I spoke to a former SMU player about his recruitment. He told me great things about Derrick Odum and his approach. It still surprises me that he is not utilized more as a recruiter. Anyway, he was also recruited by Jason Phillips at Houston and said Phillips was not very good at keeping in contact with him and even told him that he couldn't reach him so he wasn't surprised when I told him Phillips was struggling in the communication department.

- Prentavious Morehead committed to New Mexico State a day after Brandon Hines. I've liked Morehead since the spring and think SMU really dropped the ball with these Kimball kids.

- I can confirm that Kenneth Acker has a 95 percent chance of playing on the basketball team this season

VIDEO: Austin Fuller

Cassel Cancels Visit

By EJ Holland

SMU quarterback commit Kolney Cassel was all set to visit his future school but a Veteran's Day weekend delay at the airport kept him home.

"I was very disappointed because I had Isaiah Brandt-Sims with me, and I had to send him home," Cassel said. "I tried calling Coach (Tom) Mason and Coach (Dan) Morrison to let them know that I wasn't going tot be able to make it, but they didn't answer so I felt kind of bad."

Despite the miscommunication this past weekend, Cassel says he keeps in contact with both SMU assistants frequently.

"Coach Mason and Coach Morrison remind me of my high school coaches because they are more like teachers," he said. "Coach Morrison says he knows I'm going to do big things. We talk a lot about the current season and what Garrett Gilbert is doing. I've noticed that he's starting to run a lot, but that's not my style. I don't run at all."

This fall, Cassel has been working to bounce back from a broken leg and undergoes shock therapy regularly. Cassel said it will be a few more months before he'll be able to walk but expects to be ready in time for summer workouts.

During his time off, Cassel has been recruiting other prospects for SMU and has also been in contact with a few commits.

"Dee Paul and I were talking about how hard we are going to work at SMU. I also talked to Jarvis Baxter, and we talked about some of the games," Cassel said. "Isaiah Brandt-Sims was going to visit with me. He's really fast and would be a good player for SMU. His mom and my more are really good friend. I always talk to Tere Calloway but not too much about SMU lately."

Cassel says he hopes to make it to SMU for an official visit on December 10.

2014 Prospect Offered

By Russell Palmer

2014 wide receiver Davion Hall has some of the best programs in the country after him, but that didn't stop the SMU staff from offering him recently.

Hall, a 6-foot-3 wide receiver out of Texakarna Liberty Eylau, is considered a four-star by most major outlets, and would be a major get for the SMU offense. For now, however, Hall has listed his top schools, excluding SMU.

"Right now its Baylor, Alabama and Texas A&M, and out of those schools Baylor and A&M have offered me," he said.

In terms of his interest in the Mustangs, Hall honestly said he hasn't thought about them much but did confirm SMU's interest in him.

"Yeah they offered me too," he said. "I haven't got to watch them that much though."

Hall said he does hold a bit of interest in SMU as of now, and plans to visit the Hilltop sometime during his senior season and learn more about the Mustang program, and did cite the move to the Big East and proximity to home as reasons for bring intrigued by SMU.

Hall, a dual-athlete is also a start track star in high school, but says track wont influence his college decision very much.

"I don't know yet, I haven't looked at any (college football) camps yet, I'll look at that during track season," he said. "I'm not really sure yet if I want to run track in college."

Unfortunately, Mustang fans will have to wait a while to find out where Hall will be taking his talents, as he doesn't plan to make his decision for a while.

"Probably after basketball season of my senior year," he said.

2014 Prospect Visits

By Beionny Mickles

McKinney (TX) junior T.V. Williams finished the season as a top-ten wide receiver in district 5-5A. Williams, who notched close to 800 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2012, took a visit to SMU last weekend and said that he enjoyed the experience.

"I liked it a lot," Williams said. "I got to talk to the receivers coach so that was pretty cool. That was my second time visiting there, and I used to always go there for high school playoff games when I was younger so I'm used to being in that atmosphere over there. It's really nice."

Williams says that receivers coach Jason Phillips told him that he was familiar with his stats for the season and that he would keep in touch with him. Williams says that Phillips made remarks that gave him signs that SMU was very interested.

"He kind of made a joke. I'm not sure if he did it on purpose or not but I had my sticker on and he took it and said, ‘oops, I was trying to take you with me,'" Williams said.

At 5-foot-10, 155-pounds Williams is a speedster who says his fastest time in the 40-yard-dash is a 4.31. Williams says that he can definitely see himself at a school like SMU because they like to spread things out and pass often.

Currently, Williams only holds one offer from Houston but says that now that his season is over he's expecting his recruiting process to really pick up. Although he says he's keeping his options wide open and isn't looking for any specific schools to offer him, he says that he would definitely be interested if SMU were to offer.

"I'd most definitely be interested in an offer from SMU," Williams said. "They run an offense where it's hard to compete with the receiver. If a team runs the spread then obviously I'm going to want to go there. They throw the ball around so that's nice."

Now that the offseason is here, Williams says he wants to work on getting taller, lifting weights and getting faster. Williams, who would probably be looked at as a slot receiver because of his size and speed, says that he'd like to play in the slot and on the outside as well.

"I'd like to play a little bit of both," Williams said. "Run some deep routes from outside but then also come inside and run some whip routes, fade routes or out routes and maybe some jet and screens and stuff like that."

Oregon LB Has Lost Contact

By Beionny Mickles

Wilsonville (OR) linebacker Johnny Ragin says that his relationship with SMU never got a chance to develop. Ragin says that since hearing from SMU earlier in the year the Mustangs have failed to show him any interest.

"Not too much," Ragin said. "I talked to them pretty early in the recruiting process, but I haven't talked to them in a while."

Ragin had been contacted by SMU commit Kolney Cassel whom he has participated in various football camps with. Ragin, however, says that he hasn't heard from Cassel in ‘a while.'

"I know him from some football camps and stuff like that," Ragin said. "He's a great guy and a great athlete so that's how I know him."

Ragin said that when he was contacted by SMU they didn't show much interest in him other than saying that they recognized who he was and that they would stay in contact with him.

Ragin, who currently holds offers from Oregon State, BYU, Nevada, Wyoming, Portland State, California and Colorado, was on an official visit to Colorado on Friday but says he has not narrowed his list down to any specific schools as of yet.

Ragin says that if SMU, which currently has a number of linebackers already committed, was to offer he would most definitely consider it.

"I'd definitely look into it and see if that would be a place I'd like to go," Ragin said.

Embody Focused on Playoff Run, Speaks To SMU

By Billy Embody

Tampa Carrollwood Day School (FL) senior wide receiver Andy Embody made history with his team Friday night as the Patriots won their first playoff game in school history in their first playoff appearance in school history.

The Patriots hosted Moore Haven (Fla.) and defeated them 24-12 behind a record setting day from tailback Robert Davis, who broke the Hillsborough County rushing record and is committed to Cincinnati.

"We knew that getting to the playoffs was the biggest thing in CDS history. It was extremely special for us to get our first win in our first trip to the state playoffs," Embody said.

Although Embody didn't have a huge game, the 5-foot-9 senior was excited about being able to move on to the second round of the playoffs. The Patriots will face Naples First Baptist in the Class 2A Regional Championship game next Friday.

After Embody's senior season comes to an end, it will be all about taking visits, sending out film and trying to obtain that first offer that he has been working for. Embody has been in contact with Holy Cross, Davidson and even talked with Jason Phillips and Dan Morrison after the SMU loss to UCF when Embody went to Orlando to catch the game.

"I'd have to say Holy Cross and Coach Fanning just because I talk to him weekly and he's always there checking up on me and seeing how I am doing and always there to wish me well," Embody said of the coaching staff he has the best relationship with.

Embody's brother, Billy, walked on at SMU a couple years back and he would be open to the same if he could not secure an offer. Embody is also looking at Division III and FCS schools as well.

"I would consider walk-on options especially if nothing happens with SMU in the next couple months then I would definitely consider it because it's my number one choice as a school in general," Embody said.

A Look At How Some Of The SMU Commits Did…

- Everett Dickerson rushed for 110 yards in a 72-32 win over Wills Point

- Jesse Brubaker caught one pass for 22 yards in a 70-33 win over Sulphur Springs

- Jeremiah Gaines rushed for 33 yards and a touchdown and also caught a pass for 36 yards in a 58-20 win over Corsicana

- JaBryce Taylor caught six passes for 59 yards in a 35-20 win over Spring Dekaney

- Cedric Lancaster caught a 47-yard touchdown pass in a 36-33 win over Seven Lakes

- J'Marcus Rhodes recorded 138 yards receiving and two touchdowns in a 57-0 win over Bridge City

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