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 Targets New California Prospect

By EJ Holland

A lot can happen before National Signing Day, which is why SMU is weighing its options when it comes to adding another linebacker. The position is full at the moment but a non-committable offer was extended to Segerstrom (CA) linebacker Kiona Drayton.

"SMU actually called the school on Wednesday, and I spoke to the Director of Football Operations Randy Ross," said Segerstrom head coach Mike Maceranka. "He said there weren't enough spots for Kiona, but they really wanted him. He said they didn't have a spot for him now, but he would be taken if something opens up so we went ahead and set up an official visit."

Drayton will take the official visit to SMU on February 1, which happens to be just days before signing day.

"I was really excited when my coach told me SMU had called him," Drayton said. "I can't wait to go down there for the official. I haven't talked to the coaches yet, but I'm looking forward to their call some time this weekend."

Like current SMU commit and fellow Californian Spencer Hollie, Drayton has strong ties to SMU. His father, Charles, was a full back during the Pony Express days and is best friends with Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson.

"SMU is such a great program," Drayton said. "Everywhere I go, I see SMU. Every Saturday, we fly our SMU flag so I've grown up a fan since I was kid. My dad says so many great things about SMU, and he was happy when we set up the visit. I've actually never been down there so I can't wait. I would commit if a spot does open up."

This season, the 6-foot-1, 235-pounder racked up 40 tackles and a sack while playing defensive end, but Maceranka says his natural position is inside linebacker, where SMU is recruiting him.

"He played defensive end for us but was out of position," Maceranka said. "He'll play inside linebacker at the next level, and I'm sure he'll excel there. He's really physical but has to improve playing in space."

Drayton has no other offers at the moment but holds interest from Hawaii, San Diego State and Tulane.

EJ's Recruiting Briefs

- Larry Brown, Jerrance Howard and Ulric Maligi all attended the Geico Basketball Showcase in Grand Prairie on Thursday. Players they watched include Kimball SG Keith Frazier, 2015 Simeon (IL) SF D.J. Williams and 2016 Arlington Seguin PG Josh Parrish

- I watched the first three quarters of Frazier's game and wasn't very impressed. I know people have bad games so I won't judge him off of that. But I noticed he forces a lot of shots and is erratic. But that's coachable, and I'm sure Brown will do a great job of making him into a special player. The ESPNU announcers pretty much made it seem like Frazier was a lock to SMU and even mentioned that Frazier having a baby is another reason why he'll pick SMU.

- RB Traylon Shead, DE Mason Gentry and DB Jesse Montgomery are taking their official visits to SMU this weekend

- Plano West teammate Lance Cottrell had this to say about Gentry: ‘He's a really great player. He was coming to play baseball, and we convinced him to play football. Close to the end of the season, he just started dominating. He has a lot of potential."

- Silvano Altamirano on decommitting from SMU: ‘I felt like SMU was the school for me when I committed, but it was a quick decision and now I'm getting interest from Tennessee and Maryland. I think I'm going to decide between them. I'm not really going to look at SMU anymore."

- Brown and staff offered 2014 Converse Judson (TX) center David Wacker

- Former Florida State commit and 4-star 2014 Coral Reef WR Jacob McCrary will visit SMU next month

- Lancaster ATH Demarcus Ayers decommitted from Washington State this week and will consider SMU. But it's a long shot so Jason Phillips has some work to do.

- SMU commit Trey Washington recorded an interception in a 50-7 win over Graham. Gilmer will now move on the state finals.

Sterling Brown Performing Well

By Beionny Mickles

Mac Irvin Fire AAU basketball coach Nick Irvin says that SMU commit Sterling Brown has been doing well this year despite having a minor setback at the beginning of the season.

"He's doing pretty well," Irvin said. "He got suspended one game so he missed a game but other than that he's doing real well."

Brown was suspended for using inappropriate language after his Proviso East (IL) team suffered an upset loss. Irvin, who says he maintains contact with Brown on a regular basis, says that he often talks to him on the telephone or through text messages.

The 6-foot-4 180-pound small forward committed to SMU back in October and signed his official letter of intent in November. Irvin says that Brown felt very comfortable with SMU head coach Larry Brown and his coaching staff and that was a big reason why he committed.

"He enjoyed the staff," Irvin said. "He felt comfortable playing for Coach Brown and he'll get a chance to really learn the game of basketball."

Irvin says that Brown brings an array of skills to the court but his most unique attribute is his versatility. Irvin says that Brown has the ability to be an asset at multiple positions.

"One thing is he brings versatility to the game," Irvin said. "He can play the 1-2-3 positions so he brings a lot to the game. He can shoot. He can defend. He just brings a lot to the table."

Irvin says that Brown is the type of player that can come in and have an impact for the Mustangs in his first year.

"He's that type of player," Irvin said. "He does everything well."

Irvin says that right now Brown is focused on getting his current team back into the state championship. Irvin added that with the amount of talent around Brown, he thinks he has a legitimate shot.

"Oh yeah they'll make it down state," Irvin said. "They've got a pretty good team. They'll probably make it to the state championship and play Simeon again."

Newly Offered DB Visiting

By Beionny Mickles

Dallas Madison defensive back Jesse Montgomery was offered by SMU this week and will visit this weekend. Montgomery, already committed to New Mexico, says that SMU was one of the schools at the top of his radar so he was very happy when he got the offer.

"Man I felt great," Montgomery said. "It's close to home. They have one of the best engineering programs and my family can visit me as well as come to my games and see me play."

The 6-foot-1 170-pound cornerback says that he knew SMU had interest in him even though they waited a while to pull the trigger. Montgomery says that he came to SMU to talk to the coaches on Tuesday and they offered him the same night.

"They had been looking at me for a while, just under the scene," Montgomery recalled. "Coach Phillips wanted to see me so I went to see him, and we talked about my grades and academics and things like that. Then he called me and offered."

Montgomery says that academics will definitely play a major role in deciding where he wants to play football for the next four years.

Montgomery, who says he has also been contacted by Louisiana Tech, Minnesota, and Abilene Christian, also holds an offer from Houston Baptist. Although he is committed to New Mexico, his level of commitment is wavering. He says he will take SMU into serious consideration- partially because of their engineering school.

"Right now (the SMU offer) is turning me around," Montgomery said. "It's very difficult knowing that SMU has the engineering program that I need. I'm just going to have to see how the visit goes."

Jalen Jones Preparing For Rhode Island

SMU Coach Sees 2014 Prospect

By EJ Holland

While Tom Mason was at Plano West last week, Mason Gentry wasn't the only player he saw. The SMU defensive coordinator made sure to pay close attention to 2014 outside linebacker Lance Cottrell.

"We just talked about how the offer was still on the table, and he asked how my family was doing and all that," Cottrell said. "He wants me to play outside linebacker for him. I like Coach Mason because he's pretty straightforward. He's really knowledgeable, and I feel like I can learn a lot from him."

Cottrell originally picked up the offer going into his sophomore year from former SMU offensive line coach Adrian Klemm. Cottrell said he had a strong relationship with Klemm but has also known Mason for a long while.

"Coach Klemm was really cool. I actually keep in contact with him and hope he gives me a UCLA offer even though I would hate to go so far away from. He's really great and helped me through some things," Cottrell said. "But I also met Coach Mason when I went to an SMU camp as a sophomore. I would really to get to know him better."

Staying close to home is important to Cottrell, which is why is strongly considering SMU- the only program that has currently extended an offer.

"I could see myself going to SMU because not a lot of people are recruiting me, and they have always been interested," Cottrell said. "I used to go to some games when I was younger, and I've dropped by a few times. I really like that it's close to home."

Cottrell, the younger brother of Texas defensive end Bryce Cottrell, is preparing for the U.S. Army National Underclassmen Combine but hopes to take junior day visits to LSU, SMU, Texas, UCLA and Washington State after the event.

SMU Offers 2015 Wide Receiver

By EJ Holland

A few weeks ago, SMU extended an offer to 2015 Mesquite Horn wide receiver Jarrison Stewart. Although there is still a long way to go in the recruiting process, Stewart is excited about his first offer and is interested in learning more about the local program.

"I was really excited when I got the offer because I didn't know I could get offered so early," Stewart said. "My coach came and told me, and I was a little shocked. I don't know too much about SMU. Right now, I've just been researching the school and checking out the academics."

Stewart said he would continue to conduct research on his own but hopes to hear from the SMU coaches and is planning to take an unofficial visit in the spring.

"My coach is actually setting up everything for me right now," he said. "I know it was SMU's defensive coordinator that offered so I can't wait to hear from him and see the campus."

Stewart says he expects to pick up a few more offers soon and has been hearing mainly from Baylor, TCU and Texas Tech.

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