SMU picked up its first commit of the 2014 class on Thursday morning when the Mustangs landed Plano West outside linebacker Lance Cottrell.
But by no means was it a hasty decision on Cottrell's part. In fact, he's held an offer from SMU since the beginning of his sophomore year. Cottrell has had plenty of time to think about becoming a Pony and after a long discussion with his family, he called SMU defensive coordinator Tom Mason to make it official.
"I was with my family and we all came to the conclusion that SMU would provide me a great opportunity to excel both academically and athletically," he said. "I love the atmosphere of the school and Gerald J. Ford Stadium."
Adrian Klemm, who bolted to UCLA before the 2012 season, originally recruited Cottrell hut the 6-foot-2, 205-pounder met Mason at a summer camp when he was a freshman and the two have developed a strong relationship.
Mason visited Cottrell at practice in early December to reassure the young prospect that SMU was still very interested in him becoming an outside linebacker on the Hilltop. The conversation left a lasting impression.
"I feel a great connection with Coach Mason and I know he has plans for me to play to my full potential," Cottrell said. "I felt an instantaneous bond with him because of his funny personality and his love for the game and the school."
The younger brother of Texas defensive end Bryce Cottrell, Lance also holds interest in the Longhorns as well as LSU, UCLA and Washington State. But SMU is a place where he could see himself garnering early playing time and got a little extra push from teammate and 2013 SMU commit Mason Gentry.
"Mason influenced me into looking deeper into the program due to his commitment," Cottrell said. "But I kept my decision a secret so when he found out I committed this morning, it was a great surprise for him."
Cottrell helped lead Plano West to the 5A D-II state quarterfinals this season and is already training vigorously for his senior year. Cottrell said he would also like to attend a couple of camps this summer and will more than likely be at SMU junior day in a few months.
FREE: SMU Lands 2014 Outside Linebacker
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