The Hilltop Review

Every Saturday morning, the Pony Stampede staff provides exclusive stories and information on SMU basketball, football, and recruiting that you can't find anywhere else!

Late Addition To The Class?

By Russell Palmer

Craig Moore, recently capped off a successful senior season that saw him make the switch to cornerback for this first time in his football career.

Moore, who played for Prime Prep this past season, holds an SMU offer and still maintains interest in the Mustangs, despite SMU seemingly having a full class at the moment.

"I'm still interested in SMU. I visited in December and liked it," he said. "I talked to coach Phillips recently, around December or January."

Moore has attracted interest from some of the top schools in the area and also holds an Oklahoma State offer and took his official visit to Stillwater this past weekend and enjoyed what he saw.

"It is going good. I liked the coaching staff and campus." he said, "The players are cool and they say I'll be able to early on."

Moore recently was happy with how he played at Prime Prep after leaving Denton Ryan and thinks he could play corner in college.

"We did pretty good. Overall, I'm happy with the way I played." he said, "This was the first year for me at cornerback, and I was just happy to be out there competing and think I can play corner again in college.

Moore also said a decision could be coming soon, as he hopes to make up his mind sooner rather than later, possibly as soon as this week.

It seems rather unlikely that Moore becomes a Mustang due to the fact that SMU seems like it has filled out its 2013 class, especially at the wide receiver and cornerback, Moore's primary decisions, but it is interesting that he is staying in contact with Phillips.

Sanders Jr. Enjoys First Day

By EJ Holland

On Tuesday night, Beionny and I had a chance to meet Deion Sanders Jr. and talk to him for a little while about SMU and his first day of class. As we reported, Sanders Jr. had to fight the NCAA just to get on campus this semester.

"I'm just glad I won my appeal, and it's over," he said. "They were talking about a math class I took all the way back when I was at Cedar Hill. But everything worked out and I'm glad to be here."

Sanders Jr. said he enjoyed meeting his new teammates and getting a true college experience after spending a year at Atlanta Sports Academy.

"My first day was great. I'm taking four classes right now and am just trying to get a feel of everything," he said. "I'm living in a dorm with a mix of sophomores and freshman. The one big thing that I'm getting used to is the community bathrooms. That's really going to take some getting used to."

Sanders Jr. began working out with the team later in the week and will in fact play slot receiver. But he does hope to run some wildcat quarterback and make an immediate impact any way he can.

"I'm really excited about getting to play slot in this offense. I really like Coach Phillips, and I'm just ready to get started," he said. "I feel like I can come in and compete right away and even return kicks. I can't wait for spring ball to show what I can do."

Sanders Jr. added that he wished former teammate Deontay McManus would have joined him at SMU but understands that he won't be eligible this season despite committing to Marshall.

Washington Speaks To Hill

By EJ Holland

This past week, SMU defensive line coach Bert Hill made a trip down to Gilmer to speak with a couple of 2014 recruits but didn't get a chance to visit with current commit Trey Washington due to scheduling conflicts.

"I don't play basketball so I didn't go to athletic period, which is the first class in the morning," Washington said. "But I did call him afterwards, and we talked about everything from football to my official visit. We spent a lot of time talking about SMU's players playing in All-Star games and how Margus Hunt might get drafted in the first round. I was impressed."

Washington will be on the Hilltop for his official visit on February 1 and hopes to get a feel of how he'll fit in with his future teammates.

"I want to meet all of the guys that are going to be visiting with me and who I'm going to be playing with," Washington said. "I also want to talk to all of the defensive coaches so we can talk about the scheme. We still haven't decided if I'll be playing corner or safety. I'm also looking forward to meeting June Jones."

Washington said his verbal to SMU is still completely solid and hopes the 2014 prospects -Tanner Barr and DeVondrick Dixon- Hill spoke to will join him at SMU in the near future. Washington believes his teammates would be great adds to next year's class.

"Tanner is a lot like myself. He has a high football IQ and is such a smart player. He plays quarterback and safety and is so smart when comes to reading opposing quarterbacks. I think he would be a good safety for SMU," Washington said. "DeVondrick can play corner or receiver. He lighting fast. I think he might be the fastest guy in our program."

Along with Barr and Dixon, Washington has been training hard this offseason after leading Gilmer to a state championship appearance. His main objective is to bulk up before arrives on campus this summer.

"I'm doing a program called crossfit training, which is really intense. It's a really good workout," he said. "I also lift weights everyday. I'm trying to get my weight up and build muscle mass any way I can. Right now, I'm about 163. I want be 175 when I get to SMU and 190 by next season."

Henderson Receives Junior Day Invite

By EJ Holland

Last weekend, Longview nose tackle Zaycoven Henderson opened up quite a few eyes when he dominated at Next Level Athlete's Texas Top 100 camp. The 6-foot-2, 275 pounder showed why he may be the top defensive lineman in East Texas and was named Defensive Line MVP.

"I felt like I was ahead of everybody at the camp. I'm confident in my abilities and feel like I can overpower anybody," Henderson said. "I'm great at using my hands and I have long arms but I need to work on getting off the ball quicker. But being named MVP was a great honor."

After an impressive performance at the camp, Henderson received an SMU junior day invite when defensive line coach Bert Hill visited him at school.

"It was great to meet Coach Hill. He said he really liked my size and that could be a big addition to SMU," Henderson said. "He told me that their defensive line has been having a lot of success and one of his players Margus Hunt was going to be drafted in the first round.

"He also talked to me about taking my tests and how SMU is a good academic school. When he invited me to junior day, I was really happy. I'm blessed to and lucky to be chosen."

Henderson says he can play anywhere along the defensive line and believes he would a great fit in SMU's 3-4 scheme. Although he doesn't know too much about the school, he is looking forward to learning more as the recruiting process continues.

"I'm really interested in SMU. I'm not really familiar with them, but I'm sure I'll get a lot more information when I go to junior day," he said. "Really, I'm interested in any school that shows interest in me. Being able to go to a Division I school is an honor."

SMU wasn't the only school that visited Henderson. Oklahoma also visited the 2014 prospect at school and extended a junior day invitation, which is slated for February 2. Henderson will be in the Dallas area this weekend when he takes part in another Texas Top 100 camp in Lancaster.

Note: Hill also wanted to visit with Longview wide receiver Dorian Leonard but according to Henderson, he was sick and missed school. Henderson expects Leonard to join him at SMU for junior day.

Hart Attending Junior Day

By Billy Embody

Dallas First Baptist Academy 2014 wide receiver Trae Hart has his mind on coming to SMU for junior day on February 16 and hopes to find out more about the program he hopes will offer him.

"I want to see the school and look into the school. This is going to be my first time going to a college so it's all really exciting," Hart said.

On his visit, Hart hopes to meet the coaches and get to know SMU receivers coach Jason Phillips and just take in everything SMU has to offer. Hart will be accompanied by his parents and won't have to make too long of a trip over to SMU to make it.

"I haven't really talked with them about it, but I know my mom likes it because it is close to home. She likes it being 20 minutes down the road," Hart said.

Hart is getting interest from SMU and Rice, who also invited the speedy receiver to their junior day. Recently, Hart participated in the Army All-American combine and performed well even with his limited opportunities.

"It was really cool. There were a lot of good players down there," Hart said. "I did good. I only got three reps so I didn't have much time. I wanted to get five or six, but I didn't go that many times.

"Whenever I went up there I did good. I caught all my balls and ran good routes so it was good."

Hart ran a 4.6 40-yard-dash, but did so on a laser, which he said he had never done before. In the shuttle, Hart ran a 4.3 and also had a vertical jump of 29, but says his speed is what helps him the most in his game.

"My speed helps me a lot to get in and out of my routes. I am a really good route runner and 99 percent of the time if you throw a ball to me I'll catch it," Hart said.

Hart will spend the rest of his spring and summer improving his strength and trying to get that SMU offer.

Williams Receives Junior Day Invite

By Beionny Mickles

2014 McKinney (TX) receiver T.V. Williams recently competed at the Army All-American combine in San Antonio. The 5-foot-10 155-pound speedster said he competed well and placed in a couple of events despite coming off an ailment he had been suffering from the previous week.

"It was fun but it was a little hard for me because I had just got over being sick," Williams said. "I couldn't really eat, I couldn't really run, I couldn't really do anything leading up to it, but I had the fastest pro agility time and the sixth fastest 40 time so that was pretty good."

Williams, who says his fastest 40-yard dash has been clocked somewhere in the 4.3's, says he isn't making any excuses but had he been at full strength during the 40 competition, he would have ‘blown it out of the water.'

As of now, Houston stands as the only school to offer Williams, however, he has received a plethora of junior day invitations from schools such as LSU, Boise State, Oklahoma State, Washington State, UTSA and SMU.

Williams says that he has been in contact with the SMU coaches for a while now and is looking forward to coming to the Hilltop for the Ponies' junior day. While on the trip, Williams says he hopes to pick up an offer.

"I would like an offer," Williams said. "I've been in contact with the SMU coaches for a while now, and I really think they like me.

"SMU is a great school, I really love the academics and the football team and how they run the wide open spread. They went down to Hawaii for a bowl game and won so that was pretty cool. I'd really like an offer."

Williams said he would also like to talk to the SMU coaches about the possibility of graduating in December of 2013 rather than in May of 2014.

SMU has had a history of allowing students on campus in the spring and has even allowed kids from their newest recruiting class to come to campus early i.e. Deion Sanders Jr. and Traylon Shead.

This spring, Williams has a full schedule as he will be running track in addition to competing at the USA Under-18 All-Star football game in Austin.Williams will also be with the Goon Squad 7-on-7 team, which will travel to Florida in the end of February.

Baze Gaining SMU Interest

By EJ Holland

With Deion Sanders now involved in the program, you can expect SMU to start looking at kids from Prime Prep. An offer went out 2015 wide receiver James Proche a few weeks ago and another one could be given to 2014 wide receiver Bobby Baze.

Baze, who originally played at Red Oak, caught three passes for 77 yards and scored a 2-point conversion in Prime Prep's shortened season but expects to be a bigger factor as a senior next season and feels like he would be a good fit in SMU's Run N' Shoot offense.

"My interest level in SMU is pretty high because of the offense they run," Baze said. "I really like that they throw the ball a lot and the campus is really nice."

Baze says he may join Proche and fellow friend and SMU recruit Ronnie LaRue for junior day in a few weeks but is still not completely sure. Baze recently spoke with SMU wide receivers coach Jason Phillips and would like to keep learning more about the program.

"I talked to Coach Phillips a few weeks back so he's starting to recruit me now," Baze said. "I'm really good friends with James and Ronnie so it would be cool if all of could go to school together. I think James and I might head to junior day with one of our high school coaches, but we're not sure yet."

Baze has also been receiving interest from programs such as Baylor, Kansas and TCU.

Porter Still Looking For Offers

By Beionny Mickles

TCU 2014 wide receiver commit Emmanuel Porter says that although his commitment to the Horned Frogs is still solid, he would not mind receiving a couple more offers on the kitchen table.

"It's still TCU," Porter said. "But I would like to get some other offers from like Baylor, Oklahoma State or Oregon; something like that. I might attend the Oregon camp this summer."

As of now, TCU is Porter's only offer with the only other school to contact being SMU. Porter says Jason Phillips still contacts him regularly, but he has yet to be invited to their upcoming junior day on February 16.

Recently, Porter competed in the Army All-American Combine comprised of some of the area's best talent. Porter said that he thinks he did well at the event but walked away knowing that there were areas of his game that could use improvement.

"It was a great experience because I got to show my athleticism," Porrter said. "But I still have some things that I need to work on like getting stronger and getting off the line better against jams."

In his junior year, the Dallas Lincoln wide receiver notched 25 catches for 429 yards and three touchdowns not counting another three that were called back. Porter plans to stay as active as possible this spring by playing basketball as well as running track for his school.

"I'm playing basketball right now and I'm going to run track after basketball," Porter said. "I've been running track since my eighth grade year and I've been playing basketball most of my life."

Odum Checks In With 2015 Recruit

By EJ Holland

SMU is just starting to make some moves in the Class of 2014 but one player to keep an eye on the Class of 2015 is Loreauville (LA) safety Tyiren Anthony. Although he has a few years to go in high school, Anthony is already establishing a relationship with SMU defensive backs coach Derrick Odum.

"I recently got in contact with Coach Odum, and he told me about their summer camp," Anthony said. "I'm definitely going to head out to SMU in the summer. I'm really interested. I love SMU, and I think it would be a great place to go. Coach Odum is a good guy, and I hope I can stay in contact with him."

The 6-foot, 170-pounder was sidelined for four games this season but still finished with 55 tackles and an interception while starting as a sophomore. Anthony led Loreauville to the second round of the Louisiana state playoffs but has even higher expectations for his junior season.

"I had a great season but I feel things could have been different if I wouldn't have missed those games," he said. "Right now, I've been hitting the weights hard and trying to improve on coming down and making hits. I'm also running track and just staying in shape."

Anthony has also received some early interest from Mississippi State and Ole Miss and also plans to see those schools this summer.

Stewart Giving SMU an Early Look

By Billy Embody

2015 Mesquite Horn High slot receiver Jarrison Stewart already holds and SMU offer, but is still waiting to get to know the SMU coaches, only being a sophomore.

"No not yet. I haven't communicated with any of the coaches yet," Stewart said.

The 5-foot-11, 170-pound slot is versatile, totaling close to 500 all-purpose yards this season for the 8-4 Jaguars. Even though his statistics don't pop out at you, big-time programs such as Texas and Baylor are starting to show interest.

Even though SMU is his only offer, it is so early in Stewart's recruitment that he isn't in love with SMU just yet.

"Right now it's neutral. I'm still looking into it and everything right now, but it's neutral," Stewart said. "It's so early right now, but my dad said I should start looking into it so I'll probably do that in the next couple of days."

For now, Stewart has been focused on performing well in combines such as the Army All-American combine, where he felt he performed extremely well. If Stewart can improve his times, he could be a dangerous threat from the slot.

"I did well on my 40 and shuttle," Stewart said, who clocked a 4.72 40-yard-dash. "I did really good on my 1-on -s too. I use my speed to get me out of a lot of stuff most of the time."

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