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 Add?

By EJ Holland

One of only two uncommitted visitors on campus this past weekend, Sergerstrom defensive end Kiona Drayton was ready to commit to SMU on the spot if offered. But a scholarship was not extended and now he's forced to wait until June Jones makes his final decision.

"I knew coming to the visit that all the spots were filled," he said. "But I got to talk to Coach Jones and he told me he really wants me on the team. He just told me that he had to clear up some stuff with guys and grades and that they would get back to me."

SMU had four non-qualifiers on Wednesday and Jones admitted that he would like to add another player to the class. If he does, there is a strong chance it will be Drayton.

"I've always wanted to go to SMU. My family really loves the school. My dad (Charles Drayton) and my uncle (Eric Dickerson) would really like to see me play there," Drayton said. "I'm just waiting for them to give me a call."

Despite having some very strong SMU ties, Drayton had never stepped foot on the Hilltop. But he enjoyed every second of his visit.

"It was really great. The campus and the facilities were amazing," he said. "SMU is what I wanted it to be and more. It was just so nice. My player host Ajee Montes told me how practice works and showed me around the dorms. All of the players were nice and welcoming."

Drayton has also been talking to Hawaii but is not going to make a decision until he hears back from the SMU staff.



Baxter Hopes To Play At SMU One Day

By EJ Holland

Jarvis Baxter signed his letter of intent on Wednesday. But it wasn't with SMU.

The Lakeview Centennial wide receiver instead signed with Trinity Valley C.C. due to low SAT scores. Baxter, who originally committed to SMU in the summer, recently retook the test and is waiting results, which he will receive next week. But it's too late to become a Mustang.

"I talked to Coach (June) Jones on my official, and he didn't allow me to double sign so I decided to just sign with Trinity Valley," Baxter said. "I was disappointed but I understand where they're coming from."

Baxter says he would like to play at SMU in 2014 and feels like a year at Trinity Valley could be beneficial and help him become a better player.

"I think playing at Trinity Valley is going to benefit me because it will allow me to get better and showcase my skills," Baxter said. "They run a spread offense and really air out. I hope next year more schools including SMU give me a look."

Despite receiving the disappointing news, Baxter still enjoyed his official visit to SMU this past weekend.

"It was great getting to know all of the guys. Horace Richardson was my player host and told me that SMU was a great place to play. I also talked to Shakiel Randolph and he told me SMU really helps you academically with tutors," Baxter said. "I know SMU is a good school so we'll see what happens in the future."



Dickerson Glad To Be A Mustang

By Beionny Mickles

Atlanta (TX) athlete Everett Dickerson took his official visit to the Hilltop last weekend, only a few days before signing his national letter of intent to attend SMU.

Dickerson, who will be reporting for summer workouts on July 1, says he enjoyed being able to see all the SMU coaches and the athletic facilities in greater depth. Dickerson says he can hardly wait to get back.

"My favorite part was the in-depth tour of the school, particularly the weight room and things like that." Dickerson said. "I also liked getting the chance to see all the coaches and I got to meet some of my teammates.

"I hung with J.R. Richardson and he was real cool so I really enjoyed myself. I'm ready to go out there now."

One of the coaches Dickerson spent time with was SMU head coach June Jones. Dickerson said he spoke with the mastermind behind the Run N' Shoot just before leaving on Sunday and found out some news that he will use as inspiration in the coming months before his arrival to Dallas.

"I talked to him that Sunday when I was leaving," said the 5-foot-11 170-pound tackle breaker. "He was just telling me that he was excited about me coming to SMU and that I might have a chance to play kick returner."

Dickerson says that he would be all for returning back the rock since he enjoys playing special teams anyway. Dickerson, who signed his letter of intent with a few of his other teammates at school, says that the occasion was a definitely a memorable one.

"Me and two of my teammates signed in the library," Dickerson said. "We signed in front of all of our teammates and family and friends; it was a really enjoyable moment."

Like many of the other athletes in his class, Dickerson says he plans to run track in the spring in hopes that it will keep him in shape. Dickerson says that this offseason he plans to work hard on his game so he can ease the transition from being a high school tail back to a college wide receiver.

"I'm trying to get stronger and even faster," Dickerson said. "I'm trying to work on my agility and stuff like that just to become a better all-around player. I'm trying to get better at running my routes too but I'll get there."



Lancaster Can't Wait To Suit Up For SMU

By Beionny Mickles

Houston Lamar wide receiver Cedric Lancaster made it official this past Wednesday as he, along with many other SMU verbal commits, signed his letter of intent to play football for the Mustangs.

Just before signing, Lancaster took a trip to the Hilltop for his official visit. Lancaster, who shared a set of hosts with teammate Zelt Minor, says that the experience was a great one. Now that his whole recruiting process is over with, Lancaster says he can finally take a chill pill.

"I'm chilling," Lancaster said. "I'm focusing on school now. I have the ACT tomorrow. I'm just trying to stay on track, maintain my speed and maybe get a little faster."

Lancaster and Minor were hosted by SMU senior safety Ryan Smith as well as SMU starting wide receiver Jeremy Johnson. Lancaster said that he learned a lot about the institution as well as the team from the two veterans.

"We were talking about what the transition was like," Lancaster said. "We talked about how their days were, coming from practice and going to school, stuff like that. We talked about how the offseason is when they're not playing football.

"We talked about how hard the classes were and how they have people around you that can help you with everything you need."

Lancaster, who won't be taking it easy for long, says that he will be running track for Lamar this spring. Lancaster has already competed once this season at the University of Houston, earning fourth place overall in the 60 meter sprint.

Lancaster can hardly wait to get to Dallas this summer and is currently working on a way to get on campus a little earlier than expected.

"I'm really excited. I can't wait," Lancaster said. "I'm supposed to report in July. I wanted to report in June, but I'm still trying to get them to talk to me about it. We'll work it out."



Lawler Enjoys Visit

By EJ Holland

This past weekend, SMU hosted a number of commits including Pottsboro (TX) defensive end Justin Lawler, who said he‘loved' his time on the Hilltop.

"It went really well. I'm looking forward to next year because I feel it's a great place for me. I come from a small school so I like the small campus and how everything is so close," Lawler said. "My favorite part was definitely the food at Texas De Brazil. The food was unlimited and awesome."

The two-star prospect also enjoyed getting to know his future teammates and was able to tour not only the campus but Dallas as well.

"Beau Barnes showed me around campus and Dallas. He told me it's a really cool place to be and that all of the players love it," Lawler said. "He told me we wouldn't have too much free time because of practices and workouts, but we would still have plenty of fun."

At 6-foot-5, 230-pounds, Lawler is expected to take a redshirt year in order to bulk up. He discussed this as well many other topics with SMU head coach June Jones and defensive line coach Bert Hill.

"Coach Jones is a really good guy. He puts players first and it seems like he takes really good care of you," Lawler said. "Coach Hill goes in-depth and is easy to understand. He doesn't scream. He explains so I think I'll enjoy playing for both of them."

Lawler officially signed with SMU on Wednesday over offers from UTSA, UNT and Memphis, which came in late. But in the end, he felt SMU ‘was the best place' for him.

This offseason, Lawler has been keeping busy. He's playing basketball, running track and doing a little bit of power lifting, which is sure to help him put on weight, and he's already seeing results.

"I'm up to around 240 right now. I'm squatting 575 right now and want to keep improving," Lawler said. "I know I'll be down on the line so I want to keep getting stronger."



Washington Elated About SMU

By EJ Holland

After committing to SMU last spring, Trey Washington never once second-guessed his decision. When looking at the class overall, it's hard to pick out a more prideful signee than Washington.

"I've been waiting to sign ever since I committed. It's been really emotional," Washington said. "It just feel freaking awesome to finally be a Mustang. I'm excited and happy, and it feels like a great weight has been lifted off my shoulders."

This past weekend, Washington was on the Hilltop for his official visit. The experience he had over the three day exceeded his expectations and everything he thought about SMU was reaffirmed.

"Everything from the school to the coaches to the hotel was amazing. It was everything I wanted and more," Washington said. "And I can't forget about the food. Texas De Brazil was off the chain. I think I had about 30 different kinds of meats."

Despite the tasty cuisine, Washington's favorite part about the visit was simply getting to bond with his future teammates. His player host, Ty Law, took him around the city and gave him an in-depth look at what being student-athlete at SMU is all about.

"Getting to see the nightlife on campus and seeing the dorms was a great experience. The players were really cool and they took me in like family," Washington said. "Ty Law told me to stay hungry and that college was way different than high school and I needed to show that I really want to play. I also met Jeremy Johnson, and he told me that I have keep that same mindset."

Washington was also able to connect with the SMU coaching staff including head coach June Jones.

"Coach Jones was really laid back. He's even more laid back than I expected and nothing like my high school coach," he said. "He talked to me about how he liked my test scores and that I was good East Texas athlete."

On signing day, Jones praised Washington for his athleticism and strong academics. The 6-foot-1, 170-pounder played on both sides of the ball at Gilmer but will more than likely be a cornerback for SMU.

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