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!

Aboderin ‘Loves' SMU

By EJ Holland

SMU already has a dual-threat quarterback commit for the Class of 2014 in Houston Lamar's Darrell Colbert, but that doesn't concern FB Austin dual-threat signal caller Sean Aboderin.

"After junior day, Coach (Dan)) Morrison called me and told me he really liked my film. The next step is for him to come watch me throw," Aboderin said. "He's coming down in the spring. He told me Darrell committed but said they were taking two quarterbacks in this class so I'm hopeful."

After being on the Hilltop last weekend, Aboderin knows SMU is more than likely the place where he would like to play at the next level.

"I expected SMU to be nice, but it was above what I expected," he said. "My family really loved it too. Just being there makes you want to go to SMU.

"The facilities were great and the campus was amazing. It was the perfect size. The location is amazing. Downtown Dallas is right down the street. I've been to Texas State too, but it doesn't compare."

Joining Aboderin on junior day were a couple of teammates including Vic Enwere, who already holds an SMU offer.

"We loved it," Aboderin said. "We joked afterwards that if we all pick up offers, we should commit."

Aboderin will now attend Rice junior day in March.

Thomas Sees SMU

By EJ Holland

When Dallas Skyline nose tackle Mychealon Thomas picked up an offer from SMU in the fall, he didn't too much about the school. But after visiting for junior day with teammate Victor Evans, he now has a better perspective.

"SMU is a good school," he said. "I like that it's only 10 minutes away from home. There is a part of the wants to leave but staying in Dallas would be great. I talked to Victor about it, and he thinks it would be fun."

But SMU will have to battle to lure Thomas. Even though he currently has no other offers, the 6-foot-2, 300-pounder has been receiving interest from quite a few Big 12 schools and recently attended Baylor and Texas junior days.

"Baylor showed us the weight room and the facilities. They were so nice. Baylor doesn't play no games, and they are building a winning program," Thomas said. "Texas was just wow. I really like their program. Mack Brown was really cool and funny."

Thomas' stock has been on the rise since he competed in the Next Level Athlete camp last month, where he earned Defensive Lineman MVP, and believes offers are on their way.

"The camp was great. I was shocked that I won MVP because I beat out Zaycoven Henderson from Longview," Thomas said. "I've been working really hard this offseason so I'm excited to see what other schools offer."

Ibe Checks Out SMU Junior Day

By Russell Palmer

Mansfield defensive back J.T. Ibe recently visited the Hilltop for the SMU junior day and came out impressed with what the Mustangs had to offer.

"I though it was nice. They really focused on academics. They kept saying how good of a school it is which I liked," he said. "It was different from Baylor. They showed more of the school a bit better and entertained us more."

Although Ibe admitted the academic pitch was a bit dry, he was still very happy with what he saw and understands how important the academic side is to college.

"I'm a pretty smart kid, so I am definetly looking at schools that are good academically," he said. "That's why I'm interested in SMU and also Duke and Rice because they really focus on academics."

During junior day, Ibe got a chance to meet other SMU prospects and said he had a lot of fun talking to them recruiter Wes Suan.

"I talked to Coach Suan for a bit after the presentation," he said. "Like everyone else, he focused on how good of a school SMU was and how it's a good fit for kids with good grades like me."

Ibe is not done with his junior day visits as he will travel to Rice and check out the Owls program in March.

As for now, Ibe is hoping to add some speed and quickness to his game by participating and track and hopes he will be a bit more explosive come football season.

Igbinoba Checks Out SMU

By EJ Holland

When Kendrick Igbinoba was invited SMU junior day, he was filled with excitement. Last weekend, he made his way to the event and was impressed with everything SMU has to offer.

"It was really nice. I liked the campus and the facilities, and it's close to home," he said. "I liked what the coaches had to say about the program and the academics. It was great to hear from June Jones."

Igbinoba didn't personally meet with Jones, but he did sit down with SMU running backs coach Wes Suan and quarterbacks coach Dan Morrison.

"I had been talking to Coach Suan so I was excited to finally meet him junior day," Igbinoba said. "He said to call him anytime but told me Coach Morrison would be my recruiter. I got to talk to him too, and he told me he loved my film. He said he was going to come up to my school in the spring."

Igbinoba has also been receiving interest from Arkansas, Baylor and Mississippi State but says SMU is right at the top of his list.

"SMU definitely my top school right now," he said. "I think I can really fit into their offense, and I really liked how they treated me."

Amie Takes In SMU Junior Day

Beionny Mickles

If there was a group that showed up in great numbers to SMU's junior day it was the boys from East Texas.

Tyler John Tyler brought more than a handful of their best players to the Hilltop including linebacker Darius Amie.

"I liked it a lot," Amie said. "I felt really comfortable around there and they aren't too far from home. I think I could play at SMU."

Amie, who has yet to receive an offer, was recently invited to try out for the Team USA high school football team along with a few of his teammates.

"It's a couple of people from each high school that they ask to come and try out," Amie said. "I think tryouts are at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas. I was so excited. I told my mom right then and there."

Amie, who is being recruited by SMU defensive line coach Bert Hill, says that the Mustangs are viewing him as an outside linebacker. At 6-foot-1 220-pound, Amie believes he could contribute at any linebacker spot but says he does have experience with rushing the passer at John Tyler.

"I played defensive end my sophomore year," Amie said. "I did pretty well and got a few sacks. I love rushing the passer. I've been working on my moves a little bit."

Amie came to SMU alongside such names as TraVahn Moore and Terry Ausborne, who will also be attending the Team USA tryouts with him. Amie says the fact that so many of his teammates were invited to SMU's junior day was special and speaks to the credibility of Cujo Nation.

"It feels really great," Amie said. "We're all really good players down here so it would be nice to have a place where we could all go and continue to ball together but stuff happens so you never know. But it was cool to go with all of them to junior day."

Jones Sees SMU

By Beionny Mickles

North Forney athlete Tritavious Jones was on the Hilltop for junior day last weekend. The local standout says he learned a great deal about the campus as well as the school's dedication to academics.

Forney, who has yet to receive any offers, says he felt comfortable with the team and their facilities.

"I learned a lot. I feel like it would be fun to go there," the 5-foot-8 170-pound Jones said. "I feel like it would be a lot of school work, but I know I wouldn't struggle in school because they're real big on us having tutors. I feel like it could be home for me if I put my mind to it, but I'm trying to stay open."

Jones met his recruiter, defensive coordinator Tom Mason, while he was on campus. Jones, who has played both cornerback and running back, says he's guessing the Mustangs are recruiting him as a defensive back but he's not entirely certain.

"To me it really doesn't matter. I feel like I can play any skill position on the field if I put my mind to it," Jones said. "I love corner, but I grew up playing running back so it's up to where the coach wants me to play. I can play slot too."

While on campus Jones got to check out the press box, the film room, the locker room, the field, the position meeting rooms and the weight room. Jones, who has only visited SMU so far, says that he will be looking to head to a couple more junior days very soon.

"I'm going to North Texas Saturday," Jones said. "I kind of want to go down to the one at Houston, but that's going to be up to my parents."

White Misses Junior Day

By Billy Embody

Plano West 2014 offensive lineman Zach White was believed to have had a junior day invitation, but that was not the case. When SMU defensive coordinator Tom Mason visited the high school of 2014 SMU commit Lance Cottrell, Mason told White he would be in contact about junior day, but that never happened.

White said that he does not hold any offers, but is waiting for Baylor, where he is excited to visit this spring in hopes of getting an offer.

"I am definitely going up there. I talked to one of the coaches there and will be definitely going up there," White said. "He actually just sent me the spring schedule so I can pick what days I want to go."

Baylor is not the only school that White has interest from. The 6-foot-2, 290-pound guard has heard from Boise State, Rice, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and numerous Ivy League schools. Education is at the forefront for White when he picks a school.

"First off, a great education. Second off, I want a school that I feel at home at," White said. "Back at West, I have a great relationship with some of the coaches. Just great team bonding and the third thing is what the atmosphere is like in the stadium."

White isn't concerned with going far away from home either and wherever he goes, he will be making a switch to guard from tackle. That change can help White because of his footwork and ability to fire off the ball.

With Cottrell on his team, that will help White stay in the SMU coaching staff's sight and with a good year, an offer and invitation to SMU's next junior day could be coming.

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