2014 prospects came from far and wide to attend the SMU junior day back in February, but there were also a number of homegrown talents that were just a skip and a hop away.
Nate Gaines, a versatile athlete from Mesquite Poteet made the trip and took advantage of the opportunity to familiarize himself with the campus as well as the staff, whom he seemed to gel with quite nicely.
"I like how the coaches seem to really care about the players," Gaines said. "They were filled with energy and made me feel welcome when I was there. Every coach talked to me. It was just a good experience."
The 6-foot-3 175-pounder has developed a great relationship with his recruiter, defensive coordinator Tom Mason, who recently informed him of SMU's plans to offer him a scholarship.
"SMU is actually about to offer me within the next couple of months," Gaines said. "My recruiting coordinator for my area (Mason) told me."
Gaines, who is offer-less at the moment, has received interest from a number of schools including Texas Tech, SMU and Rice, which make up his top three at the moment. Others Gaines mentioned were Baylor, Northern Illinois and Ole Miss.
Gaines has only taken visits to SMU and Rice thus far but plans to make an appearance at the Baylor junior day this coming Saturday.
Currently, Gaines' recruiting has been a 50/50 split between the schools wanting him to play wide receiver and the ones looking at him to play safety with SMU falling in the category of the latter.
Gaines says he would feel comfortable playing either position although he likes playing wide receiver a little more. He says for him, the two positions go hand in hand, however, he thinks he would probably make a greater impact on defense at the next level.
"Honestly, I would probably say safety because of my height and my aggressiveness," Gaines said. "I'm pretty confident in my ability to read the quarterback and get underneath the ball or make a big hit or grab an interception."
Gaines used his prototypical size to also compete on the Mesquite Pirate basketball team this spring, which had a decent season. Gaines says since then his focus has been on school and getting better before the fall.
"After I got back from basketball it was pretty intense," Gaines said. "There have been some real good workouts. Right now, I'm working on my speed. I'm running the 200 and 4x2 in track so I'm already improving."
Gaines, whose fastest 40-yard-dash time is a 4.61, says that he has set high goals for this offseason including obtaining four FBS offers before the start of next season.
Local Prospect Expecting SMU Offer Soon
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