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!

Mason Stops By To See Vaughns

By EJ Holland

On Friday, SMU defensive coordinator Tom Mason made the short drive to Mesquite Poteet to check in on cornerback Verkedric Vaughns, who may very well pick up an offer as early as Saturday.

"It was great to talk to Coach Mason. He told me he's talking to June Jones about putting an offer on the table and that I should know this weekend," Vaughns said. "He told me I would be a great fit and that he liked my grades."

A couple of weeks ago, Vaughns made it out to SMU for one of the Ponies' final spring practices and was able to speak to Jones.

"June Jones was actually the first person I got to meet. He opened the door for me and we had a brief conversation. He just told me he was happy I was visiting," Vaughns said. "As far as the practice, SMU just has a different style. It's really quiet and more like an NFL practice."

If SMU does offer, it will be tough to land Vaugns, who holds an offer from Northwestern. The 5-foot-10, 180-pounder visited Texas Tech last weekend and currently has the Red Raiders at the top of his list.

"The coaches were getting crunk and hyped up with the players. It was crazy. It's something I want to be a part of," Vaughns said. "Coach (Kevin) Curtis told me I was close to picking up an offer, and Coach (Trey) Haverty said I impressed a lot of people so I was just really impressed with them."

"I grew up wearing red and black, and the fan support at Tech is second to none. If they offer, I'll probably commit."

SMU Offers John Tyler DB

By Beionny Mickles

Tyler John Tyler defensive back Terry Ausborne knows that he will playing football at the Division I level. The junior just received his first scholarship offer from SMU last week.

"It felt really good to get my first offer," the 5-foot-9, 165-pound athlete said. "It's a good school. They seem to care about education. They have a lot to offer."

Ausborne recently visited SMU to watch their last practice of the spring. Ausborne, who said his main reason for attending the event was seeing how SMU's practices were in comparison to the ones at John Tyler, said that the two were not much different.

"There isn't too much of a difference," Ausborne said. "There are just bigger guys. I like physical practices though because that is how it's going to be in the game."

While on campus Ausborne had conversations with head coach June Jones, defensive backs Coach Derrick Odum as well as his recruiter, defensive line Coach Bert Hill.

The East Texas standout said the coaches made him feel as if they really wanted him to be a part of their program.

"They just let me know about more things the campus had to offer and they were telling me that they really want me to come down there and be a part of the team," Ausborne said.

Ausborne says that there are a couple of schools that have been ‘talking to me pretty strong.' The schools that have shown the most interest in him are Northern Illinois and UTSA.

This spring, Ausborne plans to get ready for what will be his final season with a team that has recently gone very far into the playoffs. Ausborne's John Tyler team made it to the semifinals of the Texas high school state playoffs before losing to Denton Guyer, which eventually captured the state title.

With many of the players on the team graduating last year, Ausborne says that he plans to step up as a leader of the team by being an example.

"I'm just going to go out there and lead by example," Ausborne said. "I'm going to do what needs to be done and do my part in the game and hopefully everybody else follows behind me and does the same."

Local 2015 QB Visits SMU

By EJ Holland

SMU fans may remember Cary Brabham.

He played safety for the Mustangs after SMU came back from the death penalty and was named All-SWC. Brabham eventually played for the Los Angeles Raiders and Carolina Panthers.

His son Case could very well follow in his footsteps. The younger Brabham earned QB MVP at the National Underclassmen 5-star Showcase last weekend and visited SMU for the spring game.

"I really enjoyed the school. It was nice to see the players and how the coaches interacted with them," Brabham said. "I had gone to see a Rice's spring game, but SMU's was more like a practice. It was loose and all the players were having fun so that was nice."

Brabham is currently entering his junior year at St. Mark's and has kept in contact with SMU quarterbacks coach Dan Morrison since last summer.

"Coach Morrison is a really great guy. I've sent my tape to him and actually met with him a couple of months ago," Brabham said. "He's a really great guy. He gave me some pointers and it was really nice. He was like a father figure."

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound signal caller has also received interest from schools such as Northwestern, Duke and Tulane, but he hopes to follow in his father's footsteps and play for SMU.

"Right now my interest is really high in SMU. Hopefully I'll pick up an offer after my junior year," he said. "I've always loved the school. They have great academics. My mom and dad are both alumni. He played there so it would be great for me too."

Q&A With SMU WR Deion Sanders Jr.

By Billy Embody

BE: Can you talk about your adjustment to Dallas and SMU this spring?

DS: "Dallas is my city. You've got to put on for your city. I'm here with my family, friends and my enemies and I'm here at home so I just got to work."

BE: What is it like to play in front of your family and friends?

DS: "It's a blessing. Before self-motivation, you do it for your family so it's just a blessing being out there in front of them."

BE: There's a lot going on with this offense so how do you feel you've picked it up?

DS: "I was just an athlete at first just playing off of ability. Coach (Jason) Phillips is a great coach, and he is just teaching me how to play receiver. I'm getting better and better everyday."

BE: Did you start to think less and just play as the spring went on?

DS: "Yeah, but most of all, you're always thinking. You've got to see the coverages. You've got to see everything before the play starts so you're always thinking, but it's better to clear your thoughts and know what you're doing before the play even starts."

BE: What is going to be your focus over the summer? Getting bigger? Getting faster? Or just trying to know the playbook better?

DS: "Playbook. No matter size, I am going to go get it. I don't care if I'm five foot flat I'm still going to go get it. Mostly the playbook though so that's what I'm going to do."

BE: What do you think you did best this spring?

DS: "Just learned. It's the best thing I could do and it's the thing I could get better at. Just learning the offense and learning college football."

Thomas Recaps SMU Visit

By Billy Embody

TCA slot receiver Brock Thomas ended his junior season on a tough note when the team lost to FW Nolan Catholic on a last second field goal to end the team's hopes of a state championship prematurely.

Going into his senior season, Thomas is focused on getting back to the state championship and winning it this time for his senior teammates.

"I'm really looking forward to this season because it is the first season that I will be the primary receiver. I've always been the secondary receiver or there's been someone in front of me," he said. "We hate Nolan Catholic as much as anybody I know. We really want to beat them as bad as anything this year."

Thomas is also on SMU's radar and has been in talks with quarterbacks coach Dan Morrison and was able to find out more about SMU when he visited for the spring game.

"Back early in the offseason we were talking a lot at the Junior Day about how great SMU is and I was really impressed and interested in all the facilities and their football program. He was really selling me on it," Thomas said.

Thomas does not have an offer from any school yet, but feels like he could compete well with his size and speed with the SMU slot receivers after seeing the Mustangs in action.

"I was kind of impressed by the size of their slot receivers. They're actually pretty small and I thought they were going to be bigger. I was interested in that," the 6-2, 190 pound receiver said.

Although he feels like he could compete well, Thomas is focused on improving this offseason not only for his senior season, but for colleges as well.

"Just getting stronger in the weight room, quickness and strength are my three things," he said. "I wouldn't call them weaknesses, but they are the things that I am working on this offseason."

Thomas' focus is on his senior season, but with his improvements he hopes a college will offer soon. An SMU visit this summer is in the cards for Thomas as he still hopes to pick up his first offer.

SMU Interested In Sanger ATH

By Omar Majzoub

SMU isn't shy about their interest in recruits who have played multiple positions in high school. This appeal to versatility has now led them to Sanger quarterback and defensive back Wyatt Broxson.

Broxson visited the Hilltop for the spring game after coach Bert Hill invited him via email. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound junior says he has kept in contact with Coach Hill and learned a lot watching the team practice.

"I really enjoyed it," he said. "It was awesome to be around a college practice setting and get to see the level of athletes there."

Wyatt started both ways last year, at quarterback and corner, and played wide receiver as a sophomore. He doesn't have a preference on what position he wants to play in college, but says the school he picks has to be the right fit.

"I'm planning on taking another visit to SMU," he said. "I haven't set a date yet, but I would love a chance to tour the campus."

Broxson is known for being a great leader and role model for his teammates. He says leadership comes naturally to him and he has worked hard to stay at the top of his class academically.

Kansas State, ULM and New Mexico have all been in contact with Broxson, but he doesn't have a favorite yet. SMU told Broxson they plan on going to Sanger in the next few weeks to watch him practice and talk face-to-face.

Locke Reviews SMU Visit

By Beionny Mickles

Going into the summer before his junior year, Beaumont Central (TX) defensive back James Locke III is already becoming one of the area's stand out players.

Just a few days after attending the SMU spring game, Locke visited the NUC Southwest Five-Star football camp where he dominated some of the best competition around the area.

"No receiver caught a pass on me," the 5-foot-10, 177-pound cornerback said.

Locke said he that he got a chance to go up against a multitude of great wide receiver prospects who had won in coverage against. One of these prospects is an SMU interest by the name of T.V. Williams, who Locke says did not get a ball in his hands when going up against him.

While at the spring game, Locke said that he enjoyed watching SMU practice as well as engaging with the coaching staff.

"They were really cool," Locke said. "They just let me know that they really want me to come to their school. They treated me like I was already there, like I was part of the team. It was everything I expected. SMU was beautiful."

Locke says following in the footsteps of Beaumont-area stars Keenan Holman and Taylor Reed would be ‘great,' and it's one of the reasons why SMU is high on his list.

""Taylor Reed is going to the NFL and Keenan Holman starts so it's good to know that players from my area have been successful," he said. "The coaches seem to really like me especially Coach Morrison. He loves me and has that really smooth voice (laughs). I really feel loved."

Morrison will be at Beaumont Central next month, and Locke says he hopes to pick up an offer from the Ponies. Locke has also visited Baylor and Texas A&M.

Richardson One To Watch

By EJ Holland

2015 Rockwall Heath cornerback David Richardson immediately caught my attention with his on the field performance. After all, he was named the top sophomore defensive back at last weekend's National Underclassmen 5-star showcase last weekend.

But what really made him stand out from the crowd was the fact that he was sporting an SMU jacket.

"I really like SMU," he said. "I haven't spoken to any of the coaches yet, but I went to their summer camp last year, and I'm looking forward to going again this summer so I can get them to notice me."

If Richardson has a strong performance there, it's likely the Mustangs will begin to recruit the talented defensive back, who says picking up an SMU offer would be ‘awesome.'

"It's a great school academically, and it's close to him," he said. "At the camp last year, I got to work with Coach (Derrick) Odum, and he was really cool. I just like it there."

The 5-foot-10, 155-pounder has received interest from Arizona State and Colorado State.

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