When SMU defensive coordinator Tom Mason made the short trip to Mesquite Poteet last week, he not only spoke to Verkedric Vaughns but also his teammate Nathaniel Gaines.
Gaines, a 6-foot-3, 170-pound defensive back, visited SMU for junior day as well as a spring practice. After conversing with Mason, Gaines believes he is closer than ever to picking up an offer.
"After we got done scrimmaging, Coach Mason pulled me and Verkedric aside," Gaines said. "He told us that he really wanted us bad and that he was going to try to convince June Jones to get the offers on the table for us in the next few days.
"When he said that, I was really overwhelmed because SMU is one of my favorite schools. They have great academics and nice and easy practices so I think it would be a great fit for me. I also love the history and not just with football because I was also impressed that all the presidents were there this weekend."
If Jones does end up approving the offer, Gaines said he would ‘really think' about committing and has discussed this possibility with Vaughns.
"We've talked about SMU and how it would be cool to go there together," Gaines said. "Verkedric said if he feels like his best offer is SMU, he'd commit there because it would be really cool to be able to lock up receivers together."
Both prospects actually started at wide receiver last season and sparingly played in the secondary. Gaines caught 29 passes for 296 yards and six touchdowns and was named All-District Honorable Mention.
Gaines expects to start both ways this season and feels he can make an impact at safety on the Hilltop.
"Coach Mason asked me if I would be comfortable at safety, and I told that by playing there at times this year, I was drawn to it," Gaines said. "I told him I want to play safety for you, and he said that's what I like to hear."
But SMU may have some stiff competition. Navy extended an offer last week and will be down to watch Gaines in action on Tuesday. Oklahoma State and Rice are also expected to stop by later this spring.
Mason Checks In With Gaines
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