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4-Star SF Interested In SMU

By Adam Grosbard

Throughout the beginning of the Larry Brown era at SMU, we have heard countless recruits talk about not knowing too much about the school but how the draw of the Mustang's legendary coach is impossible to ignore.

This is the case for junior small forward Danjel Purifoy, according to his AAU coach, Winfred Jordan of ATL Express.

"I think his interest level is pretty good," Jordan said. "Danjel's real impressed that Larry Brown is recruiting him. That was pretty impressive to the young man. He's not very familiar with SMU, but he's very impressed with Larry Brown. Larry Brown had a big impact on him. When I talked to him about their meeting, that was what he spoke of most."

Purifoy is being recruited by a wide variety of schools. He has offers from Kentucky, Michigan State, Auburn, Georgia, Alabama and most recently SMU.

But Jordan said geography is not important to Purifoy and his player is looking for ‘the best program that fits him.' Jordan described Purifoy as a lanky player with an uncanny ability to score.

"He's 6-foot-7, he's a wing, he can shoot it, he can rebound really well, he's a talent, and he has an unbelievable desire to win," Jordan said. "He has a knack for scoring the basketball. At 6-foot-7, I think most guys underestimate his ability to be explosive, his athletic ability.

"He's a strong athlete so when he puts on the floor and takes off for the rim a lot of people underestimate his ability to score above them. Once they see him juke through them, then they back away from him and he can hit that long jump shot."

Jordan also said Purifoy's long arms make him a strong defender and while he wishes the junior would improve his ball-handling skills, his leadership more than makes up for that.

"He's a great leader," Jordan said. "Very vocal and compassionate about the game. He loves basketball and the guys respect him."



Vanderbilt Has High SMU interest

By Omar Majzoub

2017 small forward Jared Vanderbilt is quickly becoming one of the most talked about players in his class. At 6-foot-8 and 195 pounds, Vanderbilt already has picked up offers from SMU, Creighton, and Texas A&M.

Vanderbilt plays for the Houston Elite under head coach Rick Nelson. Nelson says his player has high interest in SMU because of the opportunity to learn under a Hall of Fame head coach. .

"As a kid, he wants a chance to play for guys like Larry Brown and coach Ulric Maligi," Nelson said. "Its really hard to not want to be apart of what's going on. Just look at the type of kids they have brought in with Keith Frazier and Emmanuel Mudiay.

"You start looking at the type of pedigree that they are bringing in, and it's hard for a kid to not take a look at it. He would get a chance to stay home and have his parents watch him play, so he'll have his support system with him, too."

Nelson was very complimentary of the SMU coaching staff, especially Maligi. He has never had a player go to SMU before, but has known the staff for years now.

"Larry Brown came in with his NBA experience and great resume then brought in a guy like Ulric," Nelson said. "I thought that was a good move because Ulric is definitely a go-getter. He works really, really hard. He does a great job with the kids and getting to know them."

Although he is still very young, Nelson understands why programs have begun contacting Vanderbilt. Nelson has plenty of other players on the roster also receiving early attention.

"With a kid like that, it's never too early to start talking about recruiting," he said. "Everybody is going to come to him like crazy. It's funny because all the kids on the team are going through the same thing. I have been talking to people about Chris Giles (holds an SMU offer) also. I have a couple other ones, too."

As for Vanderbilt, Nelson says he has the potential to be a really special player. He has been coaching him since fourth grade and has watched him develop his game nicely over the years.

"Oh man, he definitely has the potential to be great," Nelson said. "He's a young ninth grader and the sky is the limit. He is a kid that's 6-foot-8 with a great skill set. It's just amazing when I think about it. I put him on the wing in fifth grade and he has been developing his perimeter skills."

Vanderbilt is a smooth shooting lefty with terrific ball handling skills. Nelson says he is also a great teammate who makes everyone around him better.

"He's athletic. He can dribble and were expanding his game more," Nelson said. "Jared still has four more years to develop so the sky is really the limit. People already think he has a prototype body, so he's just going to get better.

"He has really good handles and he's just a phenomenal passer. He's such an incredible passer. I think his passing skills are already at college level. It's impeccable."

Nelson has been able to coach some really talented players in his career, which can be a challenge. In his 14 years as an AAU coach, he has learned how to deal with some big egos.

"Well, it's not easy to coach great players because you always got to keep them interested," Nelson said. "He needs to be challenged or he will fall off. He's a great kid with great parents. He's going to be really well coached in high school. He has supportive parents and his dad's doing a great job guiding his career. He is just a great kid."



More On Mitchell

By EJ Holland

Earlier this week, SMU picked up its 17th commit in the Class of 2014 in Houston Lamar linebacker Kyran Mitchell.

The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder picked up an offer from SMU wide receivers coach Jason Phillips on Wednesday afternoon and committed less than 24 hours later.

"Coach Phillips called me before I went to class on Thursday, and I told him that I was committing," Mitchell said. "He was just happy. He was saying that he saw my film and that he thought that I would be a good fit. He also told me to expect a call from Coach (June) Jones later in the week."

When it came down to making a decision, Mitchell said the fact that SMU was the first school to offer him made all the difference in the world.

"It's a great school," he said. "I feel like I could do well there, and the academics are great. It's going to give me a great future. I'm just really excited about it. I knew I was going to commit as soon as I got the offer."

Mitchell is the fourth 2014 prospect from Houston Lamar to commit to SMU. He will join Darrell Colbert, Shelby Walker and Braylon Hyder on the Hilltop next fall.

"It's really cool to have teammates going to the same school with me," Mitchell said. "They were all excited that I picked SMU. They told me that it's a great program. They were really proud of me. It's just a blessing."

Mitchell also had interest from Houston and UTSA. This season, he's notched 54 tackles including 11.5 for loss and three sacks.



2014 Plano West DE Visits

By Beionny Mickles

Plano West defensive end Josh Webb was one of many high school athletes to visit the Hilltop this past weekend.

Webb, who would occupy one of the last few spots in SMU's Class of 2014 if he were to get an offer and commit, was in the stands for the Mustangs' homecoming game against Temple.

"I thought it was cool how they rallied back together at the end after being down by 21," Webb said. "I liked how the offense did and how the quarterback did end up getting National Player of the Week."

During the visit, Webb talked to his recruiter defensive coordinator Tom Mason about his season, the game and his recruitment.

"I haven't gotten an offer from SMU yet but hopefully that comes pretty soon," the 6-foot-4, 250-pound defensive lineman said. "I'm just going to have to see how the recruiting plays out."

Webb, who is quite familiar with the Hilltop being in close proximity out at Plano West, has been recruited by SMU since the beginning of his junior year. Webb did not get to see the campus on his most recent visit but says he has seen SMU facilities at least five times including at junior day and the summer camp.

Although Webb has offers from Ivy League schools Yale and Columbia, SMU would instantly rank as one of his favorites if he were to be extended an offer.

"It (SMU) would be up there just because I've been around it for so long," Webb said. "I've seen a lot of it the past couple years."

As of right now, SMU is trailing in Webb's overall rankings however. The local athlete says he favors Tulsa over all other schools at this point. Along with academics and football program, location is one of the top three things Webb looks at when ranking colleges.

"I check out how far it is to make sure it's not too far," Webb said. "I'd like to be close but not too close. Right now my favorite is probably looking like Tulsa right now. They haven't extended an offer, but it's high on my interest list."

With SMU being exposed along the defensive line with shallow depth on the inside, the Mustangs might be able to utilize a defensive lineman in the future even though young players like Zelt Minor and Elie Nabushosi have shown promise.

The best attribute about Webb is that he has been recruited as both a defensive end as well as a three-technique defensive tackle.

At Plano West, Webb as well as his teammate Lance Cottrell – who also visited SMU against Temple – have both played well and have their team sitting at 5-4.

"I've been doing well this year," Webb said. "I have five sacks and a whole bunch of tackles for loss. It's going well right now."



Austin-Area ATH Checks Out SMU

By Scott Sanford

2015 athlete Billy Ray McCrary was one of many recruits on campus for the come-from-behind victory over Temple last weekend.

The junior from Leander Rouse enjoyed his time on the Hilltop and especially enjoyed the homecoming festivities.

"We walked around while the parade was going on so that was really cool," McCrary said. "The atmosphere was pretty crazy. The fact that they were able to comeback like that also made the experience that much cooler."

While sitting and watching the Mustangs erase a 21-point deficit, McCrary, who holds an offer from the Ponies, paid close attention to the SMU offense and envisioned himself fitting in well.

McCrary is 5-foot-11, 193-pounds and plays quarterback at his high school but has been told by the SMU staff that if he were to commit, they would want him to switch to slot receiver.

With McCrary's speed, which has been clocked as fast as a 4.4 in the 40-yard dash, the speedster could turn into a dynamic receiver, and McCrary would embrace the change.

"I'm totally fine with it (switching positions)," McCrary explained. "I know that I'm an athlete, and they're going to have me playing in the slot or in the backfield depending on formation. I just want to get out there and play."

McCrary did not get a chance to speak with the coaching staff, but he does have a good relationship with linebackers coach Eric Daniels. Him and Daniels exchange emails and calls on a weekly basis.

Although McCrary is just a junior, his time spent on the Hilltop was a great way to learn more about the school behind the scholarship offer.

"It was great to finally get the full game day experience at SMU," McCrary said. "You don't really know how much you're going to like a school until you visit it so it was definitely an important visit."

Besides SMU, McCrary has received offers from Texas State and UTSA while also receiving interest from Colorado.

At this time, McCrary doesn't have any favorites, but when it comes time to make a decision, the junior said he will think long and hard about SMU.

"I'm just really interested in them," McCrary said. "They're a good school. They've got a great education to offer, and it's just a prestigious school in general."



East Texas RB Visits

By Scott Sanford

D'Luis West, a 2015 running back out of Troupe, was one of the many recruits who attended SMU's homecoming game last weekend against Temple.

West, like most of the other recruits, enjoyed his visit to the Hilltop and only had positive things to say about his experience.

"It was great. I absolutely loved it," West explained. "It was an amazing atmosphere, the players were nice, the coaches were nice and I could just really see myself playing there."

West, who has done his research on SMU, also said the school's academics and location are big reasons why he is highly interested.

"I love that it's an academic school, and I love that it's closer to home," West said. "I want my family to be able to come see me and support me so that's a big deal for me."

After the Mustangs' come-from-behind win, West had the opportunity to talk head coach June Jones, offensive line coach Wes Suan and fellow Troupe native Der'rikk Thompson.

"Coach Jones and Coach Suan thanked me for coming to the game and we chatted a little bit about what I should expect in the future," West said. "Der'rikk (Thompson), and I just talked about the game, and I congratulated him on the awesome win."

West said he and defensive line coach Bert Hill exchange weekly emails, but he did not get a chance to meet with his recruiter after the game.

If West were to receive an offer, he said he would be ‘very' interested and would think about committing sooner rather than later.

The 5-foot-8, 210-pounder has also received interest from Oklahoma, Rice, Indiana, Tulsa and Georgia State.

While West said SMU is one of his top schools, he's still open to listening to other schools and ultimately just wants to fulfill his dream of playing at the next level.



East Texas LB Visits

By Omar Majzoub

SMU had multiple recruits on campus to visit last weekend for the game against Temple. One of those players was Class of 2015 Tyler Lee linebacker Brandon Durman.

Durman has not picked up a scholarship from the Mustangs yet, but he left the campus very impressed with what they have to offer.

"I thought it was really nice," he said. "I loved the facilities, the locker-room, and everything. Everything was really nice. I thought the coaches were really cool. The football team is good; I liked everything about the stadium. It was a cool visit. I liked it a lot."

Durman visited the Hilltop with his teammate Matthew Weeks. Weeks picked up an offer from the Mustangs in the spring and has talked to Durman about the possibility of them playing together.

"We have talked about it," Durman said. "He went to Houston and didn't like it that much. He really loves SMU. We talked about what it would be like to room together and be in college together. It would be fun. That would be a big factor to go with somebody that I know. I will be able to talk to him and have stuff because I have known him since I was five."

Durman says he gets a lot of letters in the mail every week with programs showing interest. He mentioned San Diego State, Louisiana Tech, Louisiana Lafayette, Arkansas, Auburn, Missouri, Oklahoma State, Utah, Purdue and Tulane as the schools that have talked to him the most.

"I'm looking for a good education because if something happens and I can't play football anymore, I still want a good degree from wherever I go," he said. "I want to go to a school where I know the whole coaching staff really well.

"I mean, football matters, but I'm going to play the sport that I love so it's not about how good the team is. As long as I'm getting my degree and playing the sport I love. It all depends on who offers me and how the coaches respond to me."

Durman will visit Louisiana Tech on November 9 to watch the Southern Miss game. He also says he will make more visits when his football season is over.

"Me and Matthew might come back to SMU in December," he said. "Right now, SMU and Louisiana Tech talk to me the most so I know that they know who I am, and I like them the most. That's why I'm visiting them." At 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds, Durman thinks he would be a good fit in any defensive scheme.

"My biggest strength is my ability to read the offense," he said. "I read the line and know exactly what they are going to do. I have good ball instincts and I'm always around the ball. I know the game at linebacker really well and the position comes natural to me. I can always get bigger and stronger though.""

Durman is focused on making a deep playoff run this season but hopes his recruiting will also pick up. He wants to play himself into more scholarship offers by proving he can be an impact player to coaches across the country.

"I'm second in tackles and lead my team in tackles for loss," he said. "I have a pick-six for a touchdown. It's been a good year. I hope it results in more offers, but right now I'm just playing ball."



Houston-Area Athlete Visits

By EJ Holland

SMU is always looking for well-rounded athletes to add to its football program. So it comes as no surprise that SMU is already targeting Cypress Christian athlete Will Echols

At 6-foot, 175-pounds, Echols is one of the most impressive 2015 small school prospects in the Houston-area. Echols was an Honorable Mention All-State selection last season and is a straight A student in the classroom.

Echols, who is projected to play safety at the next level, was on the Hilltop last weekend for an unofficial visit.

"I liked the campus. It was really nice and probably my favorite that I've seen so far," Echols said. "I really enjoyed watching the players warm-up and the homecoming atmosphere. I had to leave in the third quarter, but I heard the rest of the game on the radio, and it was cool that they came back."

SMU is just beginning to send out offers to recruits in the Class of 2015 so Echols could be in the running for a scholarship in the near future. Echols does not yet have a primary recruiter, but he did get to meet some of the staff members during his time on campus.

Echols has also received interest from Utah State and Wyoming but says he would like to stay closer to home, and SMU might just be the place for him.

"My interest in SMU is really especially after seeing the campus and facilities," he said. "I like the stadium, and I like that it's a good school. I know that Coach (June) Jones is a Christian so that's also something that stands out to me."

This season, Echols has played some offense but is making a major impact on the defensive side of the ball at strong safety. So far, he's recorded 55 tackles.

"I feel like I can be a good safety at the next level because I have good size and can see everything," he said. "Right now, I'm having a good season, and it looks like my team will be going to the playoffs."



A look at how some SMU commits did…

- Jordan Ingram caught four passes for 73 yards and two touchdowns in Dallas Carter's 48-0 win over Dallas Pinkston.

- Nate Gaines recorded two receptions for 55 yards in Mesquite Poteet's 55-10 win over North Forney.

- Shelby Walker caught two passes for 26 yards in Houston Lamar's 28-21 win over Houston Bellaire.

- Darrell Colbert went 12 of 25 for 192 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 123 yards and a touchdown in Houston Lamar's 28-21 win over Houston Bellaire.

- Jordan Severt went 18 of 30 for 185 yards and a touchdown in Austin Westlake's 28-27 loss to Austin Lake Travis.

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