The Hilltop Review

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SMU Makes Swift's Final Cut

By Adam Grosbard

There are two spots remaining in SMU's recruiting Class of 2014. And Larry Brown and his coaching staff have made it clear that they intend to fill one of those spots with a premium big man to pair with their new elite point guard, Emmanuel Mudiay.

For the other spot, the Mustangs want the best athlete available.

One possibility for this final spot is Melvin Swift, a 6-foot-7, 205-pound three-star power forward from Houston Yates. This week, Swift narrowed his list of schools down from five to three and included SMU on it with Massachusetts and Connecticut.

"I just felt like these were the schools that wanted me the most and that I fit with the best," Swift said.

Baylor and St. John's were the two teams Swift left off his new list of schools.

In the last couple of weeks Swift has been in contact with SMU assistant coach Ulric Maligi, and this is one of the reasons Swift is still considering SMU.

"He been talking a lot about how I'd fit in and the team they been building," Swift said.

The appeal of playing with a great freshman point guard such as Mudiay is also appealing to Swift.

"I played with him before (in AAU) and I'd love to do it again," Swift said.

Swift has not been up to Dallas to visit SMU yet, but he plans to take an official visit soon.

"I have to figure it out with my mother and then we'll head up," Swift said.

Swift is a good shot blocker and has worked hard this year to improve on his stealing-ability. He also has become something of an Internet sensation with his highlight-reel in-game dunks. He says that the most important things for him in looking at programs is good coaching, good education and the ability to be competitive.

Lancaster Coach Updates Elijah Thomas' Recruitment

By Omar Majzoub

2015 big man Elijah Thomas could be the number one target of the SMU coaching staff in recruiting next year. At 6-foot-9 and 270 pounds, Thomas is a five-star and the number five-rated center in his class.

Thomas has already taken an unofficial visit to the Hilltop to meet with head coach Larry Brown earlier this fall. He also holds offers Louisville, Illinois, Baylor, Indiana, Georgetown, Florida, Arizona, Ohio State, Michigan, Texas, North Carolina and more.

Thomas' head coach at Lancaster, Ferrin Douglas, believes the Texas native has strong interest in SMU because of their location and coaching staff.

"It's early, but we talk about his recruiting a little bit," Douglas said. "He has multiple schools he is interested in. I think SMU is definitely one of them, but he doesn't have any favorites yet"

Douglas has been paying close attention to what Larry Brown and his staff have accomplished at SMU in the last two years. He says they have done an especially terrific job focusing on in-state recruiting.

"I think it's a great school," Douglas said. "Larry Brown definitely has changed the culture. With the signings of Emmanuel Mudiay and Keith Frazier, I think SMU has definitely built in the Dallas metroplex."

Douglas says the addition of Mudiay will help SMU in their pursuit of Thomas. The big man used to play for Prime Prep Academy before transferring to Lancaster before the season and loved playing with the 5-star point guard.

"Mudiay signing is great for them," Douglas said. "That will most definitely help them with Elijah cause that's somebody he would want to play with. Who wouldn't want to play with such a great kid?"

Thomas still has a long way to go on the defensive end, but his offensive game is already very well developed. He is nicknamed ‘Muffin' for his lack of muscle definition, but he is definitely not a soft player on the court.

"If you can kind of picture Zach Randolph of the Memphis Grizzlies, that is his game pretty much," Douglas said. "He is really skilled around the basket but not necessarily one of those leaper type guys. He is definitely really skilled though because of his size and his shoulder width. He also has a very high basketball IQ."

Douglas believes Thomas will be successful if he is with a coaching staff that will push him to stay in top condition. Although he very talented and strong, the big man will need to continue to work on his post game and shot blocking.

"It's important that he is in a situation where he can come in and help the team win," Douglas said. "He wants to go somewhere he can utilize his talents on both the offensive and defensive end. He also wants to play for a coach that will help him reach his full potential as a player."

This season, Thomas is averaging a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds per game. His list of schools is currently at 24, but he is hoping to cut it down to the final 10 soon.

Mumme Targeting 2014 OL

By Scott Sanford

If you thought SMU was finished recruiting offensive linemen, think again.

One of the players that SMU is keeping an eye on is Jackson (MS) offensive lineman Campbell Vise.

Vise, who can play either center or guard, does not hold an offer from SMU at the moment, but he keeps in touch with his recruiter and SMU passing game coordinator Hal Mumme.

"We talk a fair amount," Vise said. "He really likes everything that I do and he think that my ability to move would fit well in SMU's air raid offense."

Vise, who visited SMU for the UConn game, did not get a chance to talk with the coaches, but enjoyed taking in the game and getting a chance to see the SMU campus.

"Everything was really nice," Vise said. "It was a fun game to watch and it was cool watching a team that I could be a part of some day."

While the class may close to being full at the moment, there is always the possibility of a recruit switching his college choice like we saw with Tyler Harris.

Because recruits can still switch their college choices, the SMU coaching staff is keeping in contact with a number of recruits who they could offer if a committed recruit decides to bolt so it's worth keeping an eye on Vise.

At the moment, Vise holds an offer from Penn and says he is looking for a school ‘quality academics and football.'

McAlone Recaps SMU Visit

By Omar Majzoub

2014 Dallas Jesuit wide receiver Kellen McAlone visited the Hilltop for the SMU vs. Connecticut game a few weeks ago.

Although he is from the Dallas-area, McAlone had never been to SMU and was impressed with the campus and facilities.

"I have always been around the school because I live literally like five minutes away from it, but I never really visited," he said. "I've always loved the academics that they have there though. I know people who go there and tell me about how great of a school it is and how awesome the people are. When I went down there, I got some time to tailgate with some of the people and it was just a really enjoyable experience for me."

SMU might add another wide out in 2014, but McAlone says he hasn't heard back from the coaching staff in a while. He has, however, been talking to a few Division 1-AA schools and has been considering a couple walk-on offers from BCS programs.

"SMU is definitely up there," McAlone said. "If they keep talking with me, then I would definitely consider them to be up there in my top five or seven. I just want to talk to them a little bit more because we haven't done that much. Hopefully, we get a little bit more contact."

At 6-foot-1, 195-pounds, McAlone says he can play both wide receiver and defensive back in college. Right now, he believes the SMU coaching staff wants him as an offensive weapon.

"If it's receiver, that would be perfectly fine, but honestly I could care less," he said. "If I played linebacker, corner, safety, or wherever they want me to play, I will play it."

McAlone believes he would be most effective at wide receiver because of his strong hands and route running. He is hoping to improve his speed this offseason while trying to find a school that will be a perfect fit for him.

"Honestly, education is a really big factor for me," McAlone said. "I also don't want to go to a school where I can be there for four years and not really contribute to anything. I want to go somewhere where I have a chance to make an impact wherever they put me. Either way, I just want to be able to play."

McAlone was very pleased with how the Jesuit season went this year. He caught 66 passes for 1,069 yards and 13 touchdowns and says the team made school history.

"Our season went really well," he said. "We went three rounds deep, which is the furthest we have gone in Jesuit history. We played Lake Travis and ended up losing to them, but it was a very successful season for us."

2015 Safety Visits SMU

By Adam Grosbard

Junior safety Jaelan Collier visited SMU with a group of his teammates from San Antonio Brennan for the Mustangs' game against Temple last month.

"I loved my visit. It was exciting," Collier said. "It was just fun all-around."

Collier did not make it to the locker room or even get an opportunity to walk around the SMU campus but did enjoy what he saw of the football team's facilities.

"I saw the training room and the little memorial that they had in there. It was pretty nice," Collier said. "We talked to the recruiting coordinator but that was about it."

Collier has only received interest from SMU so far. He has yet to be contacted by any of the members of the SMU coaching staff, but he still has interest in the school.

"My interest level in SMU is pretty good. I'm liking the community that they have going there," Collier said. "The program looks good. I like it a lot."

Collier and Brennan advanced to the state semifinals with a 30-7 win of Billy McCrary's Leander Rouse team. He has strong pass coverage skills but still feels that there is room for improvement in his game.

"My tackling could be a little better, and I could be a better leader on the field," Collier said. "I want to improve both of those things for my senior season."

Quick Take: Nate Gaines

By EJ Holland

QT- Nate Gaines' Mesquite Poteet team was overpowered by Ennis on Thursday night. Gaines didn't have a great game, but he showed his athleticism and length on a few plays in the first half including a lob to the end zone that he swatted away. It's clear Gaines still needs to bulk up though. He struggled in run support and was flattened by Baylor commit and Ennis running back Terrence Williams. This is the second time I watch Gaines play. The first time was earlier this season in person, and it was more of the same. I feel like Gaines can be a great player on the back end for the Ponies as early as his sophomore year, but he needs to add weight to his lanky frame as a freshman.

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