Despite committing to SMU in June, Mesquite Poteet defensive back Nathaniel Gaines made it clear throughout the recruiting process that he was open to listening to other schools.
Programs such as Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Utah, which offered last month, are all still expressing interest in the two-star prospect. But following his official visit to SMU over the weekend, Gaines' verbal became solid.
"I was blown away by the visit. It really solidified my commitment. Now, it's who is going to knock SMU off," Gaines said. "I didn't realize how beautiful the campus is until I got the full tour. I enjoyed seeing all the hotspots, and I had instant chemistry with the players and the recruits that were on the visit with me."
Gaines was welcomed with open arms by his player host, freshman defensive back Jesse Montgomery. Like Gaines, Montgomery is a taller, athletic defensive back, who played his high school ball in the Dallas-area.
In their short time together, Gaines said he learned a lot from Montgomery and well as Deion Sanders Jr.
"Jesse told me to come in and work hard and that I would be able to compete early. He said it's going to be tough coming into an unfamiliar environment as a freshman so I should really focus on school first then football," Gaines said. "We actually spent a lot of time at Deion's loft. He was really cool and told me that my time at SMU was going to be the best four years of my life. Both guys were really cool, and we had really good chemistry."
Along with meeting his future teammates for the first time, Gaines also had his first opportunity to sit down and get to know SMU head coach June Jones. And Gaines came away impressed after the meeting.
"Coach Jones looked like he would be a strict guy, a guy that would get on you a lot. But he wasn't like that at all. He was really laid back and cool," Gaines said. "We just talked about my future and how he expects me to play early. He said that I might play as a freshman because they're not very deep at safety.
"I also got to meet with Coach (Tom) Mason, and he also said they only have three or four players back at safety. He said I just need to put on more weight and show him why I deserve to play and be at the top of the depth chart. I was actually telling Deion and Jesse that I can see myself being like Shakiel Randolph. I think I can play early like him and be a similar type of player."
While meeting with the coaching staff and hanging out with Montgomery and Sanders Jr. were some of the most memorable moments from his time on campus, learning about SMU's prestigious academics might have made the biggest impact-- that and some good grub.
"We ate Mi Cocina and Texas De Brazil. It was all so good," Gaines said with a laugh. "But I think the big thing for me was learning more about the academics. I really like what SMU has to offer. That persuaded me to stay locked in with SMU."
Gaines says he is not sure if he will be taking any other official visits. For now, he has none scheduled.
Gaines 'Blown Away' By SMU Visit
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