Euless Trinity linebacker Inoke Ngalo was thinking about committing to SMU throughout his official visit this weekend.
But it took a little game with his host Jerry Saena to push him over the edge.
"I went 1-on-1 with him, and he said if he beat me, I had to commit," Ngalo explained. "He whipped my butt."
And now Ngalo is the newest verbal pledge in SMU's 2014 class. Ngalo actually made two unofficial visits to SMU this past week to learn more about the program before making his official. Saena's game might have made his decision easier, but in his heart, he knew he wanted to be a Mustang.
"The reason why I committed to SMU is because it's close to home, and I just felt really comfortable there. I made those extra visits just to really see what it felt like," Ngalo said. "My parents can come watch me and help me out with anything so that's great too.
"I loved everything about the school. It's beautiful. I enjoyed my time at the Memphis game too. That was the highlight of the day. I also really liked the academics. They're challenging, but they're going to support us with great tutors. And I'm loving the visit. I'm having a great time with J.R. Reed and Michael Epley and Myles Crosby.
Ngalo originally committed to Houston but decommitted just before making his official visit to SMU. He also made an official visit to North Texas but said the Mustangs really separated themselves late in the recruiting process.
The 5-foot-11, 205-pounder is a bit undersized but will play inside linebacker for the Ponies and is already drawing comparisons to Taylor Reed from the SMU coaching staff. This past season, Ngalo notched 137 tackles and led Euless Trinity to the state quarterfinals.
"I got along great with Coach (Tom) Mason and Coach (June) Jones. They said I have good instincts and that I remind them of Taylor Reed," Ngalo said. "Coach Jones said he was happy I committed and said the most important thing was me succeeding as a student. I can definitely see myself playing for Coach Jones for the next four years."
While the coaching staff made him comfortable so did his future teammates, including Saena.
"Jerry is a great guy. He told me he this isn't high school anymore and that I would have to push myself and work my butt off," Ngalo said. "He's a great mentor and a good friend. He's Samoan and I'm Tongan so it's great to have someone that shares similar beliefs. I'm happy to have him as a friend."
A three-star prospect, Ngalo is one of the highest rated commits in SMU's class. He will sign with the Mustangs on Wednesday.
FREE: Ngalo Explains Decision
Pony Stampede Top Stories
Pony Stampede Hilltop Review: Oct. 21Come inside another edition of the Pony Stampede Hilltop Review with the latest news on SMU commits, targets and team news.
Pony Stampede4:00 AM
Game Preview: SMU vs. HoustonScott previews SMU's home matchup against in-state rival Houston on Saturday at 6 pm CT on ESPN2.
Pony StampedeYesterday at 9:00 AM
Pony Stampede Podcast: Oct. 19Come inside another Pony Stampede Podcast with the latest on SMU football ahead of the Mustangs' matchup against Houston.
Pony StampedeWednesday at 5:50 AM
From the other side: SMU vs. HoustonPony Stampede talked with Rob Sellers of Cougar Digest to get the low down on the Mustangs' in-state rival Houston ahead of the showdown on Saturday.
Pony StampedeWednesday at 4:00 AM