The Hilltop Review

Come inside for exclusive stories and info on SMU recruiting!

SMU In The Mix For Grandstaff

By Omar Majzoub

After decommiting from Oklahoma State earlier this week, 2015 shooting guard Austin Grandstaff from Rockwall has opened up his recruitment again.

Grandstaff is the Texas-5A scoring leader this season with 26 points per game. And SMU is one of the schools back in the mix after inviting him to new Moody Coliseum this weekend.

His dad, Wes, who coaches Team Texas Elite, already has a good relationship with the SMU coaching staff. He says the entire program has had a different look and feel to it this season with their success.

"I have a good relationship with K.T. (Turner) and Ulric (Maligi), and I have known Coach (Tim) Jankovich forever. I knew him when he was at Kansas, so we have a great relationship," Wes said. "I think right now they are some of the hardest working coaches in college basketball as they try and get that thing turned around.

"They got new arena renovations and I think they are on the right track. They are a lot of winning games and some against powerhouse, top-25 teams."

Wes says Oklahoma State remains in the mix, and there's still a chance Austin ends up a Cowboy. But the coach wanted to make sure his son was making the right choice.

"We feel we might have jumped the gun and committed too early. We just want to make sure that everything is going to be the way we like in two years," Wes said. "Right now, we have interest in every school that has good basketball program. SMU is headed in the right direction so they are in the mix."

Grandstaff will be at today's game against Cincinnati. He will be joined by AAU teammates Elijah Thomas and Matt McQuaid.

Hyder Talks Signing, Visit

By Scott Sanford

2014 Houston Lamar center Braylon Hyder was one of four Redskins to sign with SMU on Wednesday and the 6-foot-2, 303-pounder couldn't be any happier about his decision.

Hyder, who committed to the Ponies last March, enjoyed the festivities of signing day with his family, friends and teammates.

"I've been waiting for this day for a year and half now and finally being able to sign was very exciting," Hyder said. "Me, Darrell (Colbert), Shelby (Walker) and Kyran (Mitchell) all signed our letters of intent at the same time so we're all really excited to play together for the next four years."

Although Hyder has been committed to SMU for almost a year now, he did not take his official visit until last weekend. While on the Hilltop, Hyder got to visit the facilities, attend a basketball game, meet some of his new teammates and talk with the coaching staff.

Hyder said he enjoyed every aspect of his visit, but what he really enjoyed was talking with the coaching.

"The coaches are really nice," Hyder explained. "I love the coaches because you can sit down and talk to every single one of them about whatever is going on with you."

Before checking out of his hotel, Hyder met with head coach June Jones and discussed what kind of impact he wants to make once he gets to campus. Hyder did say that he would be ok with redshirting but ultimately, the center wants to make a push for early playing time.

"I want to come in and compete ASAP," Hyder said. "I want to be one of those true freshmen that plays. If that doesn't happen, if they redshirt me, I'd be fine with that, but I just want to make an impact right away."

Hyder is naturally a center, but because SMU already has a sturdy center in Taylor Lasecki, it is possible Hyder moves to guard early on in his SMU career.

Mitchell Excited To Officially Be A Mustang

By Omar Majzoub

SMU landed four talented recruits from Houston Lamar in its 2014 class that could make big impacts on the Hilltop.

The only defensive player out of the four was linebacker Kyran Mitchell. At 6-foot-1, 205-pounds, Mitchell is excited to be a Mustang after not holding any other offers.

"I'm very excited to sign with SMU," he said. "I'm very comfortable with everything about the school. I'm just ready to get there and get to work."

Mitchell became close with SMU coach Jason Phillips during his recruitment. But it was his conversation with head coach June Jones that made the biggest impression on him.

"He talked to my parents and me and it was a really nice conversation," Mitchell said. "He talked about what position I would play and what kind of player I could be. He also told me to keep my grades up and be ready."

Mitchell also enjoyed touring the SMU campus and seeing the football facilities. He said the current SMU football players did a great job of hosting the recruits all weekend.

"My player host was Ty Law. He is a cool dude," Mitchell said. "He showed me around and told me a lot of things about the school and the football program. He really helped me out."

Mitchell first talked to SMU when he participated in the Mustangs' summer satellite camp in Houston. He was a middle linebacker in high school, but believes he will be more effective on the outside in college because of his speed and versatility.

"I'm excited to play with Darrell (Colbert), Braylon (Hyder) and Shelby (Walker) again," Mitchell said. "I think Coach Mason is going to utilize my skills well. This was a good fit for me. I think I can have a major impact playing outside linebacker for SMU."

Durall Talks Signing, Official Visit

By EJ Holland

For some recruits, signing a letter of intent can be a huge relief. For Darius Durall, it was all about taking in the moment and enjoying the National Signing Day festivities.

The South Houston running back wasn't the highest rated recruit to sign with the Mustangs on Wednesday, but he might have been the most excited. After all, SMU was the only school to give him an opportunity to play at the FBS level.

"It feels good to officially be a Mustang. It's something I'm really proud of. I get to start something new with my old teammates," Durall said. "I achieved a big goal of mine. I'm really happy about it."

Durall, a two-star prospect, began his career at Houston Lamar before transferring to South Houston for his senior year. In his lone season as a starter, Durall rushed for 814 yards and 14 touchdowns.

He committed to SMU in December, almost immediately after picking up the offer. Just before National Signing Day, Durall made his official visit to SMU, which reaffirmed his initial feelings about the program.

"Everything went good. I liked everything about SMU-- the coaches, the field the locker room. Everything was nice," Durall said. "My favorite part was just the tour because I got to see everything. AJ Justice was my host, and he showed me a good time. I just can't wait to get there."

Durall also enjoyed his meeting with head coach June Jones and wide receivers coach Jason Phillips.

"Coach Jones said I could make a good impact on the offense at running back or slot receiver. He was really cool and laid back," Durall said. "Coach Phillips is the man. I talk to him all the time. Before I went up there, he came to my house and met my family. They all liked him and thanked him for giving me a chance."

Durall is coming to SMU with a chip on his shoulder and says his main goals are ‘staying focused on school and making a positive impact on the team.'

Natour Enjoys Signing Day, Visit

By Adam Grosbard

At his Signing Day press conference, SMU head coach June Jones said that one of the biggest priorities for this year's class was the offensive line.

Offensive lineman Nick Natour from Frisco Lone Star will be a big part of this year's offensive line renaissance for the Mustangs. During his two visits to SMU leading up to Signing Day, Natour really enjoyed himself.

"They showed us the whole campus. On my official, I went to Moody (for the Memphis game). It was awesome. That was amazing," Natour said. "(I stayed with) Kris Weeks. He's an awesome guy. Everyone at SMU is just a good person. They all treat you with respect and you treat them with respect and you get along fine. He's a nice a guy, showed me around, showed me Dallas, played some golf, had some fun."

On his official visit, Natour also spoke with Jones.

"We just talked about what he sees in me, what he expects from, and I just told him I can't wait to play for him," Natour said. " He seems like a nice guy."

For National Signing Day, Natour's high school held a small ceremony.

"It was me and a couple other football players from my school. I was in the middle and I had my jersey and we watched some game tape," Natour said. "I signed my letter and my parents were there. People taking photos, it was a really good time."

During his Signing Day press conference, Jones said he expects Natour and a couple of the other new offensive linemen to compete for playing time as freshmen. Natour thinks he will be able to contribute right away.

"They're a passing team but they run the ball too and I can (block for) both. I think I can help them. I'm pretty athletic for my size (6-foot-5, 285-pounds)," he said. "So I'll just do what they ask me to do and I'll be working all summer."

In high school, Natour showed a lot of skill in run blocking. He is quick enough to pull and seal off the edge but also strong enough to attack the man in front of him in short yardage situations.

Considering his strengths, it makes sense that Natour is excited about being a member of the same class as four-star running back Daniel Gresham.

"I met him and he's a big guy. I really can't wait because he's going to be an excellent running back," Natour said. "He's a power back and can go through people and break tackles. It's going to be awesome, and I can't wait. With me pulling, that'll be a great combination."

Early Evals of 2015 Waco Midway Prospects

By Billy Embody

S Kahlil Haughton

Technique: Haughton shows solid hip movement and runs well sideline-to-sideline. With Haughton's speed, he has great range in the secondary. With his solid build and some time in the weight room, Haughton could be a punishing hitter.

Ball Skills: Haughton isn't necessarily the best with his ball skills, but attacks the receivers that are going up for balls with big hits. Unfortunately, there's not much film on Haughton, but from watching him, he's a solid safety that needs to develop his ball skills a little more.

Coverage: Haughton continues to work on his quickness, but needs to get faster in order to keep up with slot receivers at the next level. He displays good work against receivers when matched up one on one, but also does a good job reading plays and making a break on the ball.

Side Note: As a junior, Haughton notched 87 tackles, 10 pass breakups and two interceptions.

Offers: Baylor, Oklahoma, Oregon State, SMU and TCU


HT: 6-1

WT: 175


WR Devontre Stricklin

Route Running: One of Stricklin's strengths is his route running. He's smooth in his cuts and understands how to set up defenders when he makes his break. Stricklin is a lanky receiver, but that allows him to get to the top of his route quicker. Stricklin does fade a little bit up the field on his post route, but that is a minor correction that will be taken care of at the next level.

Hands and Technique: Stricklin catches the ball away from his body with his hands and looks it in well, which allows him to make tough catches. Stricklin sinks his hips at the top of his route, a tough task for a tall receiver like Stricklin, but with his solid technique, Stricklin will just have to get stronger at the next level to be an elite receiver.

Big Play Ability: In the redzone, Stricklin is a definite jumpball threat and can also get on top of defenders well with his speed. Stricklin's ability to adjust to poorly thrown balls and can come down with them because of his solid technique. Expect Stricklin to fill out his frame to be able to get off the line of scrimmage at the next level.

Side Note: Stricklin was named one of the best performers in Texas High School playoff action by after he had two long touchdowns and finished with 151 yards.

Offers: Baylor (Committed), SMU


HT: 6-3

WT: 180


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