The Hilltop Review

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SMU Possibly Targeting 2015 Point Guard

By Adam Grosbard

With Emmanuel Mudiay expected to be a one-a-done for SMU, Larry Brown and his staff have spent a lot of time recruiting point guards from the class of 2015, even after the commitment of Sedrick Barefield.

One of these point guards is Jimmy Whitt, a four-star recruit whom Brown travelled to watch play last month.

Whitt's AAU coach, L.J. Goolsby, was not clear on the specifics of the visit but said that the junior is excited to be recruited by SMU.

"I really haven't talked to Jimmy of late with him being in season and stuff. I know that he is really excited that SMU and Coach Brown is recruiting him," Goolsby said. "(SMU's rise) is not surprising when you get a coach like Coach Brown and the experience he brings, it's just a matter of time before they become successful, once he gets the players in there."

Goolsby thinks that Whitt's skill set would fit into Brown's offense nicely.

"I think SMU would be a natural fit for Jimmy. Jimmy has an ability to score and Coach likes guards that can do that," Goolsby said. "I think he would allow Jimmy to flourish in that system."

While Whitt is listed as a point guard, Goolsby thinks his scoring touch makes the 6-foot-2, 165-pound junior more of a combo-guard.

"He likes to score and he does that well so you don't want to take that away from him," Goolsby said.

Another strong point of Whitt's game is his defense.

"He's really good (on defense). He's so long he disrupts a lot of movement for other teams," Goolsby said. "He can use his length, he's really a good athlete, so he can get after some guys."

At the end of his junior season, Whitt is also proving to be a winner. His high school Hickman won in the semifinals of the Missouri Class 5 championship tournament Thursday night to earn a spot in the championship game Saturday. Whitt had 25 points, seven rebounds, and one monster block on a dunk that earned him a spot on the Sports Center Top Ten.

Whitt has picked up scholarship offers from numerous schools around the country, including SMU, Arkansas, Wichita State, Tulsa, Oklahoma State, and Creighton. He also has received interest from the likes of Kansas, Indiana, Ohio State, and Illinois.

Goolsby says that Whitt has simple criteria for choosing his college.

"Honestly for Jimmy, he's looking for a natural fit for him, making sure he gets along with the coaching staff, a good situation academically for him. Those are the things he is looking for," Goolsby said.

Player Spotlight: Nick Russell

Lockett Expecting SMU Offer

By Patrick Engel

SMU assistant Jason Phillips has built quite the recruiting profile in the Houston area, and defensive back Will Lockett (Manvel, TX/Manvel) is one of his latest targets.

The junior has drawn interest from 11 schools and has picked up offers from Louisiana Tech, Maryland, and Michigan State. But Lockett knows that his list of offers is far from finished, and he expects SMU to join the list soon.

"I'm pretty sure they are going to offer me when I next get to contact them, they're definitely interested in me," Lockett said.

"We've been talking for a while now, I think it has been around a month," he said of his relationship with Coach Phillips.

Lockett was not able to attend SMU's February 22nd junior day due to a track meet. He says he hopes to visit soon once his track season is over. So far, he has taken visits to Baylor and Oklahoma, although neither has offered him yet.

Texas, TCU, Baylor, Kansas State, Northwestern, Michigan and LSU are the other interested schools.

Lockett is a tall, rangy cornerback with plenty of strength. The 6-foot, 190 pounder squats 320 pounds and benches 270. He was pleased with his junior season and looks forward to an even stronger one next fall.

"My last season went really well, it was better than my sophomore season by far. I had a lot more tackles, a lot more pass breakups," he said. "I think when I transferred from St. Pius, I got better as a player."

"I had 2 interceptions, 12 pass breakups, and around 50 tackles," Lockett said. "It's something to build off of for my senior year."

Beard Liking SMU

By Patrick Engel

SMU's Junior Day has passed, spring practices are underway for both high school and college teams, and recruiting for the Class of 2015 is getting intense.

Fredericksburg High School (Fredericksburg, TX) wide receiver/defensive back Brayden Beard is no exception. He has drawn significant interest from SMU, UTSA, North Texas, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Clemson, and Arkansas. Beard said he plans to visit Arkansas this week, but he won't forget his experience at SMU's junior day last month.

Beard said he enjoyed the experience and that he has "high interest" in SMU and "would love" to play there.

He has had consistent contact with SMU coaches Jason Phillips and Keith Gunn. He says he does not have an offer from SMU yet, but there is mutual interest and he expects an offer down the road.

Despite his 5-foot-8-inch frame, Beard has surprising strength. He can squat 430 pounds and bench 290. He also has explosive athletic ability shown by a sub-4.40 forty-yard dash and a 36.5-inch vertical jump. Two-way players with athleticism and strength like Beard's are a hot commodity among college teams, and the offers those abilities will lead to will make his college decision a tough one.

Beard finished last season with 100 tackles, three forced fumbles, and one interception on defense, while adding 817 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns.

Condor Hoping For SMU Offer

By Patrick Engel

SMU is working to develop better relationships with Dallas-area high schools, and one of their many targets in the area for the Class of 2015 is wide receiver Cash Conder (Celina, TX/Celina).

The 6-foot, 190-pound Conder is generating interest from a handful of teams, including Akron, SMU, North Texas, and Louisiana Tech. The only offer Conder currently has is from Akron, but he recently attended Junior Days at SMU and North Texas and said that he hopes to pick offers from both in the coming months.

The facilities at SMU impressed Condor, and he added that he thought SMU was a beautiful place to be. He has been in contact with SMU assistant coach Steve Broussard and has met with head coach June Jones.

Conder fills out every inch of his 6-foot frame and has great strength for a wide receiver, and also runs the 40-yard dash in the 4.5-second range. Strong receivers are always sought after by college recruiters, so Conder should have plenty of offers to choose from when he makes his announcement.

SMU Targeting Azle Linebacker

By Patrick Engel

SMU lost a strong duo of linebackers from last season in Randall Joyner and Kevin Pope, and the Mustangs' efforts to replace them extend beyond the Class of 2014. All-State Class of 2015 linebacker Johnny Crow (Azle High School/Azle, TX) has been on SMU's radar since October.

An SMU coach contacted Crow during his 2013 season and invited him to the game against Rutgers. Crow says he has kept in contact with a couple of the coaches and also attended SMU's junior day in February.

"I got invited to a football game. I went to the Rutgers football game. That was the first time they made contact with me," Crow said. "The football program was amazing. I loved all the coaches that talked to me. I loved the campus and the environment that was there."

"There hasn't been any discussion about an offer yet, but I hope I get one," Crow remarked optimistically. "I'm going to practices, I'm going to come to the spring game, but we haven't said anything about (an offer) yet."

Crow's high school coach, Devon Dorris, added that he has spoken to multiple coaches from FBS, FCS, and Division II teams.

"I have no offers yet, I've been to UNT, Tulsa has invited me, and a lot of out-of-state schools," Crow said. "Those are my junior day invites."

Teams of main interest to Crow are North Texas, SMU, Tulsa, and Rice, but two of them stick out as favorites.

"My two favorites would be SMU and North Texas," Crow stated, saying he has enjoyed the contact he has had with them, the junior days, and meeting them.

Crow is coming off a strong junior season, notching 115 tackles and 7 tackles for loss.

"I led the team in tackles, I was All-State. It was an all-around good year, and I know next year will be better," Crow says of his junior season.

Crow has also been timed in the low 4.7s in the 40-yard dash while on grass and in cleats. He is 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds.


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