SMU always has a presence in the Dallas suburb of Mesquite, and the Mustangs strengthened it by offering Class of 2016 cornerback Bailey Phillips, a 5-foot-9, 166-pounder from West Mesquite High School. SMU made a smart decision to offer now, as Phillips' recruitment has taken off.
"I'm happy that I got the offer," Phillips said. "But I'm going to have to keep working hard. I can't let anything slow me down."
Phillips learned about SMU through a former Mustangs star.
"I learned about it a little bit with Emmanuel Sanders," he said. "I'm friends with Emmanuel. It's a nice school, I'll compare it to all the other schools that I have. They're all on the same scale."
Phillips says the most appealing part about SMU is its defensive scheme, which he thinks he would fit well in.
"I like the scheme that they run; it fits me. Most of the schools that have offered me play a lot of man, and that's what I like to play. I like to be put on an island. I can play zone and I can play man. There aren't too many schemes that I can't fit in to."
Despite having an SMU offer, Phillips hasn't spoken to the SMU coaches much.
"I spoke with one of them at a spring practice," he said, although he couldn't remember which one. "They came to my practice. He was just watching one-on-one and he spoke to me."
Phillips has not visited SMU yet, but he might when he decides his summer schedule.
"I'm not sure," he said when asked if he will visit. "I don't know where I'm going this summer to visit. I'm just going to take it day by day and see where my coaches want me to go."
"I like to stick with my coaches, all the coaches that have recruited me (I talk to) at least once a week, so I feel they're all on fair ground right now. The (SMU) coach who offered me, I'd like to start talking to him at least once a week."
West Mesquite did win its third straight District title, but Phillips felt the team could have done more.
"We underachieved a little bit this year, but that was due to injuries. We're expecting the year coming up to go all out and hopefully try to win state."
The soon-to-be-junior cornerback has similar feelings about his individual season.
"I feel I did okay, there were several things I could have done better. But overall I think I had a pretty solid season. I'd like to improve on my ball skills. I got my hands on so many balls on breakups but didn't intercept them, so I want to turn those breakups into interceptions. If I close to the ball faster those breakups will become picks."
Phillips says the spring season was a great first step in to achieving the team's goals for next season.
"It went pretty solid; we got quality work in. We're just trying to get better as we go. We go against some of the best receivers, so in the secondary we have no choice to get better."