The Hilltop Review

Come inside this week's Hilltop Review for all the latest news in SMU's recruiting news!

Bolden hasn't heard from SMU

By: Patrick Engel

After missing on some big names around DFW in the 2015 class, SMU is looking at most of the 2016 DFW kids. DeSoto (Tex.) center Marques Bolden is one of the area’s best 2016 prospects, but he has not been hearing much from SMU.

“I haven’t talked to them at all recently,” Bolden said. “[The last time] was a while back, like the first day they could contact us in July.”

Bolden said SMU came to see him play in the live periods over the summer and he talked to SMU assistant coach Ulric Maligi a few times, but has not spoken much with Larry Brown.

“I liked my conversations with him,” Bolden said of Maligi. “He’s a really cool guy and I’ll have to see what he’s like as a coach.”

The five-star center has talked with a handful of other coaches, but he said Texas and Baylor have been in contact with him the most.

“I’ve been talking to Coach (Russell) Springmann with Texas and Coach (Scott) Drew with Baylor.”

Texas, Baylor and a few others came to watch Bolden at DeSoto during the fall live periods, but he said SMU was not there.

Bolden has offers from SMU, Texas, Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, Miami (Fla.), Illinois, Creighton and Nebraska. He listed Kansas and Texas as schools he likes a little more than the rest.

“The one thing I like about Texas is the family environment,” Bolden said. “They all become one as a team when they play. If you commit to them, they’re fully committed to you.”

Bolden has not taken any recent official visits because he is focused on his high school season.

“We stated off the season on the good foot, and we’re looking to build off that win. I feel pretty good about this season after what we did last year (31-4, state semifinals).”

All quiet on the Fox front

By: Patrick Engel

Larry Brown and his staff have been active in recruiting Houston players in the last few years, and 2016 combo guard De’Aaron Fox is among the Mustangs’ latest offers in the area. But he has not heard from the SMU coaches recently.

As far as I know, [De’Aaron] has only heard from SMU through written communications,” Fox’s mother, Lorraine, said. “He hasn’t said anything to me about them calling him.”

Lorraine said that the written communications are general recruiting letters in the mail, and not emails from coaches. She said that an SMU assistant was supposed to watch Fox during the fall live periods, but he did not tell her if the assistant actually came.

Fox, who plays for Katy (Tex.) Cypress Lakes, has received the most attention from Baylor, his mom said.

“Baylor is the most coach communication he’s had,” said Lorraine. “They’ve contacted him quite often and they’ve come to practices during the live periods.”

Fox has offers from SMU, Baylor, Kansas, Arizona, Florida, Texas and Texas A&M. He visited Kansas for Late Night at the Phog in October, and has taken unofficial visits to Baylor, Texas and Texas A&M.

Cypress Lakes started its season with a win this past week, and Lorraine says De’Aaron is excited for the season. But it started in a not-so-fun way.

“Unfortunately he was under the weather, experiencing flu-like symptoms. He played in [the first game], but was not himself,” Lorraine said.

Lorraine said De’Aaron does not plan to cut his list until after the next EYBL season and will not commit until around December of 2015. He has not closed the door on any schools.

“He has not cut down anybody or said, ‘I like this one better than that one.’ Right now, he’s just waiting. There’s no reason to be in a hurry.”

Bowling High on SMU

By: Demetrio Teniente

It is so hard to classify what position Brandon Bowling actually plays, because McKinney Boyd uses the junior in so many different ways.

Sometimes they line him up inside the slot, other times he is in the backfield or playing safety on defense. And when he isn’t doing any of that, he is returning punts and kicks.

It may be hard for everyone else to pinpoint what he does best, but it isn’t for Bowling.

“Probably slot,” he said. “I think my speed probably helps me a lot in that area."

It is true- Bowling has some wheels. The 2016 wide out says his latest 40-time was a 4.45.

When you watch his film, you can see Bowling has significant break-away speed.

“Last year I got put on kick return, mainly because of my speed and my vision,” he said. “There is always another gear I can kick it into another gear to separate from the defenders that are chasing me.”

Bowling is 5’9” and 195 pounds and because he is on the smaller side, he thinks he is being passed over by a lot of programs.

“I’m probably underrated,” he said. “There are a lot of guys out there that have the height that have the weight- but I don’t. So SMU is really the only [program] seriously looking at me.”

Last Saturday, Bowling visited the Hilltop for SMU’s homecoming game against USF and was generally pleased with his overall experience.

“I thought it was good,” he said. “It was the first time I’d been there. I was welcomed by coach Steve Stigall and coach Bert Hill and I had some good conversations with them. It was a little rainy but overall I liked it there- I could see myself going there in the future, no doubt. Education is definitely the most important to me. SMU provides that.”

While SMU is showing the most interest in Bowling early on, they aren’t the only ones taking a look at him.

Bowling has been in contact with Auburn (he visited in the spring) and SFA (he camped in the summer).

It’s still early in his recruitment process, but Bowling says if he could choose, he’d play for SMU.

Noren takes in SMU-USF

By: Andrew Hattersley

Parker Noren, a class of 2016 free safety from McKinney Boyd High School, visited SMU this past weekend for SMU’s homecoming matchup with USF and liked what he saw.

“It was great, it was a great time, nice experience to get to look around the school,” said Noren.

The 6’2 180 pound McKinney Boyd safety also took a visit to Midwestern State earlier this year and has recently received heavy interest from Cornell.

Noren’s teammate Brandon Bowling also came on the visit, which was something Noren said made the experience even better.

“It was cool to be able to be with one of my buddies on the visit,” said Noren.

The McKinney Boyd safety says he sees SMU as a fit because of their reputation as a strong academic school.

“I like the school because it is really close to home and academically I like it a lot because I want to go into the engineering field or maybe the business field so I feel like it’s good for me academically,” said Noren.

Despite SMU experiencing a rough season, Noren said he’s not deterred at all by SMU’s tough season.

Rather the 2016 free safety looks towards the future and what the opportunities might be available to him.

“I look at what’s good for the future, and the school as a whole,” said Noren.

As for his own team, McKinney Boyd is 8-3 and heading into the 2nd round of the playoffs against Cedar Hill on Saturday.

On the season, Noren has 51 tackles and 1 fumble recovery.

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