New SMU head coach Chad Morris and offensive coordinator Joe Craddock already have a solid relationship with Virgil and during their in-home visit, the trio reconnected from their days at Clemson recruiting Virgil.
“Of course, I was impressed with the staff because I’ve seen the staff when I was getting recruited by Clemson so I’m kind of familiar with them,” Virgil said. “They basically said they like me and they want me. I’m their guy. They just said they need that one guy who can help jumpstart the recruiting class and get things going.”
“It means a lot. He hasn’t even been here that long and he’s already out visiting people and I’m one of them,” Virgil said. “I’m very comfortable with them because he was the first one to offer me and we built a relationship that, going into this process, a lot of coaches don’t have and me and him do have. We built that relationship up for times like this I would say so it’s definitely an advantage.”
Morris’ advantage with his relationship will be important to SMU’s chances of landing Virgil, who could fall right in Morris’ lap since Mississippi State pulled his offer.
The process Virgil is now going through is difficult. Virgil was committed to Mississippi State, but the offer being pulled left Virgil scrambling since he’s a December graduate.
”I guess you could say I’m close to narrowing it down. It’s kind of hard right now talking to these schools and each school wants me to set up a visit to their school,” the 6-0, 170-pound quarterback said. “I don’t have that many visits and I don’t have that much time so I got to find out which schools I can get in. It’s just kind of hard narrowing things down.”
What’s difficult is telling schools coming in late that Virgil is out of time.
”It’s difficult because a lot of schools want you,” the dual-threat said. “You don’t want to lead schools on because you want to give them time to go get a quarterback that they can get in their class. You’re also trying to find the right school and take your time, but you’re in a rush.”
Louisville, Oklahoma, Indiana, Fresno State, San Diego State and Virginia Tech have visited Virgil since opening his recruitment with Oklahoma being the lone one yet to offer. Those schools are the ones left in pursuit.
“All the schools that I’m talking to right now are really fair game because any other schools that want to talk to me I would love to, but I really don’t have the time,” Virgil said.
SMU would get a visit, but Virgil has visited already so he knows what SMU has to offer along with coach Morris. It’s about finding out what other schools have to offer now.
“I’ve already seen everything. I actually took a visit to SMU last May so he knows that I’ve seen everything and we didn’t discuss a visit really,” Virgil said. “It’s just I’ve seen it and know the coaches so I’ll go check out other schools and things like that.”
Of course there’s the draw of playing close to home and building a program.
“It would mean a lot. To be a kid in this area and my whole life I never really stayed on SMU football, but there was a point in time that it was the big school that everybody wanted to go to,” Virgil said. “They definitely hired coach Morris because they want to get back to that and I think with the hire of coach Morris, you’re going in the right direction. If I was to commit here it would be great to put the program back on top.”
The way Morris wants to get SMU back on top is by bringing his aggressive style to the Hilltop, something Virgil would be comfortable doing.
“Definitely. I definitely know I’d fit well in the offense,” Virgil said. “Actually, this year we’ve had a lot of that offense my senior year and that I’d fit well.”
Coaching alongside Morris will be Craddock, who Virgil built a great relationship with at Clemson.
“He’s the same thing as coach Morris. He knows the exact same things about quarterbacks and he played the game,” Virgil said. “I definitely believe in him and he’s a great quarterbacks coach and he’s learned from one of the best in coach Morris so I know he knows his stuff.”
If Virgil comes to SMU, there’s a chance that he could start right away and he knows Morris already isn’t afraid to start a freshman, which is a big deal.
“Of course because that shows he’s not afraid to play a true freshman,” Virgil said. “He played a true freshman in big games so that let’s you know he’s not scared to play a true freshman. He’ll ride with a true freshman.”
Another freshman that could see the field is DeSoto receiver James Proche, who is now working on plenty of Dallas kids to join him on the Hilltop.
“I talked to Proche and he’s trying to get me to go there and we talk everyday now,” Virgil said. “Some of my teammates are talking how he’s from Clemson so I should go to SMU. It’s all up in the air and everybody’s talking to me about it.”
It’s a long way from being settled, but after visiting Louisville last week and having Oklahoma and Fresno State visits planned the next two weeks, Virgil is working towards a decision.
Virgil said there’s not a school that is in the lead for his signature at the time.