The Hilltop Review 12/21

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

Hines visits SMU, meets new staff

By: Patrick Engel

Chad Morris and his staff have mostly focused on gathering 2015 talent, but Morris took some time to host DFW’s hottest 2017 prospect, Plano East LB Anthony Hines (pictured above), for an unofficial visit.

“It’s a really great coaching staff,” Hines said. “You can tell they’re going to bring a lot of positive changes to the program and it’s a step in the right direction.”

Hines previously said that he was interested in SMU, but Morris’ hiring and SMU’s close proximity to his come has made it a serious option. He met Morris and linebackers coach Archie McDaniel on his visit the weekend of Dec. 13.

“My favorite part was meeting my position coach (McDaniel),” Hines said. “He was awesome. He expressed genuine interest toward me, and that’s always really good.”

But Hines also praised the academic side of SMU.

“Their business school is ranked extremely high, and I look to major in business, so that’s a big plus,” Hines said.

Hines entered this season with 48 offers, the most ever for a player entering his sophomore year. Six of those offers are from SEC schools. Nevada was the most recent team to jump in the sweepstakes, pushing Hines’ total to 56. Oregon State, Texas, East Carolina, Penn State, Purdue, Louisiana Tech and UTSA have also offered since early August.

The 6-foot-3, 227-pound linebacker committed to Mississippi State during his freshman year, but he reopened his recruitment earlier this fall. He said he won’t be in any rush to make a decision.

“I’ll plan to start narrowing my list down junior year, but I won’t make a final decision until senior year,” Hines said.

SMU has offered Hines’ teammates Ade Omotosho and Austin Corbett. Hines said that SMU is one of Corbett’s top schools, and that the Mustangs’ staff “Is really hoping (Corbett) commits to SMU.”

Howard has decisions to make

By: Scott Sanford

2015 San Angelo Central High School (Tex.) defensive end Eli Howard had received little interest from the old SMU coaching staff, saying his skills wouldn’t fit their 3-4 defense.

With that in mind, and the fact Howard only held offers from UNT, Sam Houston State, Stephen F. Austin and New Mexico State, the 6-foot-4, 245-pound senior decided to commit to UNT on his visit there December 8.

Howard remains committed to the Mean Green, but he now sports an offer from SMU, which has already shaken things up.

“I wasn’t really hearing from any other schools, and at the end of the day, I wouldn’t mind going to North Texas,” Howard said. “But now with this SMU offer, it definitely grabbed my attention and now I’ve got some decisions to make.”

New SMU defensive line coach Bill Young extended Howard his offer, and the defensive end has also been in contact with SMU defensive backs coach Jess Loepp.

While Howard has just started to hear from SMU, his interest level in the Mustangs is already high.

“When I heard from SMU I was pumped up because my mom loves SMU,” Howard said. “My head coach talked to me about the rumors that he (Coach Morris) was going to get hired and he was telling me nothing but great things about Coach Morris.”

Coming from a high-profile program like Clemson, Morris has already built up a reputation and Howard knows he could be a part of something special on the Hilltop.

“I think it’s going to be a great hire and I think he (Coach Morris) is really going to turn that program around. That’s why I’m so interested,” Howard said. “I’d like to be a part of something new, a part of something big and start from the ground up. Hopefully become a championship football team.”

Howard has been on campus before, citing the beautiful campus and facilities as a couple of attractive features of SMU, but the senior hopes to take in even more of the campus on his January 16 official visit.

The defensive end could still be committed to UNT at that point, but Howard said if he does reopen his recruitment, he’d take a few things into consideration before making another commitment.

“A lot of it is going to be determined on the SMU visit and what I hear back from (Texas) Tech and New Mexico State and a couple of other schools,” Howard said.

Howard currently does not hold an offer from Texas Tech, but said that could change if he were to reopen his recruitment.

Marble Falls QB gets SMU offer

By: Demetrio Teniente

On Friday we saw SMU head coach Chad Morris land his first big victory at the Hilltop by stealing 2015 Waco Midway QB Ben Hicks from Houston.

Earlier this week, Morris tried his hand at swaying another commit, this time from long-time rival TCU.

Morris originally recruited 2016 Marble Falls quarterback Brennen Wooten when he was at Clemson, so it makes sense that he would take another shot at landing the 6-2, 180-pound junior.

“I talked to coach Morris on the phone and he offered me,” Wooten said. “He was one of my first offers when he was at Clemson- I’ve had a great relationship with him. He just told me that I am a high priority for SMU and that they are going to recruit me all the way down to the end. He offered me a scholarship and it’s an honor because coach Morris is a great guy.”

It is important to remember that Wooten picked TCU over Clemson before, even though he thinks highly over Morris.

“I have a solid relationship with [Sunny Cumbie] and [Gary Patterson]. Cumbie is a great man and role model for me. It just seems like a great fit for me. I’m committed to TCU. I’m just honored to have the offer from SMU. It’s great to have options, and have a place that I know will always be there for me.”

Even though he is 100 percent committed to the Frogs, Wooten can tell Morris will do great things at SMU.

“I think it is a big deal for SMU,” he says. “I really believe that [Morris] will turn things around for them. He was a Texas high school football coach, so I think he will recruit the state well and be very successful at SMU.”

Wooten is unsure if he will ever make a trip to Hilltop, but hasn’t ruled it out yet.

“It’s possible,” he said. “I have no visits planned for any universities right now.”

Wooten will be a tremendous asset to whichever program he ends up with in the end. He is a strong leader and has one of the best work ethics around.

“No one will outwork me,” he says. “That’s something I’ve always had my whole life. I’ve always wanted to be a D1 quarterback and so I’ve tried to do whatever it takes and I’ve been fortunate enough be presented with scholarships to colleges and that’s such a blessing. I’m just very appreciative.”

Attaway Still Receiving Interest From New Staff

By: Andrew Hattersley

2016 Midway High School (Tex.) cornerback Cairo Attaway is still receiving interest from the new coaching staff and has loved what he heard so far.

“They basically just said that they’re keeping me on their radar, in the spring he said that they will be inviting me to practices and things like that, junior day, stuff like that, just unofficial visits,” said Attaway.

Attaway visited SMU for their November 15th homecoming matchup against USF with Blake Hickey.

“It was pretty cool, I met a lot of cool people, I only knew Blake but he was cool and I really enjoyed the recruit section, that was nice, I always like going to the campus,” said Attaway.

Attaway also got a chance on his visit to catch up with one of the former graduates from his high school.

“I knew one of them because he graduated from my high school, Shakiel Randolph, and we chatted so that was cool,” said the 5’10 165 pound cornerback.

Attaway has been in touch with a number of schools including quite a few from Power-5 conferences.

“It’s great, I’m really enjoying the whole process, the University of Missouri is sending me the most mail from their football program, other than SMU, just Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma State, TCU, Houston, and then San Diego State and Akron have been in contact with me,” said Attaway.

The Midway cornerback said his decision on where he spends his next four years would be based on where he feels the most comfortable.

“Just how I like it, the campus, the relationship that I build with the coaching staff, team chemistry, really just how I like the campus, I really like the SMU campus so that’s going to play a big role,” said Attaway.

Attaway has also appreciated how personable the new coaching staff has been, especially coach Jess Loepp and coach Van Malone, but also loves the high tempo style of practice and play that is going to come.

“I would love it, high tempo, I think that would improve the performance on game day as well, the high tempo style that coach Morris is going to bring in,” said Attaway.

Attaway will be at the Top 100 Next Level Athlete Showcase in January, he found out Thursday morning, and is hoping that this will allow him to garner even more attention than he has been receiving.

New Staff Offers Old Target

By: Andrew Hattersley

2016 Memorial High School (Tex.) running back Kameron Martin is committed to Baylor but received an offer from SMU recently.

“It’s always a big time offer when you get an offer from coach Morris, he’s a legend in Texas, he actually offered me my 9th grade year when Clemson offered me, he was the one that offered me so we always had a relationship when he was at Clemson,” said Martin.

Martin said while he has a great relationship with Morris and is thrilled to receive an offer, he is committed to Baylor.

“Right now, I’m 100% committed to Baylor but it’s always great to get an offer from a coach that has been recruiting me since the 9th grade but I’m always going to keep my options open, right now I’m committed to Baylor though,” said the 5’10 175 pound running back, Martin.

The Memorial running back, however, admitted he was thrilled to hear about coach Morris getting a chance at SMU. From day one, the new coach has been pushing for Martin to join him at SMU.

“The day he got the job, man I just wanted to congratulate him on twitter, so he said ‘you coming with me K-Man? We need someone that’s explosive,’” said Martin.

The speedy running back has no doubt that Morris will turn around SMU because of the many connections he has in Texas.

“I know that coach Morris is going to turn it around because a lot of coaches in Texas respect him and he did a lot of things at Lake Travis, and shoot man once you get the respect in Texas, he doesn’t have to do a whole lot to show the Texas folks what he can do,” said Martin.

Not only does the running back think the respect he’s gained in Texas will help, but was quick to point out the offense and defense he’s going to have will be impressive.

“I know coach Morris he’s an offensive guru, so the offense is going to be great and they have one of the best defensive staffs, they have coach Van Malone, he offered me a scholarship at Oklahoma State, I have a relationship with him too so I know the defense is going to be up and coming,” said Martin.

Martin has another year of school left and is planning to visit SMU during next semester.

“I told him I might get up there during the spring time but yeah I plan on getting up there,” said Martin.

Martin is a highly rated running back across the nation, including a 4-star rating with Scout. The running back also provided a glowing assessment of his game.

“I’m very smooth, I really don’t like getting hit but if someone is in my way I’ll run you over but I’m like a Jamal Charles running back, once I hit the first level its over with,” said Martin.

Memorial High School did struggle this year finishing with a 3-7 record but the junior running back did enjoy a good season.

Richard takes unofficial to SMU

By: Billy Embody

Last weekend, SMU hosted a group of recruits from Oklahoma including 2016 Santa Fe (Okla.) defensive back Delwin Richard. Richard’s group included Max and Josh Wariboko, Denver Johnson, Ashton Preston and Calvin Brundage, all friends from Oklahoma City.

The group stayed from Friday to Sunday and loved every second of it Richard says.

“It was a really good visit. I enjoyed myself,” Richard said. “I think the best part about it was the campus and the educational system that SMU has and how that works after you graduate.”

Richard was impressed with the staff waiting to welcome them at their hotel when they pulled up and the attention they received on the visit.

“I really love the coaches with coach Morris, coach Stepp, coach Loepp and they were really welcoming,” Richard said. “I could see myself being at SMU if the opportunity presents itself.”

Quarterback Matt Davis was the group’s host and they spent time grabbing dinner, playing video games and talking football Friday night.

Saturday, the group toured the campus, facilities and new dorms before taking in Allen vs. Skyline, which Richard called “fascinating” because he had never seen anything like that for high school football.

It was Richard’s first college trip and one that already stands out.

“It was my first time being on campus, meeting coaches and seeing how everything works there with the new staff,” the 5-9, 160-pound speedster said. “Coach Morris has these really great ideas about how he’s going to turn the program around.”

Morris talked about some of those ideas with the group.

“He’s coming up with this whole new offensive scheme for them. His recruiting and what he’s looking for to make the scheme work,” Richard said. “Defensively, they got coach Malone from OSU coming in so they’re looking to make that transition.”

Richard says there’s a lot in store for the facilities too.

“He’s redoing everything. A new locker room, player lounge and offices for the coaches, so everything’s going to be rejuvenated.”

Richard, Brundage, Preston and Max Wariboko all talked with position coach Jess Loepp.

“We really didn’t get into that too much it was mainly just getting to know each other.”

There is one thing that stands out to Richard about SMU.

“How they just came in with this whole positive mindset that even though SMU was 1-11 last year, they’re going to be that turnaround team in the NCAA next year and they have full confidence in that squad about that.”

Iowa State, OU, OSU, Tulsa and Missouri are showing interest, but Richard doesn’t have any offers yet. Richard will trip to Iowa State in January.

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