SMU head coach Chad Morris, defensive coordinator Van Malone and linebackers coach Archie McDaniel all stopped by Katy Taylor High School before the dead period and talked with 2015 defensive back Rodney Clemons.
Clemons came away impressed by SMU’s new staff and the credentials they carried.
“Coach Morris seems like a nice guy. I know he wins everywhere he goes. I looked at his resume from high school to college,” Clemons said. “Coach Van, I really like him. He’s a really down-to-earth guy and they seem like pretty good coaches and ones you can relate to.”
Clemons did make not that coach McDaniel does have some ties to his family, which is a big plus.
“I talked to coach McDaniel when he was at New Mexico and now that he’s at SMU, he talks to me about bringing me to SMU so I talk to him a lot,” Clemons said. “My parents and him have family ties from high school so it’s kind of nice that I’ve got somebody I can trust and my family knows him.”
The SMU staff talked with Clemons about how college is a different ball game.
“They just talked to about how college is basically a different thing and different atmosphere than high school,” Clemons said. “You’ve got to stay on course and not be partying. Education is not just about football because you’re there to get a degree.”
Clemons will visit SMU on Jan. 24 and expects an offer to come that weekend since it’s a big recruiting weekend. The visit to SMU will be Clemons’ first, but he knows the prestige of SMU.
“I know it’s a good academic school. Everybody knows that and it’s a private school,” Clemons said. “I know it had some NFL players go there like Eric Dickerson so it has a good history.”
Morris and the staff talked more about the work it will take to get SMU back to the top of college football.
“They just expect hard work and dedication to the football program,” Clemons said. “You have to work with the team and you’re a freshman so you’re stepping into a new pool of players and you have to be on task.”
SMU wants hungry players to come in and turn the program around, something Clemons has experience in since turning his high school around.
“My high school we went 2-9 for four years straight and this past year we got a new head coach and went 7-3 and made it to the second round of the playoffs so I kind of know how to change around a program and I’d like to be a part of that again.”
Clemons talked about what it takes to make that type of turnaround.
“People usually say it’s the coaching, but it comes down to the players and the dedication them putting in the hard work,” Clemons said. “If you don’t have the players will to put in the hard work, working out and effort wise then you won’t win no matter what coaching you have so it’s on the players to work out every weekend and all that.”
From his safety spot, Clemons likes to be aggressive and he’s able to do so because of his experience at receiver.
“I play free safety, but used to play receiver so I can kind of read the receivers and the routes they’re running so I can read that and I have receiver hands,” Clemons said. “I have good lateral speed to run across the field.”
Clemons finished with 83 solo tackles, five interceptions with one for a touchdown, forced fumble, fumble recovery and six pass break ups this year en route to being named first team all-district and second team all-state.
Clemons said he’d list SMU at number one ahead of New Mexico and Abilene Christian and keeps up with coach McDaniel around three times a week.