Ft. Worth All Saints kicker Jonathan Song had a soccer game Friday night so he arrived for his SMU official visit around 10 p.m. and special teams coach Daric Riley was there waiting for him at the hotel.
Riley got Song checked in and settled in, but it was the red carpet treatment that impressed Song through his visit to SMU.
“Basically, throughout the whole visit, coach Riley and coach Loepp were very kind to me and getting to meet them for the first time gave me an idea of what the coaching staff would be like,” Song said. “It was very impressive and I can tell that this program is going to be turned around very quickly.”
Song was impressed by how Loepp and Riley treated him, but that the entire staff knew him as well was a nice surprise.
“It’s kind of a family atmosphere over there. All the coaches over there knew me, they took care of me and the hospitality when SMU brought when I got there was unbelievable.”
Riley shared with Song his plan for specialists and his expectations that he has for his units.
“We just talked about my role on the team. He thought of special teams in a different way,” Song said. “The way he deciphered special teams is he analyzed it to a point where I don’t think any coach could analyze it. That was very impressive and he told me about what we’d do in the offseason and in-season. As kickers, we just have to go 1-for-1 and then move on.”
After talking with Loepp and Riley, running back and former high school teammate Daniel Gresham was Song’s host and the pair got to catch up while hanging out with other SMU players that night.
“Daniel and I were very close in high school so it was great to see him that night,” Song said. “Daniel introduced me to a lot of different guys. They were really cool and I could tell they were really good guys. Some of the other recruits are stud athletes and they’d be really fun to hang out with.”
On Saturday, Song toured the facilities and campus and even talked with some of the business professors in the Cox School of Business about finance, his preferred major.
Song came away thoroughly impressed with Morris’ plan and how he values special teams, a big reason why he hired Riley, one of the best special teams coaches in the country.
“It was actually very impressive to see how coach Morris has this whole season set up,” Song said. “He doesn’t really think of it as a season, he thinks of it as a four-year plan and after getting to meet with all the coaches, you can tell what’s most impressive is you don’t usually see coaches that care about you as a family member. Coach Morris told me I’d graduate and he’d make sure of it.”
Morris’ plan that he shared with Song included his thoughts on the type of people it’s going to take to turn this program around, something Song said will make the program, “extremely well-known 15-20 years from now.”
“Obviously he told me straight up that this program is about to change, but that starts with good recruits and people who are good people,” Song said. “He wanted to recruit people who could not only find success and help the program athletically, but people who can help the Dallas community, the program after we graduate so I think he wants to start the program on the right track.”
Song is currently committed to TCU and would be a preferred walk-on this Fall and then be put on scholarship in the Spring. SMU’s offer is a full-ride and that isn’t lost on Song.
“Financially, my parents have said they don’t mind at all paying for that first semester as long as I’m happy,” Song said. “Personally, I’ve wanted to receive scholarships so that my family wouldn’t have to pay for the semester so I just want to see how this TCU official goes and then weigh in all the options.”
Even though Song has been committed to TCU for a while, he hasn’t built relationships with the 2015 class as well as he would like yet. “I haven’t really gotten to meet all of the recruits, but I have met most of the coaches already,” Song said. “I want to see and meet all the players because that’s who I’m going to be spending most of my time over the next four years so I want to see how I get along with them.”
Song pushed up his official visit to TCU this weekend (Jan. 23) to give himself more time before signing day to decide between SMU and TCU.
“I’m faithful to TCU, but I’m going to make my final decision after the visit.”