The Hilltop Review

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

2015 guard plans SMU visit, snags offer

By: Patrick Engel

SMU’s guard spots for 2015 looked to be filled when Sedrick Barefield, Shake Milton and Jarrey Foster signed in November, but another member could be joining them: Putnam City (Okla.) wing Tyson Jolly, whom SMU offered Wednesday. The allure of Larry Brown immediately enticed Jolly.

“They have one of the best coaches of all time, an I think it would be a good fit,” Jolly said. “They’ve got good players, and it’s close to home.”

Brown and assistant coach K.T. Turner came to watch Jolly practice the day after offering him, and Jolly got to speak with both.

“They talked to me and my family for like an hour, and I think we’re going to come to the game next Thursday (against Cincinnati),” Jolly said. “[Coach Brown] was telling me if I come, he’s not going to guarantee me playing time. I have to come work for it. He’s not going to give out a scholarship to a person he doesn’t see coming to the program and who can make an impact.”

The visit was the first time that Brown had seen Jolly play, but assistant coach K.T. Turner has watched Jolly since 2013, when he was an assistant at Wichita State.

Jolly has a few other suitors in addition to SMU.

“I’ve been talking to Creighton and Missouri, and I talked to Gonzaga for a while. And I have offers from Tulsa and UTEP,” Jolly said.

Jolly said he would put SMU “one or two” on his list. He said he could commit to the Mustangs on his visit if he likes what he sees.

“I’ll know after I come down there and see everything,” Jolly said.

Jolly, who is 6-foot-4 and 185 pounds, primarily plays shooting guard. He played AAU for the Oklahoma Explosion.

Jones previews SMU visit

By: Andrew Hattersley

We are just days away from signing day and Spring HS (Tex.) running back Xavier Jones is set to take his final official visit to SMU this weekend.

It is a visit that will serve as a better chance for him to connect with the coaches, especially head coach Chad Morris.

“I talked to coach Morris on my home visit and I really like him, I would really love to get to know him a little bit more but he’s a great guy and all he wants to do is win and I’m down for it,” Jones said.

Jones is not only looking forward to meeting coach Morris but also taking a look at the stadium and facilities that he will become very familiar with should he attend SMU.

“I’m looking forward to seeing that beautiful stadium, I’m looking forward to meeting the coaching staff, that’s big, that’s a biggy,” Jones said, “Looking forward to meeting some of the players and some of the new recruits, I’m just looking forward to being down there.”

Despite having a tremendous relationship with coach Mathis, Jones is excited to push this to an even deeper level.

“Me and coach Mathis have a great relationship, I feel like we are very connected, I feel like we understand each other a lot and I’m ready to build a bigger relationship with him and the other coaches,” Jones said.

Jones is also looking forward to meeting one of the newest SMU commits, and future backfield mate Braeden West, if he decides to commit to SMU.

“I’m looking forward to meeting Braeden West, he’s a great athlete and I feel me and him could have a really good 1-2 combo,” Jones said.

Memphis did already host Jones for a visit, which he said he liked, but has always said that he can’t wait to take this official visit.

2016 guard talks SMU interest

By: Demetrio Teniente

Ashton West is a 2016 shooting guard from Oak Grove high school in Blue Springs MO. West has been in contact with the SMU coaching staff recently and while he hasn’t received an offer from them yet, the Mustangs seem to be very interested in the 6’2” 175 pound junior.

“I like SMU’s program and everything like that,” West said. “And I like that it looks like they give younger players opportunities to see the floor. I just really like how they are handling the whole recruiting process.”

West hasn’t received an aggressive amount of offers from many big programs, but that doesn’t really matter to him.

“You know from the mid-major to high-major level, the only real difference is their training facility and their arena,” he said. “So, I’m not too fixated on anything like that when it comes to looking for where I want to go. I’m just looking for the best fit for me. Honestly the biggest thing is finding a program whose coaches care more about me as a person and not just as a basketball player.”

Now, West is expecting to get a couple more offers and he hopes one of those will be from Missouri.

“Mizzou is my dream school because I’m a Kansas City kid and what not,” West said. “They always kind of give me the house and I’m always out there on visits, but it just seems like they are dancing around the subject of offering me. And SMU is the same; I really don’t know if they will offer me. Maybe with a couple more offers or at least one high-major offer or a solid summer will do it. I really don’t know if they’ve even seen me play in person yet.”

And if they do, they would probably be convinced. West has tremendous handles and can score in bunches, but he likes being a facilitator just as much as he likes sinking shots. He has a very smooth release on his shot and can knock ‘em down from anywhere on the court with ease. The dude can straight out ball.

West knows he has some time to impress more scouts and pick up some more offers. And as far as where his interests lie (besides Mizzou), he is keeping his mind open.

“At this point, I’m interested in every single program that looks at me,” he said. “I will say that I have SMU’s coaching staff pretty high on my list. I don’t want to say that I don’t have any front runners because Missouri is my dream school. But I’d say I’m interested in going to SMU while at the same time, I’m taking any interests and offers seriously. I’m very grateful and blessed to even be recruited by division one schools.”

2016 tight end talks SMU interest

By: Andrew Hattersley

2016 Byron Nelson HS (Tex.) tight end Kellen Diesch received an offer from SMU earlier this week.

Despite it being as a tackle, Diesch was nonetheless excited to receive the offer.

“Well it means a lot to me because it’s a really good school and really close to home too, so I’ll definitely consider it.” Diesch said.

Diesch, 6-7, 230-pound tight end, added that while it is a great academic school there are other of factors in the decision that will help SMU out.

“It’s a great school, and I would get a great education there, and that’s something I definitely look for in a college besides football, but they said I can make it on the team pretty early so I’ll definitely consider going to SMU,” Diesch said.

Staying at home is important to Diesch, and he would like to, but when it comes to his biggest priorities, there were three others that were just a step above.

“That it’s a good education, a winning program, and I get along with the coaching staff that want me to go there,” Diesch said.

All the recent action that SMU has had in terms of recruiting has als caught the eye of Diesch.

“I haven’t seen the 2015 recruiting class but I heard they’re pretty good,” Diesch said, “I see it all the time that kids are committing to SMU and they’re three or four stars even.”

Diesch has spoken to coach Craddock, who visited his school last week, and said he is definitely going to visit SMU.

2016 offensive line visits SMU, picks up offer

By: Scott Sanford

With all of the official visitors on the Hilltop last weekend, not to mention the six that ended up committing to Coach Morris and company, it was undoubtedly a successful weekend of recruiting.

The Mustangs also hosted an unofficial visitor, however, in 2016 Murrieta Mesa (Calif.) offensive lineman Nathan Smith.

Smith made the trip to Dallas not only to see SMU, but also to drive to Texas A&M, TCU and Baylor.

The 6-foot-7, 260-pound Smith was impressed by his first visit to the Hilltop, despite not being on campus the same time as the official visitors.

“First off, it’s a beautiful campus,” Smith said. “Everything is really nice, it’s in a nice neighborhood and their facilities, which are being redone, should be done for my freshman year which would be fantastic.

Not only were SMU’s amenities impressive to Smith, but so was the coaching staff.

“The coaches are pretty amazing,” Smith said. “Coach Morris and Coach Fry, I mean Coach Fry is pretty cool and getting to meet him in person finally was nice. He’s really funny and he’s a good guy. Coach Morris is very smart. He has been a part of a winning tradition before so he convinced me that he is going to bring that to SMU.”

Smith is just starting to visit and do his research on the 10 or so schools that are showing interest in him, and the Mustangs made their interest known even more after officially offering the junior big man.

Previously, an SMU offer wouldn’t have been something to get excited about for Smith, but with where the program is headed under Coach Morris, things have changed.

“They’re a program on the rise,” Smith said. “It seems like they’re going to be good in a couple of years and it was really nice getting my offer from the head coach, which has happened only one other time.”

Besides SMU, Smith has received offers from Arizona, Baylor, Colorado State, Missouri and Montana State.

Local defensive end beginning to get major attention

By: Billy Embody

2016 Flower Mound Marcus defensive end Andrew Fitzgerald didn’t have to wait long once the offers started rolling in to pick up a few.

“It’s definitely been great because I’ve been waiting for a while, just trying to work hard and get my name out there. It’s good to be recognized, it’s great.”

Fitzgerald picked up an SMU offer in addition to North Texas, Air Force and Texas State this week.

“I came down to the field house and coach Craddock, the coach for our district, and he was just talking with me and then he told me he wanted to watch me work out and that’s when he offered,” Fitzgerald said.

With SMU and UNT both offering, the local offers are nice.

“It’s definitely cool because they’re both close to home and stuff and they’re both really good schools to go to so it’s a good opportunity.”

With SMU, Fitzgerald could get the whole package.

“I know they have a great education and they just got a new coaching staff and I know coach Morris, I’ve talked to him a couple times. They’re a great school to consider.”

Fitzgerald doesn’t know Morris well, but was impressed the one time he met him.

“I introduced myself to him one time. He’s friends with one of my friends’ dads so it was just like an introduction,” Fitzgerald said. “I like him a lot. He seems like a good guy. I know he had a successful career at Clemson so I’m guessing he’s going to be a good fit at SMU.”

There should be plenty of suitors for Fitzgerald and he’ll be looking for the best overall fit.

“I’m going to have to go look around and see what school fits best with me,” the 6-4, 245-pound defensive end said. “Location doesn’t really matter to be honest. It’s just whatever school fits me best.”

Fitzgerald is an explosive prospect, but hasn’t gotten the attention he deserves yet.

“Getting off the ball and having long arms lets me have a good pass rush. I’m strong enough to hold off offensive tackles and make tackles.”

Washington, Oklahoma State, Duke and Arkansas have shown interest in Fitzgerald as well.

2016 guard talks SMU interest

By: Patrick Engel

SMU basketball has just one loss since Nov. 25, but Larry Brown and his staff have found time to hit the recruiting trail amid the success. One target that assistant coach Tim Jankovich has kept tabs on is 2016 University Lab (La.) point guard Skylar Mays.

“He’ll reach out every now and then,” Mays said of Jankovich. “Right now, I don’t feel like it’s too heavy an interest, but I’m definitely interested in the school. He says he likes my game and the way I play. He enjoys watching me play the times that he’s seen me.”

Mays said Jankovich has seen him practice once, but he has paid attention to SMU.

“I looked at their recruiting and I know they’ve got a really good point guard coming in (for 2015), Sedrick Barefield,” Mays said. “I really like watching him and I like his game. I’m going to try to [watch] a couple games before the season ends.”

Mays said Jankovich has not talked about an offer, but the 6-foot-4, 190-pounder is taking his time with his recruitment since he decommitted from LSU in June.

“To be honest, it’s all equal because I’m open to every school,” Mays said. “I’ll probably get more serious into recruiting after I’m finished with summer AAU ball.”

Mississippi State, Tulsa, UNLV, Southeastern Louisiana and Tulane have all offered Mays, and he is getting interest from Wake Forest, Richmond, Memphis, Vanderbilt and Boston College.

University Lab has posted a 21-2 record so far, and Mays is a key player. “I’m doing well, I think I’m doing a great job leading the team,” Mays said. “It’s hard to complain about winning.”

2016 running back taking SMU into consideration

By: Billy Embody

2016 C.E. King running back Trayveon Williams is going to be having a big decision to make with the attention he’s receiving, but SMU recently jumped in the mix after running backs coach Claude Mathis offered last week.

“Their coach had came down to the school and my coach called me down from lunch and that’s when he gave it to me,” Williams said.

Mathis didn’t take long to realize that Williams was one that he had to have.

“How my highlights were and after two plays he had to call coach and that he had to offer me,” Williams said. “Coach Morris said that’s fine and dandy because I’ve been hearing about this kid.”

With Williams’ offer list beginning to grow, Mathis knows there will be bigger schools that throw their hat into the ring, but he hoped Williams would give SMU a shot.

“Just giving him a shot. He said I know you have bigger and better offers, but just trust him to give him a shot,” Williams said.

In February, Williams will be attending SMU’s junior day, but isn’t sure which one yet.

Williams wants to have a coach, who’s been successful as a running back, something Mathis definitely has.

“Coach Mathis told me that he has some history and he was a good running back and he broke records and stuff and to look him up,” Williams said. “I think it’s good. I want to be coached by somebody who had a good experience themself.” ‘I feel good about him. Sounds like an honest man, straight forward.”

In Chad Morris’ up-tempo offense, Williams has a chance to be a difference maker.

“It’d be an honor. I’m sure he’d know how to use me and use me right,” Williams said.

Williams admits he doesn’t know much about SMU, but is looking forward to getting up to The Hilltop for a visit.

Right now, Texas A&M is his school that’s the leader.

“A&M is standing out, but I still want to take SMU into consideration because I want to take them into consideration because I’d like to stay in Texas and SMU in Dallas so I’d like to stay in Texas,” Williams said.

Williams is looking at the facilities, coaching staff and that family atmosphere when deciding on a school. The school that lands him will gain a big play threat on every down.

“I bring explosiveness and a good playmaker that can make a play anytime,” Williams said.

Williams attended Texas A&M’s junior day where they offered Sunday. Arizona State, Oklahoma State and SMU all are standing out to Williams as well.

In his junior year, Williams finished with 2,391 yards and 34 touchdowns.

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