Dallas Bishop Dunne corner Joshua Drayden is a top SMU secondary target, and he made the familiar trip to the Hilltop for Junior Day. But he got to see SMU like he never did before, and its down-home feeling really had him hooked.
“I went on a little unofficial on Martin Luther King day, but I never toured the campus or went to the locker room,” Drayden said. “We did that and we met all the coaches again. It wasn’t like a big school’s junior day where they have really big groups; we were split up into smaller groups where there was more attention toward every player.”
Drayden even got to see what his jersey No. 5 looked like in red and blue during a photoshoot in the locker room, plus see the renovation plans for the stadium and locker room.
The up-close feel allowed him to talk in detail to coach Morris, coach Mathis and the entire defensive staff. He met most of the coaches before during his recruitment and previous visit, and said he’s developing a solid relationship with his primary recruiter, secondary coach Jess Loepp.
“It wasn’t my first time [talking with the coaches], I’d talked to coach Morris when he offered me on Martin Luther King Day, and I talked to the most of defensive staff,” Drayden said.
Drayden said his favorite part of the day was the time in the locker room, but the visit showed him SMU’s family atmosphere, which he said is a big factor in his recruitment.
“They’re really close, and there’s not many people who are off on their own,” Drayden said. “They make you feel like you’re already a part of the family. It’s a sense of, ‘they want you, so they make you feel wanted.’ I’m not just looking for football; I’m looking for what’s outside of football; the coaches, the people, the campus.”
The 5-11, 175-pound Drayden has offers from Tulsa, Northwestern, Texas State, Toledo and Arkansas State. Stanford, Texas Tech, Baylor Oklahoma State and Arizona State have been showing the most interest lately. He said he’s taking his time and doesn’t have a favorite, but he knows SMU will be a big factor.
“I haven’t got to go to all the schools yet, so I can’t really [name a favorite],” Drayden said.
Drayden’s Falcons won a state championship last season, and he thought his individual play was strong as well.
“I think my junior season was great, because I didn’t play the first three games but I had the most picks on the team,” he said. “But our whole program didn’t used to be that good, and then we ended up winning state this year. The hard work and effort put in paid off not only for me, but for my teammates as well.”
Drayden had 70 tackles, six interceptions and 12 pass breakups in 2014.