2016 Marcus (Tex.) defensive end Andrew Fitzgerald, the fifth-best player at his position in the state of Texas according to Scout.com, didn’t pick up his first offer until January 23.
However, the 6-foot-5, 245-pound junior quickly started receiving interest from a variety of other schools, and picked up five more offers including one from SMU.
Fitzgerald also made the 45-minute trek to SMU for junior day, and like most, came away impressed.
"The new coaching staff—just how they are like a family already—despite it being new, they have a family atmosphere there and I really enjoyed the experience and how they put it all together," Fitzgerald said.
The Flower Mound native also got the chance to talk to Head Coach Chad Morris and Defensive Line Coach Buddy Wyatt, who both iterated the same thing to him during their talks.
"He (Morris) talked about how he wants me to come down more for spring practices and that I can come down whenever I want," Fitzgerald explained. "He (Wyatt) also wants me to come down and he likes the way I play—my physicality and the way I come off the ball."
SMU’s campus and general location are two things that also stood out to Fitzgerald.
Even with all of the construction that is going on in Ford, Fitzgerald knows that the finish product will add to the beauty of Dallas.
"It’s in the nicest part of Dallas and it’s really beautiful up there," Fitzgerald said. "The facilities are nice. The football field and the weight room—I know they’re going to be putting new stuff in—so when all of that gets put in it should be a great atmosphere."
Now that the offers have started to roll in, Fitzgerald can see his hard work paying off, but he also admitted it wasn’t easy waiting for schools to finally pull the trigger on him.
"I wouldn’t say it was frustrating, but I knew it was going to come eventually. It was more just about being patient," Fitzgerald said. "I’ll admit, at times it did get frustrating, but I knew eventually they would come so I didn’t really worry about it."
Fitzgerald has no favorites at this point, but “definitely” likes SMU and hopes to make it down for a spring practice or two, as well as the spring game on April 18.
Fitzgerald's Junior Highlights