2015 saw SMU sign zero defensive tackles, so the position is a priority for 2016. One of the many players getting a look from SMU is Fort Worth (Texas) Arlington Heights defensive tackle Patrick Jones, who has already visited for two of SMU’s junior days and loves the vibes he is getting from the coaching staff and the team.
“I liked seeing the d-line go to work. I love seeing the coaches coach up their players, and what type of offensive and defensive scheme they run, just seeing how coaches are in coach mode,” Jones said.
Jones met all the SMU coaches at the Feb. 21 junior day, and he said he keeps in touch with defensive assistant coach Keith Gunn “pretty much all the time.” He also talks with defensive line coach Buddy Wyatt sometimes. But he has high praise for the entire staff and the way it operates.
“I like their cohesion. They’re not the type of coaching staff to argue, one coach calls this and the other coach calls that,” Jones said. “They kind of already know what they want to run, what they want to do and how to execute.”
A good coaching staff is just part of Jones’ criteria. Academics are important to Jones, and one of SMU’s newest programs especially appeals to him.
“I love the coaching staff, they’ve come to SMU to make a change. They know what they’re doing,” Jones said. “In the classroom…I heard that they just implemented a new coaching major (called Sports Performance Leadership, within the Sports Management major), so that right there is a big interest to me. That gives them more points right there.”
Jones hasn’t visited any other schools yet because he’s in the middle of track and field season as a shot putter for Arlington Heights. He’s been able to trek to SMU because of its proximity to home. But after track season ends, Jones said he plans to visit Texas Tech at the end of April. He doesn’t have any other visit plans, but he said that could change later this spring.
The 6-foot-1, 277-pound Jones’ only offer is from SMU, but he is getting interest from Texas Tech, TCU, Oklahoma State and Texas. Jones’ brother, Ty Barrett, plays guard for the Horned Frogs, but their rival sticks out to him.
“I hear from their coaches a lot,” Jones said. “I hear from Texas Tech a lot as well, but I just hear from SMU a little bit more, so it makes them stick out. Just showing that you’re interested in me means a whole lot.”
Jones isn’t sure when he will make a decision and hasn’t thought much about it. He doesn’t have a specific time frame and said that he could wait until his senior year, but he has to “really, really know.” But SMU appears to be in the driver’s seat at this point.
“I like SMU a lot, and they’re the only school to offer me, and I don’t know who else will offer me,” Jones said. “The main [part] that I look for in a school is education standpoint, and that’s the most important. Like, how many kids are in the classroom, and what type of relationship do the coaches have among each other and their coaches? I have a lot of different variables to look at. When I get that together, I think I can make a decision.”
Arlington Heights went 12-1 and lost to Wichita Falls Rider in the second round of the 5A playoffs. Jones had 19 total tackles and four sacks on the season.