“I was feeling blessed, I was excited because it was my first offer,” Grace said. “I didn’t know how to feel, I was happy. I’m just very blessed. I don’t even know what to say, I’m a at a loss for words.”
Grace, a 2017 running back from Crosby (Texas) High School, had SMU running backs coach Claude Mathis stop by to watch him a few days before he got the offer.
“He came to see what I did during practice, then told me he was going to call my coach and let him know what he was going to do, see if they were going to offer me,” Grace said.
Sure enough, Mathis called Grace’s coach, Jeff Riordan, a couple days later and offered Grace a scholarship. Mathis is a familiar face for Grace, who visited SMU for a junior day in April and loved it. He saw the field and locker rooms, learned about the offense and tried on a custom jersey.
“I just love the environment,” Grace said. “Everyone there, they treat you like family, like you’re one of their own. When I went down for the junior day, everyone had hype and energy, and it made a fun atmosphere.”
Grace’s only offer is from SMU, but he is hearing from Houston, Kansas State and Arkansas. He attended a Houston junior day last month and said he is working on coming back to SMU for a summer camp. He couldn’t point to a school that has been recruiting him the hardest, partly because he’s engrossed with SMU.
“I don’t really know to be honest, because the team I really talk to the most is SMU, so far.”
Grace is beginning to build a relationship with Mathis in the couple times they have met, and while Mathis has talked about SMU and its program, he’s talked with Grace about his game too.
“He told me he likes my vision and how I am on the field,” Grace said. “He wants to see some breakout speed and get a little faster.”
Grace is 5-foot-9 and 180 pounds. He totaled 968 yards on 122 carries (7.9 ypc) and 15 touchdowns this past season.