The Hilltop Review 6/19

Come inside this week's Hilltop Review for some of the hottest SMU recruiting scoops and stories out there!

2016 wide receiver talks recruitment, SMU

By: Billy Embody

2016 Dallas First Baptist wide receiver Camron Williams has been building a solid relationship with SMU receivers coach Justin Stepp and while he won’t tip his hand to where his recruitment is headed, SMU has his attention.

“I’ve been talking with coach Stepp on and off on Twitter. I’m real interested in the school. I like the small environment of it and how they’re on the come up right now,” Williams said.

Stepp stopped by during the spring to check in with Williams and talked about the success the staff has had with other receivers.

“We got to talk a lot. He just told me about all the success they had at Clemson getting their new coaching staff and new program over here,” the four-star receiver said. “He really assured me that they can be successful and they’re on the come up.”

As for a leader, Williams doesn’t have one.

“Everyone is on the same playing field right now. No one is leading or behind,” Williams said. “There’s a lot of schools talking to me right now.”

Oklahoma State and Texas Tech have also been in pursuit of Williams along with Oklahoma and some of the other top programs.

“It’s (OSU) pretty much the same with Tech. It’s a good relationship with the coach and offensive coordinator,” Williams said.

Williams has his eyes on his senior season for a decision date.

“It’s something I’m going to have to sit down with my family and decide what’s best for me, but it’s coming soon. Probably during the season,” Williams said.

A well-balanced school for academics and football is what will win the day for the four-star receiver.

“I’m just looking for a school that I can go to and improve myself and show everybody what I can do. I’m looking for a school that can support me academically and on the field,” Williams said. “If there was a school I had interest in from another state that wouldn’t be an issue.”

Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Kansas State, Colorado, Texas Tech, Rutgers and SMU are the schools that Williams holds offers from.

This spring, Williams worked with his trainer Margin Hooks to really work on the little things of his game.

“Working on my lateral quickness so I can get around defenders faster than I do now,” Williams said. “I worked on my vertical and I got that up to a 38-inch so I’m really proud of that. I’ve been working out with my trainer Margin Hooks and he’s been pushing me.”

For his senior campaign, Williams is focused on showing exactly what he can do on the field.

“Just balling out. I had a lot of doubters last year and this is really my first year playing at receiver since I was playing defense before that,” Williams said. “I’m real confident in my skills and I’m ready to show everyone what I can do.”

Williams has an Oklahoma and Texas Tech visit planned soon, but said he will visit unofficially to SMU, but due to its proximity he’ll camp there this summer instead.

Cedar Hill DB recaps visit, updates recruitment

By: Matt Sanders

Cedar Hill safety and current Kansas commit Michael Clark visited SMU, and he walked away impressed.

“My visit was really good. I like what they’re doing with all the renovations,” Clark said. “I also visited the academic department and saw what they had to offer.”

Clark spent his visit talking with coach Malone, and they discussed the future of SMU.

“Coach Malone talked about turning the program around,” he said.

Clark committed to Kansas in May, but he is quickly becoming interested in SMU because of location and connections to the school.

“I got interested in SMU because it’s close to home, it’s 20 minutes from my house,” he said. “I have friends who have committed to SMU and even have friends who are currently signed there.”

Clark has been talking with 2015 signee Kevin Thomas, as well as 2016 commits David Moore and Eric Sutton about SMU. While he hears good things about the Hilltop, Clark still wants to look at other schools.

“I still want to visit other schools, but SMU is definitely a place I want to continue to visit so I can build relationships with the coaches,” he said.

What stood out to Clark was the importance of everybody on SMU’s staff.

“I see the coaches trying to build something,” he said. “They have full confidence from the bottom to the top, from conditioning coaches to the head coach.”

Clark works out at his school everyday to prepare for his senior year, and although he enjoys being recruited, he has his eyes on a different goal.

“Guys on our team like the recruiting process, but winning a state championship is our biggest goal,” he said,

The biggest factor Clark has when it comes to deciding on a college is what the academic advantages are.

“I want to come out of college and know that I’m safe.”

2016 tight end talks SMU visit

By: Billy Embody

2016 Jasper tight end Cody Mitchell is all over SMU and is high on the Mustangs after camping last week.

“I love going out to compete there. You can’t beat the coaching staff. They’re great guys and down to earth,” Mitchell said. “They’re just kick-butt coaches.”

Mitchell got to talk with SMU head coach Chad Morris while he was there and was blown away.

“He’s a great dude. I loved hanging out with him. I believe he could make me a better football player and a better man,” Mitchell said. “They’re amazing coaches. They’re like family. It’s relaxing being around them and freeing because they’re just down-to-earth and cool guys.”

Morris talked about everything Mitchell could expect at SMU.

“He just touched up on what they expect of me and what I should expect of them,” Mitchell said. “He showed me the new facility that they’re putting up that should be finished my freshman year. That was sick and it was awesome. I definitely loved talking to him. He’s going to be a great head coach.”

In SMU’s offense, Mitchell would be the three-back, which is what SMU calls their tight end.

“It’s their three-back. It’s a hybrid right end because we’re not as big or crazy strong, but we can move around, still block, catch the ball and we’re a lot more quicker than the old school tight ends,” Mitchell said. “The way they showed me, I’d be on the field 24/7 and working my butt off.”

Footwork, bringing his eyes to the ball and tucking it right away are some of the things tight ends coach Donny McElveen touched on with Mitchell at the camp.

As for the campus, Mitchell loved it.

“It’s state of the art. It feels like you’re on the White House lawn. The grass is perfectly cut, there’s fountains everywhere and it was awesome,” Mitchell said.

SMU is rebuilding, but that’s the type of attitude Mitchell wants to embrace if he finds himself at SMU.

“I love it. Just to think that I can go on the team and other players can go on a team that are all joining at the same time basically and we’re just building a foundation,” Mitchell said. “Work ethic will be the big thing and definitely just trying to make the team as best as possible.”

SMU fans could expect a do-it-all player that will push himself every day.

“I’m going to do whatever is best for the team and what’s best for SMU and if that’s me blocking every single play and not touching the ball, I’m going to do it,” Mitchell said. “Whatever makes us win, I’ve got to do that for SMU and the fans.”

Mitchell plans to visit in July when more of his family is available to be there.

“They want to get more family members up there to see them and I’m waiting for everyone in Dallas and that would be a Saturday visit to go up there and hang out,” Mitchell said.

Skyline DT talks visit, SMU interest

By: Andrew Hattersley

As spring ball has now come to a close and summer workouts are in full swing, 2016 Skyline (Tex.) defensive tackle Joe Wallace took a trip up to SMU for possibly his final visit to the campus before making a decision.

“I liked my visit a lot I went up there with my mom and took a little tour of the campus, it really felt like home and everybody just talks good about SMU and I like the head coaches and everyone that’s there at SMU,” Wallace said.

The 6-0, 333-pound defensive tackle is continuing to build a solid relationship with SMU assistant coach Buddy Wyatt.

“Right now me and coach Buddy, we have a cool relationship I’m just asking him where do I fit in on defense and stuff like that and just really trying to know where my role is if I play at SMU,” Wallace said, “Me and coach Buddy, we DM every day, I actually just talked to him tonight, he asks me about my day and stuff, we talk a lot.”

One of the subjects of conversation for Wyatt and Wallace is where the big Skyline tackle would fit in if he came to the Mustangs.

“If I was to go to SMU I would be playing the 1-technique, they offered me as a 1 tech and other than that that’s about it,” Wallace said, “As a whole I think they’re building a good defense there because I think he said they run a 4-3 and I’m going to be one of the defensive tackles so I feel like they’re bringing in some good outside players to make my job easier, their scheme I like it, I like everything.”

One other intriguing aspect for Wallace is the facilities that have continued to develop over the last couple of months.

“Oh the facilities are nice, they are getting these new indoor facilities, new locker room, new outdoor facilities, just everything is new, it’s really nice, they really have made a change,” Wallace said.

SMU will not be the only school Wallace is taking a trip to this summer, as he has a couple lined up later in July.

“I actually don’t have any dates set up but at the end of July I will be going to Iowa State and visiting Washington,” Wallace said, “I would say like before the season in August that’s probably when I’m going to commit to somewhere.”

Considering he still has a couple of visits left to take, Wallace has also not developed any sort of a list of top schools yet either.

“Yeah not yet since I’m taking a couple more of my visits, sometime I’m going to release my top 5, I don’t know when though,” Wallace said.

The big run stopper is also not sure if he will take another visit to SMU before making a decision in August on whether to spend his next four years at SMU.

“I haven’t thought about it but most likely so, my mom would like to go see it again,” Wallace said.

Putting the college decision aside, Wallace is also just trying to work on becoming a more complete player.

“I’m really just working on becoming complete at football, I’m working on my conditioning, last year I looked at where I can get better at and I see that I need to work on my conditioning,” Wallace said, “I see later on in the game there were plays that I would be making that I wasn’t because I wasn’t conditioned but this year I’m really emphasizing my conditioning a lot and for my workouts, I work out 3 times a day now.”

2017 defensive end recaps SMU camp

By: Justin Gordon

2017 Keller (Tex.) defensive end Spencer Misko continues to gain interest from a number of schools around the country as he gains exposure. Misko recently camped at SMU.

“It (the camp) was a great experience,” the 6-foot-5, 225-pound Misko said. “The coaches were very helpful and hands, I’m getting a lot of attention right now and I’m looking forward to my junior year.”

Misko just didn’t attend the camp, though—he proved himself. In fact, he showcased his skills so well that he was announced as camp champ, which really gave Misko even more confidence to build on as he continues to make a name for himself prior to his junior season.

“I really enjoyed one-on-ones,” Misko said. “It was fun being able to show the SMU coaching staff my skills.”

Washington, Nebraska, Baylor, SMU, TCU, Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are among the schools expressing interest in Misko, but he has yet to receive his first offer. Don’t expect that to last long as Misko has the size and tools to excel at the next level, if he continues to improve and grow into his frame.

Misko figures to be a key catalyst on the defensive side of the ball for the Indians who had the seventh-best defense in the state, allowing 305 total yards per game in 2014.

He’s in no rush to get the recruiting process over, he says, but Misko has an idea of what type of school he’d like to attend and what type of player that a school may get in another two years.

“I want to feel like I’m a part of a football family that has a great coaching staff,” Misko said. “I’m a very dedicated, hard-working, coachable player with leadership.”

Misko says that he wants to become a better leader among other things this fall, which will do nothing but help his stock continue to rise as he gets more experience.

“I want to get better at my position skills with some of the stuff that I’ve learned while attending camps this summer,” he said. “Also, I want to get faster, bigger and be the best player on and off the field.”

2017 linebacker camps at SMU

By: Justin Gordon

2017 Bellaire (Tex.) outside linebacker Alex Duke recently camped at SMU and the junior-to-be has appears to be popping up on the radar for a number of schools.

Duke says that overall, he enjoyed the camp.

“I liked it because we got a chance to test combine skills in actual drills,” Duke said. “That will help players in actual game situations.”

But Duke’s favorite part was getting a chance to compete in front of college coaches against other competition.

“One-on-ones and film after the camp was some of my favorite parts about the camp,” the 6-foot-3, 220-pounder said. “Because I love to compete and I love to correct my own mistakes, when I do make a mistake.”

At the moment, Duke says that his only offer is from the University of Kansas, but says that the number of schools interested in him are growing.

“Texas Christian University, Nebraska, SMU, Kansas State, Texas State, Arkansas, University of Houston, Oklahoma State, Washington, Fresno State and Toledo,” Duke said. “I’ve had a lot of schools come to the school and have sent mail, too.”

He finished his sophomore seasons with 35 tackles, eight sacks, seven quarterback hurries and 12 tackles for loss. Duke has taken unofficial visits to the University of Houston, Texas A&M University and the University of Texas.

When it comes to picking a school, there a number of factors that Duke says he will take into account.

“The education opportunities, facilities, environment, how I’ll fit in and of course my role on the team” he said. “I just want to win so whatever it takes, but the work ethic to make me become a better play and how much I’ll play.”

Aside from athletic ability, Duke says there a number of qualities that separate him from other recruits.

”A student-athlete that is true and honest to becoming better every day in the classroom and on and off the field,” Duke said when describing himself. “I’ll do whatever it takes to win. When I put my mind to something that I want to accomplish, I find solutions and not excuses to get the job done.”

Duke has a bright future ahead of him, but that’s not to say that he’s lost focus of the task at hand, which is finishing his high school career on a high note. The good thing is, he’s got two more years to do so.

“Just being able to play is a blessing because not everyone gets the opportunity that I have,” he said. “I just want to be true to myself, as well as everyone else involved in the Bellaire Cardinal football program and being better than I was the day before. “I plan on encouraging my teammates to do the same and if we accomplish those everyday goals, then the sky is the limit.”

2017 receiver picks up SMU offer

By: Scott Sanford

During college football’s latest recruiting period, the SMU football staff made their way to dozens of schools all over Texas, and one of their stops was at Cypress Ranch (Tex.).

The staff checked in with 2016 commit Collin Rock, as well as with 2017 wideout R.J. Sneed, who picked up an offer from the Mustangs and defensive line coach Buddy Wyatt a few weeks after their visit.

“He was just saying that he knows it’s early for them to be showing interest, but with the way everything is going now they just wanted to talk to me now,” Sneed explained.

That conversation was Sneed’s first with Coach Wyatt, but the Cypress Ranch pass catcher believes it could be the start of a good relationship.

The 6-foot-1, 175-pound receiver only spoke with Coach Wyatt briefly and has yet to speak with anyone else on the staff, but hopes to take his first visit to the Hilltop sometime this summer.

Because he’s just a rising junior, Sneed doesn’t know much about SMU yet, but he does know that Chad Morris’ offense could be a good fit for him.

Sneed has spoken with teammate, and SMU commit, Collin Rock briefly about the school as well.

“He just said he likes the school a lot,” Sneed said. “He really likes the staff.”

Now besides SMU, Sneed holds offers from Houston and UTSA, and is hearing from Texas A&M, where he recently camped.

While Sneed doesn’t have any immediate plans to visits schools, he does hope to visit a few over the summer before making a decision on his recruitment sometime during his junior year.

For now, Sneed is set on improving his overall speed and route-running before his junior year gets underway.

Wylie defensive back talks SMU interest

By: Justin Gordon

2016 Jared Wyatt Wylie (Tex.) East wide receiver/defensive back Jared Wyatt recently attended camp at SMU.

“I thought that it was a pretty good camp and it was good to see some of the Mustangs’ coaches there, too,” Wyatt said. “My favorite part about the camp was learning more about my position from Courtland Sutton and Shelby Walker.”

Unlike others at the camp, it wasn’t Wyatt’s first introduction with what the Mustangs’ have to offer. The last name Wyatt may sound familiar and for good reason. The elder Wyatt, Jordan, is a redshirt freshman defensive back at SMU currently.

That being said, it’s not out of the questions to think that SMU may go after the younger Wyatt, due to the relationship that he already has with the program. But in Jordan’s eyes, he said that he feels zero pressure to attend SMU because of his brother.

That’s not to say Jared wouldn’t mind being on the same field with his older brother, either.

” It would be amazing to play with my brother,” Wyatt said. “We built a strong relationship playing together in high school.”

So far, through two seasons of varsity football, Wyatt has accumulated 1800 receiving yards, 116 catches and 25 touchdown catches. Putting up numbers like that has done the recruiting for Wyatt as his interest from colleges’ peaks heading into his senior season.

“Texas Tech, Baylor and Illinois State are showing interest me,” the 6-foot-3 190-pound Wyatt said. “I have offers from Navy and Army.”

Education opportunities and location are the two biggest factors in deciding where he will attend college, Wyatt said. Heading into the fall, he says that he’d like to improve on route running and improving his hands as he looks to finish his high school career as an All-State wide receiver.

2017 defensive tackle camps at SMU

By: Matt Sanders

Midland 2017 defensive tackle Dillon Springer took in SMU football camp, and had a successful experience.

“Overall, I felt like camp went great,” Springer said. “I got a bunch of reps in doing one on ones. I also got to do position and agility drills.”

Springer talked with coach Gunn during the camp, and they discussed what it means to come out to the camp. What stood out to Springer were the intangibles.

“It’s amazing how much of a family SMU is, and how much all in the program is,” he said. “The campus is also beautiful.”

To prepare for his junior season, Springer is improving his speed and fundamentals. To keep himself focused on improving his pass rush, he is changing his uniform number, but for an extra special reason.

“This year I’m going to wear number 42 in memory of my dad, who wore that number. Every game I want four tackles for loss and two sacks.”

Since his recruitment is only beginning, the only other school he is currently talking with is UNT, but he wants SMU to stay high on his list.

Springer has several goals that will make a leader for the rest of his high school career.

“On the field, I want to come out everyday, and bring energy and a positive attitude,” he said. “Off the field, I want to be a good student and be active in the community.”

Although he has not a lot of opportunities to talk with the coaching staff, he has nothing but respect for coach Morris and his vision for SMU.

“Coach Morris is great. He was talking at camp about how SMU is going to be a great program,” he said. “It says a lot about what kind of coach he is.”

By the time Springer graduates from high school in two years, he believes SMU will look entirely different.

“I see a big turn around,” he said. “They’ll be a program that’s on the come up and a program that people will want to see.”

2016 safety visits SMU

By: Andrew Hattersley

There have been a number of visitors on SMU’s campus over the last couple of weeks, and one of the latest was 2016 Klein Collins HS (Tex.) free safety Ernest Watts.

“SMU was great, I loved it, at first I just thought it was SMU, but then I realized first of all the education is off the charts, they have what I want to major in and everything and they’re big on grades, they have the tools that I need to succeed,” Watts said, “Then the one thing that sold me on SMU was they had bible study, where I could continue being good on my faith.”

SMU also brought in one of their leaders on the offensive side of the ball to talk with Watts about how the transition has been so far.

“The other thing SMU did was they were straight up, they didn’t lie to me and say anything, they kept it straight and told me that SMU was a rebuilt program even though they went 1-11 last year,” Watts said, “I got to talk with the quarterback Matt Davis and he said he loved SMU and that it was an all around good school.”

The 5-10, 190-pound safety is also still waiting to receive an offer from SMU, as the SMU staff said they wanted to talk to a couple of his coaches first.

“Not yet, they talked about offering, they said they were going to talk to my head coach and position coach,” Watts said.

Currently, Watts holds offers from Kansas, Texas State, Missouri, Boise State and Houston.

SMU is going to undergo a renovation over the next couple of years, but nonetheless, Watts was extremely impressed with the facilities so far.

“I loved it, they’re rebuilding but their facility is good, I loved it,” Watts said.

As Watts waits for an offer from SMU and other schools, he has no plans to commit to any schools any time soon, rather choosing to focus on his upcoming summer.

“I don’t really have a timeline on my decision, as far as this summer we’re about to start our strength camp,” Watts said, “I’m going to be doing a lot to improve my speed and get my strength back and then I want to take a visit up to Kansas and I want to take one up to Missouri.”

Along with the visits, Watts also just wants to work on becoming a more complete player and learning on where he struggled last year.

“I can always work on being faster, the game is always getting faster so I can always work on that,” Watts said, “I’m working on being more vocal and getting everybody more involved, and I’m a good tackler and a sure tackler but I want to be a better tackler, working on my catching because I dropped a few picks last year.”

Along with his visits to Kansas and Missouri, Watts also plans to take a trip up to SMU again.

“Oh of course, I will definitely be back to SMU.”

2017 Midland OL talks SMU camp

By: Matt Sanders

Midland 2017 offensive guard Paxton Heiting participated in the SMU football camp, and walked away with a good experience.

“The camp went really well,” Heiting said. “It was a lot more personal than the UT and A&M camps.”

During the camp, Heiting talked with coach Fry, and was impressed with the blocking techniques he was taught. What grabbed his attention, however, was when coach Morris talked at the camp.

“Coach Morris is a really cool guy, and I enjoyed the speech he gave.”

Heiting is currently in contact with TCU, UT and A&M, but SMU still sits near the top of his list.

“SMU is a great school and I have relatives in the area,” he said. “They would be in my top five if I was offered.”

To prepare for his junior season, Heiting is doing the exercises that most players are doing.

“During the summer, I’m doing weightlifting, agility drills and speed drills.”

The two biggest factors Heiting considers when looking at schools are the academics and the football opportunities. When it comes to the academics, SMU has a huge advantage.

“I’m going for a degree in mechanical engineering, so education is important,” he said. “The next big factor is how the football program can benefit me.”

Since Heiting is only a rising junior, he still has plenty of time in his recruiting process, but he knows that football playing will help him succeed off the field.

“My biggest goal is to receive a scholarship so I can further my education,” he said. “I just want to make my family proud.”

When it comes to announcing his commitment, he is no rush, and wants to talk with his family for advice.

“I have to talk to my dad about a possible commitment date.”

2018 running back talks SMU interest

By: Demetrio Teniente

One of the more beautiful things about football is the way offense and defense mirror each other. In this way the game is like a dance…only with a lot more collisions. But in this same way, each position has its equal and opposite partner on the other side of the field. If you take a look at linebackers it is pretty obvious that its dance partner is the running back.

More often than not, the more athletic a player is in either position the higher his chances are of playing both—especially when he is in the lower levels of the game, like high school.

That’s just how it is for 2018 Dallas Christian running back Cameron Harris. At 5-8, 170 pounds he is a little on the light side for either position, but he is young and still has plenty of time to tack on some more muscle.

“I started out playing outside linebacker and middle linebacker,” he said. “This past year they’ve been working me a lot at running back. And they are talking a lot about putting me on varsity. They’re looking at me at running back and slot, but I’m still playing some defense too. I’m really looking forward to running back this year. Last year I racked up some good yards and lately that’s where I have been working the most- at running back.”

So when it came time to start going to some summer camps at different colleges, Harris decided to attend as a running back. First it was Baylor, with Art Briles and Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrance Williams. Then, it was the Hilltop on June 6.

“SMU’s camp was really good because I got to talk to the coaches and even some of the players,” Harris said. “So I was able to get their insight on the program. I know a couple players from North Forney and they were able to give me some insight too. And they were just telling me how much they like it there and how much they were looking forward to turning it around from last season.”

Harris has gone to seven camps thus far and as a freshman, about to be a sophomore, he already sees the benefits of getting this kind of exposure.

“Every camp so far has had a lot of coaches and recruits there,” he said. “[At SMU the coaches] seemed very open and welcoming of all the players at the camp. They just had a positive outlook and were very quick to tell us things we needed to help get us recruited by good programs. It was a really good experience.”

The SMU camp was Harris’ first time on the Hilltop, and he didn’t get to see all the different parts on campus that he wanted to. Based on the way he spoke about his experience in the camp and what parts he did see on campus, I’m willing to bet he’ll be making a return trip sometime down the road.

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