The Hilltop Review 7/10

Come inside another jam-packed Hilltop Review for all the latest SMU recruiting news!

Rock getting pointers on switch to defense

By: Matt Sanders

Cypress Ranch quarterback and 2016 SMU commit Collin Rock is already preparing for a position switch when he arrives on the Hilltop. Over the summer, he has been playing the defensive back position, and he believes the transition is going well so far.

“Some of the coaches at my high school have college and NFL experience at the defensive back position,” Rock said. “Talking with them and getting pointers from them is a big help to me.”

Although Rock benefits from his coaches’ experiences, he believes that being a quarterback has also helped him with the switch.

“Being a quarterback in high school and knowing what to look for in the defense gives me a better visual as opposed to simply switching to the defensive side,” he said.

Rock participated in 7-on-7 at both the quarterback and defensive back position, so he has stayed fresh under center.

Rock will stay at the quarterback position for his senior year of high school, and he believes that he has unfinished business to take care of before he graduates.

“My number one goal is to get back to the state championship and win our final game,” he said.

To prepare for his senior year, Rock has spent his summer at various camps, and he has at least one more on his schedule.

“I will be at the SMU camp on July 25,” he said. “I’m not doing other schools' camps.”

Rock will be meeting other members of the 2016 recruiting class for the first time later this month, and he believes previous conversations will make the meeting run smoother.

“Our group chat on Twitter helped us break the ice and it started to make us a family,” he said.

Although he is not an official Mustang until national signing day, he is still all-in with SMU.

“I’m committed to SMU,” he said. “If I wasn’t 100 percent sure, I wouldn’t have committed.”

Rock was glad with his recruiting process, but he knows he now has a different role in the class of 2016.

“Looking back, the recruiting process was a great experience,” he said. “My job now is to get other guys to see what we have going on the Hilltop.”

Winfield still considering SMU

By: Demetrio Teniente

Its hot—it is July in Texas after all—but kids are running around The Woodlands High School practices fields, playing football, and learning valuable skills from the middle and high school coaches running the camp.

It’s the 12th Annual Mark Schmid football camp—Schmid is the Highlanders head coach and where the Woodlands is concerned the only figure possibly getting more attention than the head coach is 2016 The Woodlands high school safety Antoine Winfield Jr.

The 5-9, 185 pound safety walks between the drills unassumingly. But as he passes, each coach stops him to ask about this or that and he greets each conversation with the same vigor and genuine enthusiasm. That’s just who he is.

On Friday, his teammates will go to College station to compete in the Adidas Texas 7v7 Championships. He will make the trip, but he won’t participate.

On June 17th, Winfield camped at Ohio State and suffered a foot injury during a one on one drill.

“I was supposed to go to Michigan State the next day and UCLA three days after that,” he said. “After the injury I just felt that there was no point in going if I couldn’t go at my best.”

Just before the injury, Winfield was hitting his stride. To say he impressed at the Ohio State camp would be an understatement. The proof is in his 4.27 40 time.

“At the Texas A&M camp I was okay,” he said. “I made some mistakes and battled back from them though. So I went into the Ohio State camp feeling good and that was the best camp that I’ve ever done. I ran a fast 40, I was lock down in coverage. All my drills were just perfect.”

Winfield, of course, is the father of former NFL safety Antoine Winfield—who just so happened to go to Ohio State. Following his camp at Ohio State, many believed an offer was just around the corner…but as of right now, it hasn’t happened.

“I think they think I’m going to go there just because my dad wen there—that’s what I feel,” he said. “That isn’t necessarily true. I would like to go there, but it’s not my main priority.”

While he hasn’t given up on Ohio State, and remains open to all potential offers, right now he wants to focus on the offers he does have.

“I’d really have to go and visit some more of the schools,” he said. “Because I don’t really

know yet. I still need to take my official visits and everything.” Right now, Winfield holds offers from Missouri, Northwestern, Lamar, Houston, Purdue and SMU.

“I’m still thinking about SMU—I just need to get up there and take a visit,” Winfield said. “I’ve been wanting to check it out. I’m going to have to talk to the coaches and see if I can’t get up there and visit. Anybody can bounce back from [1-11]. As long as they are recruiting the right players they should be able to get back on track.”

Bishop Dunne defensive lineman planning SMU trip

By: Andrew Hattersley

Although he has offers from a number from schools, 2016 Bishop Dunne HS (Tex.) defensive end Jordon Robertson is only talking to a few schools this late in the summer and SMU is one of them.

“It’s going well, I’ve just been in touch with three colleges so far in SMU, Tulsa and Colorado State,” Robertson said, “I got back in touch with coach Wyatt and I’m planning a trip down there this summer to check out the facilities.”

Robertson’s number one reason for being interested in SMU is the strong academic reputation that the school has.

“It’s just a great school overall, that its got a great business school which is what I’m looking at studying,” Robertson said, “I feel it’s a great school, I just think it’s a great academic school and a great school business wise, I think it’s great.”

Robertson knows a fair amount about SMU but still has some studying to do on the other schools he’s been talking to.

“I like them, I’d have to look more into them, I haven’t looked into them that much lately,” Robertson said.

Robertson also has offers from Central Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas State, UMass, Nevada, Prairie View A&M and UTSA.

It’s a couple months before the 6-4, 255-pound defensive end is looking to make a decision, but he has decided he will commit to a school before the football season starts.

“I’m looking to make a decision and shut it down this season, probably at the end of the commitment season,” Robertson said.

Although he hasn’t made a decision, nor is he sure where he wants to go, Robertson does know what’s looking for when he comes to visit SMU soon.

“I like a modern campus which isn’t usually a big deal but just how the facilities are, how do the coaches treat their players, I’ve talked to players around here and they say it’s a great place to play,” Robertson said.

Robertson knows that he still has to get better in a couple of areas, but also believes he can add a lot to his team right away.

“I feel like I am a technician and a good technician doesn’t have any highs or lows and I feel I’m a great leader for my team and just lead my team,” Robertson said, “The thing I think I can work is always getting faster and I can play any position along the defensive line so I think the goal is to improve and just keep getting faster.”

Shelmire excited after setting the tone

By: Scott Sanford

Since the new staff took over, 17 2016 players have committed to join the new era of Mustang football.

And while Milton (Ga.) quarterback David Moore is credited with starting the #StangGang16 hashtag, he wasn’t the first to #PonyUp.

Lutheran South (Tex.) wideout Joshua Shelmire committed to SMU back in February and has watched with excitement as the Mustangs’ 2016 class has picked up talent from across the state of Texas.

“It’s just exciting to see all of these guys fall in after me,” The 6-foot-2, 183-pound wideout said. “I’m excited for this upcoming season of SMU football and obviously for when I get there.”

The rising senior remains in constant contact with the entire SMU coaching staff and is happy with how his relationship with them has grown.

“I’ve got to know them a little better since I’ve gotten to visit a couple of times,” Shelmire said. “My opinion of them hasn’t changed since I committed. I really like all they’ve done.”

Since committing, Shelmire has picked up offers from Memphis (April), Northwestern (February), and a few D-II schools, but he does not speak with the other coaching staffs and is adamant that his recruitment is shut down.

With his recruitment in the books, Shelmire is focused on starting his final high school season on a high note, which begins with the state 7-on-7 tournament this weekend.

Lutheran South qualified for the first time in school history, so Shelmire plans to take full advantage of the extra time with his teammates.

It’s a good way for our team to get early reps that way we can get our offense down,” Shelmire explained. “It just better prepares us for the season.”

Personally, Shelmire is working on getting stronger, more physical, and more elusive this offseason.

The pass catcher also plans to bulk up some before he gets to the Hilltop, but for now, he’s comfortable playing around 185 pounds.

Shelmire will also take an official visit to SMU sometime in the fall, but no dates have been set just yet.

Wise keeps close with Buddy Wyatt

By: Demetrio Teniente

Solomon Wise knows who he is and he knows what he is to college football programs. The 2016 Coppell High School defensive end knows that for some programs, he will line up wide as a linebacker and for others he’ll put his hand in the end as an end.

So when he looks at his list of offers—which includes SMU, Illinois St, Missouri St, North Texas, and Kansas—he has to take into account their defensive schemes. However, choosing where he wanted to play wasn’t always so complicated. It was only recently that Wise started to really garner a lot of attention from coaches.

“I think it was 65 percent that people didn’t know who I was yet,” he said. “And the rest was me just stepping up my game. Things kind of slowed down and picked up at the same time. Before summer I didn’t really have any offers, so it’s picking up in that sense. But if you just look at the summer things are slowing down. The first three days I got two offers. Then I started going to camps and I was on people radar.”

That’s really the value of these camps. Not only do players get tutored by collegiate coaches, but if they play their cards right, they can spring board their way into offers.

“Right after SMU’s camp, they offered me on the spot,” Wise said. “They saw me at practices a couple times. I didn’t know they were looking at me because they were originally there for someone else. But then I started doing good and standing out a little bit. Then a few days later I got mail from them and then at the end of the week my coach texted me in all caps—at like 11 at night—‘make sure you go to the SMU camp.’ So I did and they offered me when it ended.”

While he camped and after he was offered, Wise has been in close contact with Buddy Wyatt.

“He’s cool,” Wise said. “He’s very energetic, knows what he is talking about. The coaching staff knows what they are looking for. They are coming to SMU and bringing in big talent. I’ve talked to some of the defensive players and they feel really confident in the team. They are saying that they can feel it in the air—they feel like they are going to do big things this season.”

It’s Quiet for Arkansas Defensive Lineman

By: Billy Embody

2016 Arkansas (Tex.) defensive tackle Nicholas McCann picked up an SMU offer recently, but hasn’t been hearing much from the staff.

“I haven’t heard from them. I get mail, but that’s about it,” McCann said. “I’m not in contact with anyone there right now.”

Tennessee, Ole Miss and UCLA are some of the latest schools to show interest in McCann though, who’s far from a decision and is busy planning trips.

“I’m most likely either going to go to Ole Miss, TCU or Texas in July for a camp,” McCann said. “Ole Miss is standing out a little bit because they’re in the SEC and my aunt used to live in Mississippi. Texas on the way back though and TCU is just good.”

Texas Tech and Kansas are the two schools that have offered that are coming after him the hardest.

“Texas Tech, I know they’re good and they were ranked No. 1 four years ago or something like that,” McCann said. “I like their campus. It’s really nice. I’m planning to make an official out there when it’s legal for us.”

Texas A&M and Arkansas are two schools that might get officials as well as Tech.

“Hopefully, A&M. I’d like to see their campus. I’ve already seen all the football facilities. Those are really the only two,” McCann said. “I’ve seen all of Arkansas. I grew up in Arkansas and their d-line coach seems pretty cool. It’s not guaranteed that I’m going there even if they offer though.”

McCann would like to decide sometime around football season – whether it’s beginning, middle or end is another thing.

Cypress Ridge DB set to release top schools

By: Andrew Hattersley

The SMU coaching staff has made cornerback a priority this recruiting cycle, and one of their targets has been 2016 Cypress Ridge HS (Tex) defensive back D’Angelo Ellis.

“My recruitment is going good, I’ve got 6 offers right now,” Ellis said, “Very soon I’m going to release a list, probably my top two or three schools.”

As of right now, things are a little uncertain for Ellis and he still is not sure who is going to be among his top schools.

“I was actually just talking with my parents about this, and trying to make a decision,” Ellis said before detailing his relationship with SMU, “I have been hearing from the SMU staff, we have got a good relationship over there, their 2016 class is good, they are definitely going to turn it around, it’s definitely a good school to go to and I definitely wouldn’t mind going to SMU.”

Communication between Ellis and the coaching staff has been fairly personal with the coaches not really detailing too much their vision for him on the football field.

“I haven’t talk to the coaches about that yet, I get messages from them asking me how I’m doing and that but as a player they think I have great speed,” Ellis said.

Ellis currently holds offers from Rice, West Point, SMU, Texas State, Houston and Nevada. When it comes time to make a decision, academics could be the deciding factor.

“Academics is one, that’s the main thing, just maintaining a good education and location, just working towards what will prepare me the most for after football,” Ellis said.

Although Ellis considers himself a solid player, he believes there is always room for improvement.

“I think my strength, my speed and my quickness is my biggest strength,” Ellis said, “Right now my biggest thing that I’m working on is technique and then continuing to work on my strength.”

Webb expecting SMU back on top

By: Matt Sanders

San Angelo Central offensive tackle and SMU 2016 commit Braxton Webb has had time to recover from a hectic recruiting process in which he would spend three to four hours a day talking with coaches.

“I was able to relax after recruiting,” Webb said. “I don’t have to worry about coaches always calling me now.”

Just like other high school athletes, Webb has spent the summer at various camps to improve his skills. After one camp was cancelled at the last minute, Webb found himself getting private practice time from former Oklahoma offensive tackle Brandon Braxton.

Going into his senior year, Webb is focused on being quicker at the tackle position.

“I think I’m pretty sound in the pass game, but what I think I need to work on is my run advantage,” he said. “With my height advantage, I have to work on starting out lower.”

For his senior year, Webb has set goals that will give him a significant amount of momentum going into SMU.

“Academics always come before football, so I’m looking to be on the honor roll,” he said. “As for football, I’m shooting for first-team all district and to get as far in the playoffs as possible, hopefully state.”

Webb is part of head coach Chad Morris’ first full class of commits, and he is honored to be a member of the class.

“Some of these guys are major prospects, so we have an advantage over some schools,” he said.

Webb is already getting used to the rest of the members of the 2016 recruiting class, and he hopes they stay in touch long after they leave the Hilltop.

As for SMU football, he wants the Mustangs to return to the glory days by the time he graduates.

“Like everybody else, I really hope to see SMU back on top,” he said. “I want them to be a top tier program.”

Becker has SMU in his top three

By: Demetrio Teniente

You want to talk about diverse athlete? Look no further than 2016 Marble Falls athlete Ryan Becker.

Normally, I see “athlete” in a players description my eyes automatically roll. But in Beckers case, I don’t know if you can find a better description.

“I’ve been considered at programs at defensive end, tight end and tackle,” he said. “I mean. It doesn’t really matter to me. As long as I like the coach it doesn’t matter what position I’m at. Just whatever gets me to the field the quickest.”

Not only that, Becker also competes in Rodeos—has most of his life. He’s been competing in team roping for a long time.

“My Dad started when he was thirty, so I grew up around it and always had horses and cows,” he said. “It’s going to have to let off a lot when I go play football. Both take up so much time I don’t think it’s possible to do both.”

And last time I checked, SMU doesn’t have a rodeo team. While Becker hasn’t decided where he is going he has narrowed down his current list to UTSA, Texas Tech, and SMU.

“I’m still taking offers,” he says. “I’m not going to turn ‘em down or anything. But I’ve narrowed it down those three.”

One of the things that stands out to Becker about SMU is the familiarity he already has with the coaching staff and the offensive system. Marble Falls’ head coach Matt Green coached with Chad Morris at Lake Travis.

“It’s the same offense we run here,” Becker said. “So I know the basics already and that gives me an edge.”

But his attraction to the Hilltop isn’t limited with to their system, he also likes the coaching staff.

“Coach Morris has helped turn around all these other programs,” he said. “So I’m gonna bet that he does it here at SMU too. The staff reminds me of my high school coaches. I like the school a lot.”

Becker also plans to major in business and it just so happens that SMU has one of the best business schools in the country. So there is that.

Cedar Hill Receiver Wanting to Hear More from SMU

By: Patrick Engel

SMU has finally burst into DFW powerhouse Cedar Hill under Chad Morris after neglecting it under the previous staff. 2016 defensive backs Eric Sutton and Michael Clark are committed to SMU, and two of their 2017 teammates, Avery Davis and Jaylon Jackson, both were offered in the spring.

Now, SMU is beginning to show interest in yet another Longhorn, wide receiver Camron Buckley. SMU’s interest in Buckley is so new that he hasn’t yet talked with the SMU staff, but when he visits for camp in late July, he expects that to change.

“(SMU running backs coach Claude) Mathis, he easily gets in contact with (Cedar Hill head coach Joey) McGuire. They’re wanting to watch games this year, watch me to get more film on me,” Buckley said.

While Buckley and his fellow rising juniors are just enjoying the process, the four-star receiver said that he hears a lot of good things about SMU a lot from Sutton and Clark.

“Eric and Michael, they want me to come over there to SMU,” Buckley said. “I like the environment and what they’re trying to do with the program, turn it around. It’s going to be a good season this year and I plan on watching.”

Buckley has offers from TCU and Houston and said Auburn and Kansas are showing interest right now. He visited Texas A&M, Tennessee and Auburn, all of which said they will come watch him this season. He is also planning to attend Texas’ camp on July 18. Buckley said he doesn’t have any early favorites or any specific school he’d like to hear from.

“I’ve just dreamed of playing college football and going to the next level, so I’m just taking it in from everybody and no one specific,” Buckley said.

Buckley is 6-foot-1 and 180 pounds. He is Scout’s 160th-rated prospect nationally in the early 2017 rankings and the sixth-rated receiver in Texas.

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