The Hilltop Review 7/17

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

Williams feeling a commitment?

By: Patrick Engel

SMU has gone a whopping 19 days since its last commitment, but that streak could end soon. 2016 Sapulpa (Okla.) running back/linebacker Dae Williams is high on SMU and will visit on July 17, and he acknowledged he could pull the trigger if he likes it.

“Definitely,” Williams said of the possibility of committing. “If I like the campus like I think I will, I’ll probably call coach (Jake) Corbin, my head coach, on the way back and talk it over with him. I might as well just make the commitment on the way back if I really like it a lot...I think there’s a good chance.”

Since adding the SMU offer in early June, Williams has learned a lot about school through talking with the coaches and doing a little research on his own.

I’m looking forward to seeing how nice the campus is,” Williams said. “I’ve heard it’s a beautiful campus. I look forward to seeing how close it is to downtown Dallas and getting a chance to meet all the coaches. I’ve only talked to coach (Chad) Morris and coach (Archie) McDaniel.”

McDaniel and Williams have formed a strong relationship, even though they haven’t actually met yet. Williams has DMed over Twitter with Morris, but he and McDaniel have called each other and talk about once per week.

“We’ve been talking about the recruiting process,” Williams said. “At first, I was planning on waiting until about mid-December or early January before I was going to make any kind of decision. But after talking to him about how fast it (the recruiting process) is now, I actually know more about it. We’ve been talking about how he thinks I’ll love the campus and the community when I visit.”

McDaniel originally offered the 6-foot-1, 230-pound Williams, who said it was a bit of an unexpected offer.

“I was shocked because SMU hadn’t really talked to me that much before the offer. I didn’t know I actually had the offer until he (McDaniel) had called coach Corbin. He said ‘If you want to go at running back, we want you at our camp so we can evaluate you. But if you don’t mind playing linebacker at the next level, we can offer you now.’ I didn’t really read that as an offer until he had talked with coach Corbin.”

Even though Williams primarily plays running back for Sapulpa, he is comfortable with a position change, especially because McDaniel likes his potential as a linebacker.

“He thinks I can be a big player at the next level as a linebacker. I’m excited to get to play the position. I know that sometimes players switch spots at the next level. Getting to play at a beautiful school like SMU, [if I had] to play a position that’s not my primary position, I’m perfectly fine with that. I’ve played it before a bit.”

New Mexico, Navy, Army and SMU have offered Williams, but Houston, Memphis, Louisiama-Monroe and Iowa State have expressed interest and could offer soon, Williams said. He said SMU and Navy have been recruiting him the hardest. Williams is a two-star prospect.

Fleming schedules SMU visit

By: Billy Embody

La Marque (Tex.) defensive lineman Aymiel Fleming is seeing interest in him pick up, but one school that has had consistent contact with Fleming is SMU.

“It’s going great. I’ve been talking to some big dogs lately,” Fleming said. “SMU, Nevada, Colorado State and UTSA are the schools talking to me the most. Utah and Boise State have reached out a little bit.”

SMU defensive line coach Buddy Wyatt has been consistently talking with the 2016 lineman, but linebackers coach Archie McDaniel and head coach Chad Morris have been pushing Fleming too.

“I talk to all the coaches. As a matter of fact, I’m going up for that family cookout on the 24th,” Fleming said. “I’m just excited to get a feel for the coaches just chilling out around the football team. I want to see how they really are as people.”

The 6-2, 280-pound lineman stopped short of calling SMU his favorite, but the cookout on the 24th could go a long way.

“I love SMU. I like the business school. The Cox School of Business is huge. Right now, they got it ranked at No. 31 in the nation. That’s on one list I saw,” Fleming said. “I like it a lot. I like Nevada a lot and I like Colorado State a lot, but I can’t really put one over the other, but SMU is up there.”

August 3 is Fleming’s decision date, but he will take other visits as well as the SMU trip.

“I’ll be taking a trip out to Nevada and over to UTSA and of course, the cookout at SMU on the 24th,” the two-star lineman said. “Colorado State is also in it.”

As for his relationship with the SMU coaches, Fleming feels good about it and does his best to keep up.

“I’m pretty close to all of them. I tweet with him every now and again, but as a matter of fact, I’ve got to call him (Wyatt) since he hasn’t heard from me in a bit,” Fleming said.

SMU has Fleming slotted at defensive tackle and with his size, it’s no surprise that’s the case.

“I think they want to start me off at DT and then feel me out to wherever I could fit. I could play anything as long as I’m playing football, but I guess they like me at DT because of the way I carry size and my frame is a little taller so they want me to play DT,” Fleming said. “I know they kind of move them around. I know they kind of send them on straight plays like these little underneath moves and grip and rip it.”

Fleming even got a sitdown meeting with Wyatt and defensive coordinator Van Malone when he visited earlier this year.

“They told me basically I’m moving around and not just taking blocks and double teams. I’m going to be playing and all over the place.”

At the cookout, Fleming wants to get to know the coaches on a more personal level and how they are outside of coaching, plus their plan for #PonyUpTempo.

“I’m just really trying to find out what they want to do with this new era of coaching,” Fleming said. “I just want to know the gameplan when adversities come and how they’re going to change this.”

Fleming said his big factor will be education for his college choice, but this summer he’s been hitting the weight room and field three times a day to develop his skills and add more size.

Morris worrying about AAU season

By: Scott Sanford

Ulric Maligi’s departure from the SMU coaching staff might have more of a negative effect on the recruiting trail for the Mustangs than initially thought.

2016 Lancaster (Tex.) power forward Nate Morris had developed a solid relationship with the recruiting guru, but now that Maligi is gone, Morris must start from scratch and develop a relationship with the rest of the SMU staff.

“I hadn’t heard from (Maligi) in a while,” Morris said. “But (SMU) actually called me recently. I just couldn’t get to my phone in time, but there are other coaches (KT Turner being one) reaching out to me now to reconnect.”

That being said, the 6-foot-10, 230-pound Morris is still fond of the Mustangs.

“It’s still a place I could see myself going definitely,” the Lancaster product said.

For now, taking a break from his recruitment, Morris is focused on elevating his play by constantly working out, conditioning and watching film when he isn’t on the court with his AAU squad.

The rising senior plans to take the next step in his recruitment once the fall rolls around, which is finding the schools that best suit his style of play.

“Really what my plan to do is, by the end of the summer, start looking up film on all of these schools to see how their coaches are and how they like their bigs to play,” Morris explained. “All of the schools are nice and all have different perks.”

Morris, who plans to make a final decision either during or right after his final high school basketball season, said that there is no obvious favorite for him now, and most of the schools are even.

The rim-protector, who holds offers from the likes of UCLA, Baylor, Kansas State, Texas, Texas A&M and TCU among others, mentioned Tulsa, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Saint Louis and Texas Tech as the schools that are pursuing him the hardest.

While winning the NCAA Tournament is a goal for Morris, his title aspirations won’t dictate where he ends up playing.

“(I want to go) somewhere I can make a big impact and work on my skills,” Morris said. “I still want to go somewhere I can win a championship, but at the end of the day, it’s about trying to get better and see where you can go in this game.”

Morris also said he is fine with going out of state.

2016 point guard plans SMU visit

By: Patrick Engel

2016 Oklahoma City Southeast point guard Dashawn McDowell is one of the many participants in the Great American Shootout in Dallas this weekend, but he’s also going to take time to visit SMU while he’s in the area. He briefly drove through the campus before his first game of the GASO, but will be back for a lengthier unofficial visit later in the weekend, he told PonyStampede. It will be his first visit to SMU.

McDowell has kept an open mind since decommitting from Tulsa in the early spring, but he has held an SMU offer for a long time and is very familiar with the staff. He said he hears from SMU a lot, mainly from assistant coach K.T. Turner.

“[We’ve talked] about SMU, about getting to the next level,” McDowell said. “I can communicate with him about more than basketball,” McDowell said.

While McDowell likes the relationship he and Turner have built, his favorite aspect of SMU is its offense and how it fits his skills.

“The pick-and-rolls. Definitely the pick-and-roll offense,” McDowell said. “We run pretty much the same thing [at Southeast]. I can score of the pick-and-roll, pick-and-pop.”

McDowell has generated a lot of interest since he opened things back up. He reports offers from SMU, Houston, USC, Texas Tech and Florida Gulf Coast since his decommitment. The 6-foot-5, 190-pound point guard also said Wake Forest, Arkansas and Wichita State are showing a lot of interest. The flurry of offers has him in no rush to trim the list.

“I’m probably not going to cut my list for a while,” McDowell said, adding that he wants to sign during the early signing period.

McDowell hasn’t set up any official visits yet, but said he will start thinking about his five official destinations at the end of the July live periods. He doesn’t have any more unofficial visits lined up either.

McDowell plays AAU for Urban DFW Elite.

2017 point guard talks SMU offer

By: Andrew Hattersley

After a solid AAU season so far, 2017 Houston Hoops point guard Jay Jay Chandler picked up two offers this week including one from SMU.

“You know an offer from SMU is big, with a good coach over there in Larry Brown, just a blessing to get an offer from him at a big school like that,” Chandler said.

The 6-3, 175-pound Cinco Ranch guard is coming off a Peach Jam showing where he averaged just over 8 points and 2 assists per game. That performance, as well as, his showings in other games has impressed the SMU staff.

“So far its just been talking about how I played at the Peach Jam and the EYBL, and that I played good in that and that I’m an exciting player to watch,” Chandler, “I will probably be going up there for a visit later on in August probably once school starts again.”

Given that this talented guard is relatively unfamiliar with the school, he says there will a lot for him to look at when he takes a visit later this summer.

“Just the good community, the campus being good, the coaching staff, players that are already saying that they love it, how my family feels up there,” Chandler said.

Although Chandler has not seen the school up close yet, he is already fond of SMU because of their playing style under coach Brown.

“I like the way they play, they play fast and have a high tempo game and I like that because I’m more of a transition player and coach Brown just lets his players play,” Chandler said.

SMU was not the only offer for Chandler this week as he also received one from the Baylor Bears the same day.

“Baylor, I’ve been talking to them for a while now, just getting an offer from them is just very good with a big campus over there and a big D1 school,” Chandler, “That’s where I had my first visit and getting an offer from them is a big plus.”

Chandler is also coming off a different Peach Jam tournament where his Houston Hoops squad had to adjust to a key injury.

“At Peach Jam it started out a little slow and then we had an injury to one of the players so coach was asking me to play a little bit all over,” Chandler said, “I just did whatever I could to help the team with scoring and defense.”

With much of the summer left before he begins his junior season, Chandler has his sights set on getting better in a lot of different areas, as well as, keeping the momentum going from this summer.

“I do well at scoring in transition, scoring the ball for the team, playing defense on good scorers and just not giving up baskets, I’m a playmaker on the court, I like to get other people involved and make plays for my teammates on the court,” Chandler said, “I’ve been working on jump shooting, specifically the 3, ball handling, and footwork so I can get a little bit faster.”

2016 receiver staying patient

By: Scott Sanford

All Saints’ Episcopal School in Fort Worth is a hot bed for high school football talent, and the SMU staff knows that.

With players like Daniel Gresham, Mike Williams and Foster Sawyer all picking up interest from major college programs around the country, it’s no surprise SMU is showing interest in another Saint.

2016 wideout Isaiah Harris doesn’t hold an offer from SMU yet, but both Harris and the Mustangs have mutual interest.

“The person who recruits my area is Coach Gunn, so I talk to him the most out of everyone,” Harris explained. “We talk quite a bit. We just try and keep a steady pattern of communication.”

While SMU has offers out to a number of 2016 receivers right now, Gunn has told Harris to stay patient and his time could come.

“It’s like a numbers game so I just need to wait it out,” The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Harris said. “In time, it should work in my favor coach tells me.”

The rising senior, who holds offers from Houston, UNT, Kansas State, Colorado State, Texas State, Army and Illinois, listed Houston, Kansas State, Army and Illinois has his top schools right now, but admits that could change.

“It’s still pretty open, but I’m the type of person to show interest in the schools that show interest in me,” Harris said.

If the Mustangs did offer, that would immediately change where they stand for Harris.

“I like that staff. They bring a whole new approach to connecting with people. They’re good with people and recruits,” Harris said. “I like the school of SMU as a whole. I like the academic side of things as well as the athletic side of things so you can’t go wrong with SMU.”

While Harris plans on making a decision after the season, he already knows what type of school he wants to attend.

“A school with academic prestige because if football doesn’t work out, I will be able to go and get a great job,” Harris said. “I don’t necessarily care about the win column, but definitely a program that supports their athletes and a coaching staff that is behind their players.”

2016 guard unsure of where he stands with SMU

By: Billy Embody

Arlington Seguin combo guard Josh Parrish has held an SMU offer since his freshman year, but with assistant Ulric Maligi departing, SMU’s interest is up in the air.

“The coach that was recruiting me, Maligi, got a new job I think so I’ve just been talking to a few people like the strength coach and Larry Brown one time, but other than that, it’s been it and coach Jankovich one time,” Parrish said. “They talked to me during basketball season and were trying to get me up for a game.”

Brown and the school’s prestigious reputation has Parrish interested.

“I have interest in SMU. Larry Brown is a Hall of Fame coach and I believe he can transform anybody’s game to prepare you for the next level,” Parrish said. “SMU is a great school too. That’s pretty much a win in both situations.”

After watching SMU the last few years, Parrish has an idea

“I like the system because in my opinion it’s a pro system, which I believe fits well with transition and pick and roll offense so I think I can fit in that offense,” the 6-4, 200-pound guard said.

Parrish hasn’t been able to make it for a game yet, but is trying to make it this year.

VCU and TCU have offered Parrish with TCU calling weekly and VCU offered last week.

The local prospect has an idea of a timeline on his decision, but doesn’t have a favorite.

“I’m pretty much wide open and I definitely want to sign by the spring,” Parrish said. “I want to sign by my high school season I think. TCU and VCU are recruiting me the hardest.”

SMU making the tournament last season makes it an even more attractive destination.

“The tournament run is big. That just shows me they’re getting it turned around,” Parrish said. “Before Larry Brown got there, they didn’t get close to the tournament so now seeing that they’ve made the tournament, it shows they’re turning into a basketball school.

On the court, Parrish is aggressive and is looking to push the pace of the game.

“I’m on full on attack in the transition game with speed to get to the rim and I’ll push the ball up the court,” Parrish said. “I try to get everybody involved too so if I can’t get to the rim, I’ll kick it out.”

The Urban DFW Elite guard wants to find the right combination of team and school at the next level.

“The best fit for me. The best school I can fit in and contribute right away and play my game, but also get that quality education because that’s very important.”

Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M, Tulsa and Creighton are all showing interest as well.

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