The Hilltop Review 9/4

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

Plano East receivers coach updates Omotosho’s recruitment

By: Patrick Engel

Senior season has arrived for Plano East wide receiver Audie Omotosho, which means helping his team bounce back from a 1-9 season. Omotosho injured his wrist in the week before his Aug. 28 game against Lake Highlands but still played, logging one catch for 19 yards.

“Audie fell on his wrist last week and taped it up and had on a brace,” Plano East wide receivers coach David Jones said. “He had a drop in the end zone that normally he would catch. Moving forward, I don’t think it’s very serious. At first we were a little nervous, but he went to the doctor, they checked him out, so we should be good going forward.

While Omotosho didn’t fill up the stat sheet, he made plays in other areas of the game.

“He had some nasty blocks. He pancaked some guys out there on the edge,” Jones said. “He’s a physical guy.”

Even though Omotosho is focused on the season, recruiting is still lurking. He named a top 10 of Arkansas, Cal, Maryland, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, SMU, Texas Tech, UCLA, Utah and Washington in July, but has been quiet since. Jones said he’s progressing with places and dates for official visits.

“He doesn’t have any official visits scheduled just yet, but I know he’s talking to a few schools about it,” Jones said. “I know he’s going to look for a couple early in the season and a couple at the end of the season.”

Omotosho will take his time with his visits, so expect a decision to come late in his season or closer to signing day.

“He’s not going to be making a decision for a while just yet,” Jones said. “He’s going to narrow it down to five or six at least.”

Jones didn’t disclose which ones, but SMU is a very good bet to be in his top five. Jones said his star receiver is still in consistent contact with the SMU coaches

“They have a great coaching staff and he’s serious about business, so I know he really thinks highly of them,” Jones said.

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Omotosho is Scout’s 59th-ranked receiver in 2016.

2016 point guard previews SMU official

By: Scott Sanford

2016 Southeast (Okla.) point guard Dashawn McDowell is one of SMU’s first official visitor of this class as he stepped on campus last night.

Since his de-commitment from Tulsa back in April, the 6-foot-5, 182-pound McDowell has been in constant contact with SMU assistant K.T. Turner and has developed a strong relationship with him.

“We’ve picked up a great bond,” McDowell said. “He calls me everyday—checks on me—and it’s more than basketball with him. He asks me how my days are, he checks on my family, so he does things outside of basketball that makes our bond a lot stronger. I feel like he communicates and cares about me more than just as a basketball player.”

McDowell knows what he’s getting from SMU on the basketball side of things, and believes that his ability to score off of the pick-and-roll and play fast, coupled with all he would learn from Coach Brown, would be a great experience.

He also hopes to learn more about the campus, facilities and education side of things while he’s on the Hilltop.

The rising senior’s relationship with Turner is important, but McDowell’s visit will allow him to see if he can gel with the other coaches and players.

“Just (seeing if there’s) a bond right now,” the three-star guard said. “I already know the coaches and the style of basketball are what I want, so it’s just about do I feel a connection when I go and do I feel welcome?”

Although McDowell doesn’t have any other visits set up, he plans on taking his other trips before making a decision within the next month.

“I want to be able to commit within the next month and focus on my final high school season,” McDowell said.

McDowell is also talking to the staffs at Texas Tech, Wichita State, California, Arizona and USC.

2017 running back planning to visit SMU frequently

By: Billy Embody

2017 Wylie East running back Eno Benjamin just recently has been able to be contacted by the SMU coaching staff and right away, SMU running backs coach Claude Mathis and offensive line coach Dustin Fry reached out.

“He was just asking me how practice was going and he saw I did great this past week,” Benjamin said.

With the new ability to talk with coaches and truly be recruited, Benjamin is excited to talk with the staff.

“I feel like I can actually get the time to build the relationship with a coach not just a 10 min conversation about every 2 weeks. It changes the game a lot,” the Scout 4-star running back said.

His relationship with Fry and Mathis is beginning to grow outside of just football.

“Coach Fry and coach Mathis probably have to be one of the few coaches I talk to a lot about football or maybe personal reasons,” the 5-10, 187-pound back said. “We've come a long way.”

Mathis has been focusing not just on football with Benjamin.

“Coach Mathis likes to check on me usually to see how the family, school and personal life is going, not just football,” Benjamin said.

The No. 3 back in Texas said if he can’t make it tonight, be sure to look for him at plenty of other SMU home games. Benjamin is excited for the future with Chad Morris at the helm.

“I believe coach Morris can turn around this program into a tremendous program. It's going to build on each other with all these incoming '16!” Benjamin said.

With offers from Boise State, Duke, Iowa, Miami, Texas Tech, Houston, Kansas, SMU, Nevada, San Diego State and Tulane, Benjamin said it’s not just one school standing out.

“I don't have a specific school talking to me the most. I would say it's all around even.”

2017 point guard takes unofficial visit

By: Patrick Engel

Official visit season is ramping up for SMU, but it played host to an unofficial visitor earlier this week, 2017 Tulsa (Okla.) Central PG Elijah Landrum. Landrum and his high school coach, Eli Brown, spent a day on the Hilltop with the SMU coaching staff.

“We got to sit down for a long talk with them (Larry Brown and assistant K.T. Turner) and talked about his career, what he likes in point guards, what makes a point guard different from other guards,” Landrum said.

Landurm hadn’t talked with or met Brown before his Sept. 1 visit, and said he was pretty excited to meet the Hall of Fame coach. But already had a relationship with Turner.

“I talk with coach K.T. quite often. He’s a pretty cool guy and I like him,” Landrum said.

While Landrum used the visit to get familiar with SMU, he saved talking with the coaches about his fit in SMU’s offense and campus life for a later date.

“We were going to save that for when I come back for the official visit. We didn’t want to go through everything on the unofficial visit, so the official visit would be a little more fun,” Landrum said.

SMU was Landrum’s first visit, but it wasn’t his last this fall. He visited hometown Tulsa on Sept. 3, will trip to Houston on Sept. 10 and Oklahoma on Oct. 3. SMU, Houston, Tulsa, Texas Tech and Missouri-Kansas City have offered the 5-foot-11, 173 pound point guard. Tulsa has showin him the most attention so far, but Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have sent him a bunch of mail and he’s hoping one offers soon. He’s also talked with New Mexico recently.

“As of right now who recruits me the hardest, that’s TU,” Landrum said.

Landrum helped his team win a state title in 2014-15, averaging 19 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game.

Coppell linebacker updates recruitment

By: Demetrio Teniente

It’s been almost two months since we last spoke to 2016 Coppell High School defensive end Solomon Wise.

Things have slowed down a bit for the 6-4 220 pound linebacker after interest in him spiked over the summer.

“Nothing too interesting is happening right now,” he said. “I’m still getting mail from a lot of schools. I think it has a lot to do with coaching staffs focusing on their teams and the kids they already have at their schools.”

Wise holds several offers from D1 programs including: SMU, Illinois St, Missouri St, North Texas, and Kansas. Before things started cooling off for Wise, he said Kansas and Arkansas were contacting him a lot.

Going into his senior season and considering the programs he has offers from, one might expect Wise to start shortening his list of choices.

“Oh no, no no,” Wise said. “I don’t really believe in top fives—mostly because you never really know how the season is going to go.”

That his recruitment process has slowed a bit doesn’t seem to bother Wise too much—he’s dialed in and focused on trying to help lead Coppell’s defense.

Coppell is going into just their second game of the season Friday night against McKinney Boyd. The Cowboys started their season with a 26-20 win over Hebron.

Wise says he’d like to be able to go and visit some schools, but right now, it’s hard to see past this week’s game.

“I want to,” Wise said. “But I don’t think it would work out the way I want it to. I want to visit a lot of schools. But whatever calls me, whoever contacts me, whoever asks me to come, I’m going to go visit. I’m not going to try and force anything on anyone. I’m just going to focus on the season at hand.

2017 lineman hearing from SMU

By: Andrew Hattersley

It’s been a couple of months since 2017 Bob Jones HS (Ala.) offensive lineman Tucker Walters visited SMU but he has kept in touch with the coaching staff and is loving the enthusiasm of the staff.

“I’ve been talking to them since May, I’ve talked to coach Mathis he’s one of the fun coaches to talk to, I’ve talked to coach Craddock and coach Fry, the offensive line coach, and I went over there in like June,” Walters said, “I got to meet everyone and they were all really friendly and just happy I was there, they really told me to just keep working.”

Walters also loved his visit to the campus, especially getting the opportunity to see how serious the new coaching staff was about improving the program.

“It’s a beautiful campus, it’s really nice I mean I loved it there, I really like how they’re doing all these renovations, I think that shows how serious they are about being back on the right track,” Walters said.

The 6-2,290-pound lineman has enjoyed seeing the enthusiasm coach Craddock has about him being from Alabama, but also appreciated the honest tips coach Craddock gave him to get even better.

“Coach Craddock is fired up, basically since the first time I spoke to him he’s been fired up about having a Bama boy over there and basically they’ve just told me I’m a good player and the little things I need to work on, they’re really honest about what I need to work on which is good, and they’re very straightforward about everything,” Walters said.

Walters is not sure when he is going to make it back to SMU, but is hoping to visit later this year depending on his schedule.

“I’ll have to see, considering I live in Alabama that’s a pretty far trip so I’ll have to talk to my parents about that but I’ve been talking about going over there with my parents some time and we got to find the right date,” Walters said, “It will probably be later this year.”

Walters does not have any offers but has been hearing from a lot of schools, with one of the most recent schools being Purdue.

“I was first getting mail from them before I started hearing about them, their coach said I was one of the top 5 prospects, one of their favorite prospects in the class which is great,” Walters said, “I don’t really know a lot about them yet, they play in a really big conference which is good, they seem like a pretty good school but I don’t know enough about them yet.”

Another visit Walters has gone on this summer is Auburn, which held a special place in his heart.

“It was really nice, of course coming from a Bama kid they’re the top program, great facilities and plus I liked how they tried to make you feel at home, they’re really big on the family type aspect,” Walters said.

Obviously Walters has to get some offers and start making some visits, but come this time next year, Walters is hoping to be committed to a school heading into his senior year.

“Sometime next summer would be good, I will probably commit when I’m ready, hopefully its enough when the offer comes that I want to commit to but if not I will just have to wait it out and weigh my options,” Walters said.

One change the coaches will be interested to see is the versatile lineman will be switching over to center this year, a move that appears to be permanent.

“I need to get better in my pass protection, getting quicker with my feet I think is the key and I transitioned over from guard to center so I have to work on that but I feel like I have it now,” Walters said, “It’s just the little things I’m trying to get better at so nothing is really perfect.”

Skyline LB talks SMU, recruiting

By: Matt Sanders

Dallas Skyline 2016 outside linebacker Danzell Sims is starting to pick up his recruiting process, but for now he is focused on finishing his high school career on a high note.

“My goal is to have a good season, meaning having the most tackles every game and playing good technique,” Sims said. “The goal for the team is to get everything we worked for, which is a state championship.”

Losing to Allen in the playoffs last year is what motivates Sims and his team to do well this year.

“If I could change one thing this year, it would be to finish,” he said. “For example, when we went up against Allen last year in the fifth round, we did everything right but we didn’t finish.”

Although he is focused on high school football, he knows that college football is coming up, and he hopes to hear from the SMU coaching staff.

“I’ve been trying to communicate with the coaches on Twitter, but no one has replied,” he said.

Although communication with the staff hasn’t picked up yet, Sims is aware of what the coaches have done when it comes to recruiting, and he hope to be a part of it.

“I really like what they’re doing,” he said. “They are really getting some big time players in the class of 2016 that I would really like to play with.”

Sims hopes to visit the Hilltop sometime soon, but he hasn’t had a chance to pick a specific day.

With SMU’s season starting, Sims does not know exactly how things will go, but he believes there will a lot of excitement around the Mustangs.

“I can’t exactly predict how I think their season will be, but I’ve seen them practice a couple of times and I know that the season will be way better than last season,” he said. “Many people aren’t expecting much from SMU, but I think they’re going to shock many people.”

Sims credits the coaches’ recruiting approach to SMU trying to turn things around.

“I say that the coaches are very good coaches and are really trying to build a winning program and continue to win.”

Sims believes that he would fit well in the defensive scheme at SMU.

“I think I would be perfect for the star position,” he said. “The star position is pretty much like the position I play now; I cover receivers well and fight off blocks pretty well.”

With one year left in high school, Sims knows that it’s time to prepare for college life, and he believes that he will be ready for whatever challenges come his way.

“I plan on becoming an expert at reading my keys,” he said. “Off the field, I’m going to make sure I’m mentally prepared as far as being academically and socially ready to progress for long-term development.

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