The Hilltop Review 9/18

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

2016 defensive tackle recaps SMU-UNT visit

By: Andrew Hattersley

It was a big weekend for many involved with the SMU football team with coach Morris picking up his first victory as head coach of the Mustangs, 2016 Denton Ryan HS (Tex.) defensive tackle Ken McLaurin also appreciated the importance of this victory during his visit.

“It was great, I had a great time it was great experience I liked it a lot,” McLaurin said, “It meant a lot because at first I was more skeptical about this program being back on track but now it definitely seems like this program is back on track.” McLaurin also enjoyed getting to talk to the coaches about the strides SMU has made so far, and where they are heading in the future now that they have two games under their belt.

“They talked very highly of the program, they said they are going to change that program around to the way it used to be and they’re going to win some games,” McLaurin said.

The 6-2, 285-pound defensive tackle was a little late to the party but did make it there in time for kickoff between SMU and North Texas.

“Well I got there late but they did have the coaching staff there before, but I got there just about as the game started so it was a great experience,” McLaurin said, “I didn’t get to tour the campus but I have seen the campus like six or seven times now.”

McLaurin is not sure whether he is going to make it up for another game this season due to his own schedule but nonetheless is very interested in SMU.

“I might try to make it to another game but I will have to see how it goes,” McLaurin said.

McLaurin has offers from SMU, Boise State, Illinois, Colorado State, Iowa State, Texas State, Nevada, Massachussetts, Toledo and Central Arkansas but is only hearing from a couple of schools.

“I have been hearing from Kansas, SMU and that’s about it,” McLaurin said.

The talented defensive tackle is still a little while from making any sort of a decision, as he wants to wait until he has the chance to take his official visits and mull his options.

“Trying to make one after the season, I think it will just be better if I make it after the season because I will have time to think about it and make a couple of official visits,” McLaurin said.

For the Denton Ryan run stopper, what he is looking for at his next stop is pretty simple.

“Just want a place where I feel like I can win and just a place where I can feel at home.”


2017 wide receiver recaps SMU visit

By: Scott Sanford

2017 San Angelo Central (Tex.) wide receiver Aaron Wooten was one of many recruits to take in the Mustangs’ win over North Texas last week.

Wooten, who holds an offer from SMU, enjoyed watching a reenergized SMU program with SMU commit Braxton Webb and his brother Brennen.

Like his brother, Aaron enjoyed speaking with the coaching staff after the Mustangs’ win, and is impressed by the coaching staff in general.

“They’re just great guys. They bring a family atmosphere and they’re just great coaches,” the younger Wooten said.

Wooten speaks with Coach Morris, Coach Loepp and Coach Craddock the most, and he says Craddock does a nice job of staying in contact with him.

“He wants to keep up with me and how I’m feeling,” Wooten said about Craddock. “We’re just trying to build that relationship so that if I chose to go there we’ll have that.”

While Wooten is still a ways away from making a decision, his teammate, Braxton Webb, has been committed to SMU for some time now, which has given the junior wideout a chance to see how SMU treats their players.

“It’s kind of cool we have (Braxton Webb) committed there because it’s kind of like they include us together there,” Wooten explained. “When I’m with Braxton, they treat us like family, and when I’m by myself they treat us like we’re already a part of the family.”

Wooten is talking to the Purdue, New Mexico State, Tulsa, TCU, Texas, Texas State and UTSA programs now, but still holds his lone offer from SMU.

Now that Wooten is healthy, the former Marble Falls receiver believes he will start picking up more offers as the season progresses, but he’ll always have a soft spot for SMU since they were his first offer.

“I thought it was awesome that they trusted me enough to offer me, especially with only a couple of games from last year under my belt last year because of my shoulder injury,” Wooten said. “I’m going to show them they made the right decision.”

Although he doesn’t have any games picked out as of now, Wooten hopes to make it back to the Hilltop for some more games this season.


SMU offers 2017 linebacker

By: Billy Embody

2017 La Porte (Tex.) linebacker Terrel Bernard picked up his third offer this week when SMU linebackers coach Archie McDaniel broke the news to him.

“He told me to call him two days ago and we had talked for a little while and then he told me they were extending an offer to me,” Bernard said. “It means a lot. Anytime a school offers you, it shows how interested they are and how much you mean to their program.”

Bernard and McDaniel have been talking for quite sometime on Twitter, but just now have began to talk on the phone.

“I have a pretty close relationship with him. We’ve been talking for a while now, but two days ago was actually the first time we spoke on the phone, but we’ve been messaging back-and-forth for a while now so we’ve gotten pretty close,” the 6-1, 200-pound linebacker said.

Although Bernard hasn’t talked with anyone else on staff, Bernard expects to talk with Chad Morris next week according to McDaniel. McDaniel and Bernard meanwhile, talked about keys to off the field success.

“Character and all the great things it takes to be a great football player and a great person off the field as well,” Bernard said. “I was very impressed. He made a strong impression on me since we first started speaking. Just to hear him talk to me and communicate over the phone was really nice.”

While Bernard is just beginning to learn more about SMU, McDaniel has set high expectations.

“Coach McDaniel told me that they’re all-around good people up there,” Bernard said. “That’s really what I like to be around. I know their history and it’s crazy. I watched the 30 for 30 on them and it’s pretty cool.”

Many high-profile programs are interested in Bernard, but he might give a good hard look to turnaround efforts at schools like SMU.

“I would like a school that’s just now coming up. They’re not going to be too cocky or arrogant or think too highly of themselves, but they’re going to have that confidence and that swagger to try and get better and working hard everyday,” Bernard said.

Bernard hasn’t been to visit SMU yet, but plans to. Bernard has visited Houston, Texas, Texas A&M and TCU so far and wants to get to TCU again for a game.

Texas Tech and Houston are the two others to have offered Bernard and he’s building a relationship there.

“With Houston, it’s pretty close. I know coach (Dallas) Blacklock and coach (Kenith) Pope, my recruiting coordinator, we’re pretty close,” Bernard said. “With Texas Tech, I’ve talked with the linebackers coach, coach (Zac) Spavital, but I’m pretty close with most of them.”

Outside of a great education as his No. 1 priority, Bernard wants a caring environment.

“A great coaching staff that cares about me on and off the field and then a good football program that I think I can fit into and help out,”

La Porte is 3-0 so far and Bernard hopes to keep that going with his biggest attributes — energy and work ethic.

“I’m never going to take a play off and I’m going to fly around and try and make plays. That’s pretty much how I play I feel like.”

Bernard doesn’t have a timeline for a decision yet.


Carroll receiver talks SMU-UNT, recruitment

By: Matt Sanders

Southlake Carroll 2016 wide receiver Zach Farrar attended SMU’s matchup against North Texas last Saturday, and the Mustang victory made him like SMU even more.

“They started slow, but they picked it up,” Farrar said. “I need to know that a team isn’t going to quit.”

Farrar was impressed by the support the team is getting, and he knows that it will only go up from here.

“I have a feeling if they start to win, the atmosphere will pick up.”

Although he liked the product on the field, what got Farrar’s attention was how players who weren’t in the game were reacting.

“What stood out to me was the energy on the sideline,” he said.

Farrar has been in touch with coach Craddock, and the coach told him that they still want him. Fortunately for the staff, Farrar is still interested in coming to the Hilltop.

“I haven’t really narrowed it down, but SMU is near the top because they were one of the first schools to recruit me hard,” he said. “The school is also really nice and has good academics.”

While his recruitment is picking up, Farrar still wants to focus his attention on his senior year of high school.

“I want to be the top receiver in the state and win a championship,” he said, “I also want to improve my tenacity on going up for the ball because opponents are likely going to double-cover me.”

Along with SMU, Farrar has offers from schools like Texas Tech, Iowa, San Diego State and Washington. By the time his season ends, that list could get significantly longer.

Oklahoma, Indiana, Texas and Arkansas are talking to me pretty hard,” he said.

While most players have specific commitment dates, Farrar plans to play it by ear.

“I don’t really have a timeline, I’ll just decide when it feels right.”

As for SMU, he sees a bright future for them, regardless of where he plays college football.

“By the time I graduate from college, I want to see them winning a conference title,” he said. “They have the coaching, the players and the mindset now.


2017 athlete says Morris is, “doing something special”

By: Patrick Engel

2017 Bremond (Tex.) quarterback/athlete Roshauud Paul picked TCU over SMU in March, but now that he’s reopened his recruitment, he’s giving SMU a serious look again. He visited for the Mustangs’ win over North Texas on Sept. 12.

“Man, it was awesome. I’m telling you, what coach Morris is doing up there, it’s something special,” Paul said.

Even though Paul loved the atmosphere, he said the team impressed him the most.

“They play together, they have confidence in each other,” Paul said. “And afterwards in the locker room, it was crazy awesome.”

Paul had visited SMU once before for a junior day in the winter, but he felt he really saw the SMU’s family environment at the game.

“It was a family environment,” Paul said. The coaches had time to talk to us; coach Morris came by and said hi. It was different and I liked it a lot.”

Paul committed to TCU before the end of his sophomore year, but felt he should open things back up because he just wasn’t feeling TCU like he was before.

“I just lost the feeling. The love wasn’t there anymore,” Paul said. “I felt like it was best for me to open up and see what else is out there.”

SMU didn’t back off when Paul was committed. He heard from running backs coach Claude Mathis regularly and still does. However, SMU is far from the only school to reach out. He listed Tennessee, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Notre Dame, Alabama, Arizona State, Houston and Tulsa are some of the teams who have contacted him since he decommitted on August 31. None have offered yet because he said they want him to visit first. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound Paul said he wants to visit Houston Arizona State, Texas A&M and Texas for games soon, and that Houston and Tulsa are talking to him the most.

Paul led Bremond to a 2A-D2 state title and a 15-0 record in 2014, and the Tigers are 3-0 so far in 2015. He’s optimistic that he’ll hoist another trophy in December.

“We’re probably going to repeat, I’m not kidding,” he said.


SMU commit excited to get to campus

By: Matt Sanders

Cedar Hill cornerback and 2016 commit Eric Sutton attended his first ever college football game last Saturday when the Mustangs defeated North Texas 31-13, and he was nothing but impressed.

“I felt that we took steps in the right direction,” Sutton said. “I loved the effort they played with, and the excitement from the players, even when things got tough. I loved it.”

During his visit, Sutton had a chance to talk with his future coaches, and he is working on getting to know his future teammates.

“I talk to all the coaches, they’re family to me,” he said. “I’m still trying to get to know all the players and building a bond.”

Sutton believes that although he has not been around the rest of his recruiting class that much, they are already family, regardless of what they do or where they come from.

“Me and the 2016 guys are brothers no matter of what position or race they are; it doesn’t’ matter, they’re all my bros.”

While he is excited to start his college career, he is trying to savor the little time he has left with Cedar Hill.

“I’m loving it. I wish I had more games under my head coach, Coach McGuire.”

During his senior year, Sutton wants to improve some aspects of his life that will make the transition to college more successful, both on and off the field.

“I want to improve my foot speed and my study habits,” he said.

Sutton plans to attend more games at SMU this year, and after watching the Mustangs beat UNT, he believes the team can finish on top this year.

“I feel we are going to win the AAC Championship.”

Part of the reason why Sutton thinks highly of this team is because of what the coaching staff has done so far to improve the overall atmosphere, specifically student support on gamedays.

“They are trying to get the games really live, and have students jump on that bandwagon,” he said.

When it comes to how Sutton wants to help the Mustangs once he enrolls, he will do whatever it takes to keep the momentum going forward.

“I want to step in and make an impact any way I can,” he said. “Whether it’s on special teams or defense, it doesn’t really matter. I’ll play anything to help us win.”


2016 running back updates recruitment

By: Andrew Hattersley

2016 Sam Houston HS (Tex.) running back Peytton Pickett is sifting through his options on where to spend his next four years and one of those certainly in the hunt is SMU.

“It’s been going pretty well, I’ve been talking to multiple schools so things have been going pretty well,” Pickett said, “I’ve had conversations with coach Mathis and coach McDaniel pretty frequently, we talk probably a few times per week.”

Pickett said most of the conversations just take place through Twitter and are focused mainly on how his season has been going.

“The coaches and I just talk a lot about my game, just wishing me luck that night or just asking me how I did in the game,” Pickett said.

Pickett has only got a couple of offers, one of those from SMU, but has been talking frequently with TCU, Nevada, Liberty, Delaware State, Kansas and Tulsa.

As of right now, Pickett has a lot he still needs to figure out in terms of making a decision or deciding on a timeline, however he knows he needs to get the ball rolling pretty soon.

“To be honest I really don’t even know, I wish I could say something more clear but it’s really hard, you want to make the decision that is the best fit for you in terms of the campus and for me there’s a lot that goes into that,” Pickett said, “I know that I have to get something going soon, I’ll probably some official visits to schools, I don’t know which ones yet but I will probably take some pretty soon.”

Education will be the number one priority for Pickett when he looks at schools but he also strong believes in receiving the opportunity to compete for a job.

“Just seeing what they have in terms of things that are serious to me like education, do they have my major and minor,” Pickett said, “Just a home setting around campus where it feels like you can be at home and be yourself, it’s just moving from one home to another, just giving me a chance to compete, not start but just get a chance.”

This will be important for Pickett as he will heading over for SMU’s matchup with TCU to see how both schools are progressing.

“I haven’t got to see much of their season so far, I caught the end of SMU vs. Baylor, I didn’t get to see the game,” Pickett said, “I know this week they play TCU and I’m going to be getting over there to go watch those two teams.”


SMU offers 2017 Dallas Lincoln receiver

By: Billy Embody

2017 Dallas Lincoln wide receiver Devodric Bynum picked up his first offer from SMU last Friday and it left him unable to wipe the smile off his

SMU defensive line coach Buddy Wyatt extended the offer to Bynum and wide receivers coach Justin Stepp has been in contact for over a month.

”They said we have been sending you a lot of mail, but we just want you to know that we’ve offered you a scholarship,” Bynum said. “We didn’t get to talk much, but I like him. He’s (Wyatt) a cool dude and seems like he’s all about business.”

Stepp has also made a good impression on Bynum so far.

”I like him. I like his attitude and how he carries himself. I like the way he describes SMU and how it is,” Bynum said.

After watching SMU play Baylor, Bynum isn’t buying the old reputation of SMU even though he doesn’t know much about Chad Morris at all.

”They’re just the school everybody used to say they didn’t want to go to, but I like the way they handled Baylor. They fought and SMU has a lot of heart,” Bynum said.

SMU being close to home comes with its positives, but Bynum doesn’t call it a big deal overall.

”It just feels great. I can take care of my mom while I’m in college and come back and check on them, my dad and my little brother and sister,” Bynum said. “It doesn’t really matter (location) to me. I just want to go where I fit in though.”

Bynum is looking for a program where he can come together with his teammates and win.

”I just want to go somewhere we can come together and do a lot of great things as a program and win. I want to be a part of a winning program.”

On the field, Bynum plays running back and wide receiver for Lincoln, but is being recruited as a receiver by SMU.

”I’m a little shifty and I’ve got the speed. Every time I get the ball, I just think big plays. I can catch in traffic and I have reliable hands,” the 5-11, 166-pound athlete said.

Bynum wants to visit SMU for their next home game, but didn’t say for sure he could make it for the Homecoming game on Sept. 26.

TCU, Houston and Nicholls State has shown interest in Bynum and he thinks an offer from any of the schools could come after his year.

Bynum has been battling a hamstring injury, but has high expectations including over 2,000 all-purpose yards and 20 touchdowns to follow up his 563-yards, nine touchdown sophomore season.


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