The Hilltop Review 10/2

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

Pony Stampede Podcast 10/2

By: Billy Embody

Williams recaps SMU visit

By: Scott Sanford

While a laundry list of SMU prospects failed to make it to SMU’s homecoming loss to James Madison, 2016 South Grand Prairie (Tex.) defensive back Caesar Williams was on campus.

Despite the surprising loss, Williams (at top) was still impressed by his experience on the Hilltop and the team’s fight until the end.

“My overall experience on campus is always good. It’s a very nice campus,” Williams said. “They were still fighting (until the end) and you could tell how hard they wanted it with those two shots in the end zone.”

The 6-foot-and-a-half, 168-pound two-star prospect even had the chance to speak with the coaching staff, all of who appreciated Williams making the trip.

“Even after the game and after a loss the coaches still want to see you, talk to you, let you talk to a couple of players, and tell you they need you there.” Williams said.

Williams has developed a close relationship with most of the coaches on the SMU staff, and it’s never just one of them reaching out to him.

“Every time a game comes around they’re reaching out to me on twitter,” the senior cornerback said. “Me and the staff are very close and they’re close with my mom and family.”

But head coach Chad Morris, in particular, had a message he wanted to get across to Williams after the game.

“He said don’t give up on us. We’re going to get this thing turned around and we need guys like you to help us turn it around,” Williams recalled.

Williams left campus impressed by what he saw, but he’s in no rush to make a decision any time soon.

Before all is said and done, he plans on taking official visits to Indiana and Illinois, and would entertain other unofficial visits if it were a Texas school.

Texas State, along with SMU, Indiana and Illinois are the schools that contact Williams consistently, and the defensive back says they’re all even at this point.

But in the end, his relationship with the staffs recruiting him will play into his decision.

“(It’s important) just how much love the coaches are showing me,” Williams explained. “There have been schools who have offered me and haven’t talked to me since, and that plays a big part.”

Early playing time and finding a place that’s not only comfortable for him, but also for his family, are two other key factors Williams will consider.

The South Grand Prairie product hopes to make a decision before signing day, but after the end of his senior season.

McDowell still committed to SMU, Larry Brown

By: Patrick Engel

SMU’s NCAA penalties put recruiting plans up in the air, but the Mustangs’ lone 2016 commit won’t be going anywhere. Oklahoma City Southeast point guard Dashawn McDowell has stood by his pledge to SMU since the ruling was handed down.

“I’ve talked to the coaches, both of them have called my mom and explained everything,” McDowell said. “It’s no worries, I’m still 100 percent. I’m still going.”

McDowell said he didn’t know the full details of the NCAA investigation, so the punishment took him by surprise.

“I was shocked,” he said. “Actually, a coach from Kansas State texted me immediately, so that’s how I found out.”

Kansas State and California have reached out to McDowell, but just to say they are still interested in him. SMU hasn’t been to visit him since his official visit in early September, but that’s because he hadn’t been working out due to an ankle injury. But he’s out of his walking boot now and said the coaches will be up to see him soon.

The 6-foot-5, 180-pound McDowell said he plans to sign in the early signing period, but still needs to talk it over with his mother. He’s also planning to get to an early-season game at Moody, as well as the home game vs. Connecticut on March 3.

Williams loved SMU atmosphere

By: Andrew Hattersley

2016 Sapulpa HS (Tex.) athlete and SMU commit Dae Williams took a trip to the Hilltop this past weekend to take in homecoming and loved the atmosphere despite the loss.

“I loved the whole experience, the whole homecoming feel, it felt like I was at home and the fans were really great to me,” Williams said, “It would have really benefitted to see a win but I still saw a lot of potential in the team and the way they looked.”

One of the most impressive parts of the visit for Williams was SMU fighting back late in the game, as he said it just shows everything the staff has been saying to them is actually being implemented.

“Whenever they were falling down in the game, we tended not to give up anymore, last year we almost seemed to stop playing with no sense of urgency but right now they just keep on playing no matter how bad it is,” Williams said.

After the game, the staff stopped by to talk to Williams and reiterated the impact he is going to make next season and how they are going to continue to fix this program.

“I talked to them after the game, I got a chance to chat with them,” Williams said, “They just told me that they are going to get this fixed and that they really need the freshman to come in and help them make things happen over there.”

The 6-2, 227-pound running back and safety has not enjoyed the best start to the season with his team, but nonetheless has enjoyed having the pressure of a college decision looming taken off his shoulders.

“I think we’re coming closer as a group with the type of adversity that we’ve faced, I think play wise we are still in the same spot we were at the beginning of the year, we haven’t really peaked this year,” Williams said, “It’s a great feeling, I personally didn’t think it made that much of a difference when I first made my decision but to be able to focus on winning and being able to do something that has never been done at Sapulpa is great, because I can just focus one hundred percent of my time on my team and not really worry about who’s there and trying to impress them.”

Despite being at peace right now, Williams has still been hearing from Tulsa, Louisville, New Mexico, Army and plans to take visits to those schools. For right now, Williams maintains that he is definitely still solid to SMU, but that there is still a long time to go before signing day.

“I’m still really solid to SMU but until signing day of course I’m going to keep my options open but I’m really committed to SMU,” Williams said, “I’m ready for signing day.”

After his football season is done, the Sapulpa star plans to take his official visits to all five schools, although he hasn’t decided which ones yet SMU will be one of the last ones he takes.

“I plan on visiting probably Army, Navy and then Louisville but I will definitely visit SMU later in the fall probably after football season but I plan on taking all of my official visits,” Williams said, “I want to get the full experience so I will probably take an official visit to SMU because I want to get that three day experience and get to enjoy it because I won’t get this opportunity again.”

Coming into the season, it was expected that Williams was going to play both sides of the ball but has been spending most of his time on offense this year so far but that is expected to change at some point.

“Earlier in the season, I was playing a little bit of safety but right now I’m full time offense,” Williams said, “I probably will end up having to play some safety because we don’t have that much depth on the defensive side so I can see myself playing some more defense later on in the defense.

2017 forward sees change in course

By: Matt Sanders

Power forward Khiry Shelton was on track for a solid high school career at Episcopal (Tex.), but a family emergency has caused him to move.

“Around a month ago I moved to the Columbus, Ohio area,” Shelton said. “It’s been a fortunate move, though. I have gotten to see some really important people.”

So far, Shelton has had a nice adjustment, both on and off the court.

“I obviously did not intend on moving here, but I like it,” he said. “The power and speed of the game is different.”

Although Shelton was a good player in Texas, he feels like he stands out more in Ohio.

“I’m one of the strongest post guys here, but I wasn’t in the top 20 in Texas.”

With the move, Shelton has changed his recruiting process, and he is getting more attention from colleges.

“I was a shadow at my school in Texas. Now, I’m in a way smaller market in Ohio. I’m a main focus here.”

Ever since he was a kid, Shelton has dreamed of playing at Ohio State. Although he has not heard from them yet, he already has one offer.

“Cleveland State is the only school to reach out to me since the move, and I am their number one prospect for 2017,” he said.

If Shelton remained in Texas, his number one choice would have been Texas Tech. There was mutual interest between him and SMU, but the Mustangs’ current situation made Shelton hesitant about going to the Hilltop.

“I took a visit and loved Coach Brown, but the whole situation was stressing me out. I did have a fall off after a while,” he said.

Because Shelton moved only halfway through his high school career, he feels he can start from scratch when it comes to recruiting.

“Now that I’m in a new environment, it’s kind of a restart,” he said. “I want to come in and make people know who I am. I want to be the focus on the scouting report.”

Shelton is one of the oldest member on his new team, and he feels that he needs to be a leader, even though he is new.

“All the better players are younger than me. I have the most experience; I have to drop a lot of knowledge,” he said.

Local forward taking recruiting slowly

By: Matt Sanders

Arlington Martin forward Landon Badgley is still at the beginning of his recruiting process, but he knows he needs to get bigger if he wants to get more attention.

“I want to stock up as a player and improve my skills,” Badgley said. “I want to get to a college size.”

Along with improving his size, Badgley wants to help his team make a playoff run this year.

“Our goal this year is to be more of a team,” he said. “I want to get to the state playoffs. We want to go to district and win district.”

It has been a while since Badgley has been in touch with SMU, but there is still interest with the program.

“I’ve talked with coach Turner, and he will come watch practice,” he said. “I have no initial plans to visit but I would like to.”

Although Badgley currently holds no offers, he is talking with schools like Stanford, UCLA, TCU, Wake Forest and Creighton.

When it comes to deciding where he wants to go to college, Badgley is looking at schools that have the most to offer off the court.

“I’m a student-athlete so I look into my grades,” he said. “Even if I don’t make it to the league I want to have something on my resume.”

Badgley is aware of the current situation the SMU basketball program is in, but it does not completely SMU from his list of schools.

“I feel like every college has had some sort of situation.”

However, what does make him interested in being a Mustang are factors that others school aren’t capable of having.

“Larry Brown is a huge factor and they have good academics,” he said. “Also, it is close to home.”

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