The Pony Stampede Hilltop Review 11/6

Come inside for the Pony Stampede Hilltop Review with the latest SMU recruiting news!

SMU commit recaps Tulsa visit

By: Andrew Hattersley

It was another fun afternoon for 2016 SMU commit and Plano offensive lineman Kadarius Smith who got to take in yet another SMU this past Saturday. 

“It was a great atmosphere you know, we had our little section of commits, made them feel like they were at home, other than the loss it was a great time and I love the atmosphere and how game day is at SMU,” Smith said. 

Smith also enjoyed getting to spend some more time with a number of the SMU commits who were at the game and see some of his best friends. 

“We basically talk every day so we had been talking the day before so it’s a really tight bond chemistry wise with us of the commits to SMU,” Smith said. 

The 6-2, 270-pound lineman also believes in SMU’s future despite admitting how far SMU has had to come already and still has to go. 

“Everything could use an improvement, even if you are number one, even when you’re number one you’ve still got to keep pushing” Smith said, “So coach Morris is trying to rebuild this trash that he’s found and turn it into a giant treasure so its definitely going to take some time and us 2016 commits believe that we have complete faith that we can turn this program around.”

This opportunity to grow the program is one that Smith embraces however, he just can’t get on campus soon enough. 

“There’s a lot opportunity and a lot of open ways for us to be able to contribute to this team and have success in the next coming years and it’s really not a one year thing it’s a process and we certainly believe in the process,” Smith said, “I cant wait to be a part of it, I was just talking to coach Loepp about that today, he was letting me know that I’m a program changer and how he couldn’t wait to really help me and I just said I couldn’t wait to get up there myself.”

One player Smith is especially excited to play with and learn from is Courtland Sutton, who is having a breakout year in his first full season with the Mustangs. 

“That dude is a boss, he’s a playmaker and when they call his number he’s ready and that’s completely what I see from him when I get there and players like that don’t just come all the time, you have to build them, “ Smith said, “Think he’s only a redshirt sophomore so he’s going to be there for like the next three years and I can’t wait to learn from his work ethic and be around that type of atmosphere.”

All around, Smith still has high hopes for this team and has been extremely impressed throughout the last couple of months with the resolve of the current coaching staff. 

“They let me know that you can’t give up on this team, they said they’re committed to something just like I’m committed to them, the staff knows to turn this into a bowl team they can’t just give up on this team, it’s just getting started.”

2018 forward visits SMU for practice

By: Patrick Engel

2018 Lancaster forward Grayson Carter has a handful of suitors despite playing only one season at the high school level. SMU offered him in August and he visited for the first time on Monday for a practice.

“Coach (Larry) Brown is definitely a mastermind in the game of basketball. I like the players and how they’re one big family. They push each other in practice to go 100 percent all the time,” Carter said. “As soon as (coach Brown) walks in the gym, he expects that everybody is putting in their full effort the whole time. Not only the players, but the coaches too.”

Carter only stayed for practice and met briefly with assistant coach K.T. Turner, since he had to go to one of his own practices. But watching SMU helped him understand how he’d fit in the scheme.

“When you watch them practice, it doesn’t look like they have a real five-man,” Carter said. “They have more of a stretch game and a lot of versatile bigs.”

The 6-foot-7, 210-pound Carter is a hybrid forward with a solid all-around game, and he thinks his skill set translates into SMU’s offense pretty well. He described himself as a great scorer who can score off the dribble, post up and shoot. He also had good handles and can bring the ball up the court.

Houston, Iowa State, SMU, Texas A&M and Texas have offered Carter so far.

2017 athlete could see himself at SMU

Greg Powers |

By: Scott Sanford

After committing to his “dream school” in March, some thought 2017 Bremond (Tex.) athlete Roshauud Paul's verbal to TCU signaled the end of his recruitment.

But just five months later, Paul reopened his recruitment, saying the connection that was once there, was no more. 

Throughout this whole process, the SMU coaching staff remained in contact with Paul, and the Mustangs got a visit from the three-star gunslinger this past weekend.

Paul, who holds offers from SMU, TCU and Tulsa, had a chance to take in the atmosphere of Ford Stadium, and he even got a taste of what it might be like to suit up for SMU one day.

“It was great I really love it there,” Paul said.  I got to see the meeting room and they actually let me go on the field during warm ups.  Coach Craddock even asked me if I wanted to throw a couple balls.”

Paul has a good bond with Craddock, but his main recruiters are the ones staying on constant contact with him.

“I communicate with Coach Stepp a lot, but my main guy is Coach Mathis.  I talk to him almost everyday,” Paul said.  “I enjoy talking to those guys.  They’re very good role models.”

Despite the Mustangs’ loss against Tulsa, and overall 1-7 record, Paul sees the strides this SMU team is making.

“They seem to be either within reach or ahead when they go into the half.  They just can’t capitalize in the second half,” Paul said.  

Paul says he could see himself fitting well in this new SMU offense.

“They run an offense very similar to TCU’s,” Paul explained.  “They like to spread the ball out to different players.  They just need some playmakers.”

The junior Central Texas quarterback now plans to wait until signing day of his senior year to make a commitment, saying that he doesn’t want to rush into any decision.

Barton loves SMU visit, wants class to finish strong

Gabe Brooks / SCOUT

By: Billy Embody

2016 SMU offensive line commit Harrison Barton made the trip over to SMU for the Tulsa game this past week and of course, the Hilltop impressed.

“It was a great visit. Obviously the outcome wasn’t what we’d like, but it was awesome to get over and watch the game and talk with coach Fry, coach Morris and coach Craddock after the game,” Barton said.

“They had just had a tough loss, but they thoroughly expressed that they needed me there and that we’re going to put in some work so I can help out when I get there.”

Barton and his family arrived a little late to the game after his own game at All Saints, but in an earlier visit he remembered the Boulevard experience and going through all of the pregame activities.

As for on the field, Barton 

“As far as what coach Morris is doing with the offense, I’ve been really impressed. I love his playcalling. I feel like it will really fit me as a linemen, but there’s work to be done by everyone — not just the offensive line. Hopefully, I’ll be able to help with that and I think coach Fry is doing an awesome job with the line.”

Barton will make the switch to center and after a couple days off

“I’m going to be working on getting a lot bigger in the weight room and developing my agility and footwork while snapping the ball and coming off the ball when I snap it.”

The last two weeks of the season, Barton faced Michael Williams and Marvin Wilson, two of the top defensive tackles in the state so he moved inside to work against them.

“I knew jumping inside would be a big adjustment, but the last two weeks of the season I actually played guard because we went up against two of the best nose tackles in the state so I was lined up against those guys,” Barton said. “Going into center is an even bigger jump, but I’m excited about that. As a team, Williams got a bit better than us, but Wilson we held to no tackles for loss and no sacks so that’s big. He wasn’t really making big plays.”

Barton plans to official visit when the rest of the commits visit SMU on January 27. 

“We’re all keeping up in the group chat with how our seasons are going and what’s going on with our lives. We’ve already developed a bond before we stepped on the field together.”

Audie Omotosho and Aphonso Thomas are two of the top targets not only for the staff, but for StangGang16 too. Barton thinks they’re in a good spot.

“We’re all really with the class we have. I think Aphonso — I don’t want to jinx us — was thinking really hard about flipping. You know Audie has some big time schools coming after him, but hopefully he trusts coach Morris.” 

Barton and Houston Christian finished their season 5-5 after being hit hard by the injury bug most of the season.

2017 defensive back recaps SMU visit

By: Andrew Hattersley

SMU’s focus has largely been in the state of Texas the past year, but they welcomed a new target from the state of Oklahoma in 2017 Southmoore HS (Ok.) corner back Quian Williams to the Hilltop this past weekend. 

“I really enjoyed the game, I really liked how they competed and rotated all their players in that was pretty cool to see because when they do that there’s not really a drop-off with the talent and production and I really liked that,” Williams said, “They played pretty well.”

The Mustangs have not been shy about playing some youngers players this season as well, and that did not go unnoticed by Williams either. 

“I noticed that whenever I saw Courtland Sutton, he was like a redshirt freshman and then number 13 was like a sophomore so I really liked that, and the younger players being able to play in their freshman or sophomore seasons and get experience, I really like that,” Williams said. 

The 6-0, 175-pound defensive back also got the chance to talk with coach Loepp on multiple occasions about his own season and the team right now. 

“I talked to coach Loepp actually before the game, he was walking around and then I talked to him when they were warming up too and I talked to the tight ends coach and the receiving coach and all of that, I liked it,” Loepp said, “As far as the school, they were telling me and I really need to go around and look but from what I saw and from what they were telling me it’s a pretty nice campus, it’s something I could really get used to, and it’s one of those schools I think I would really like it there, as far,” Williams said. 

Williams has a very good relationship with coach Loepp and talks to him almost every day about how his season is going and what he needs to focus on, as well as, reassuring him if he works hard in the future, good things will come. 

“I talk to coach Loepp a lot and we just talk about how I’ve been playing and stuff, he says I’ve been playing well and to just keep on working and getting better and good things will happen for me,” Williams said, “They haven’t mentioned much about offers, they’ve probably been talking to my coaches about that but I haven’t heard anything about that yet, but coach Loepp wanted to see me keep getting better and he wants to get me up there again soon so hopefully I’ll go up there again soon and something good will come from that.”

Williams does not have any offers yet but noted he’s interested in Texas Tech, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon, as well as, SMU. The talented defensive back will also be back on campus soon to get a better sense of the school. 

“The campus some, and then just kind of see how the team, the players and the coaches function and then seeing the locker room, which I think is pretty cool, just getting closer to the game at the next level,” Williams said. 

From what he did see on his visit this past weekend however, Williams is extremely impressed with the facilities already. 

“I looked at the weight rooms and the locker rooms for a little bit and then I had to leave, I really liked it, the weight room was pretty nice, I haven’t seen any other weight room like that.” 

2017 wide receiver gets visit from Stepp

By: Billy Embody

2017 Paris wide receiver Jalon Pipkins has already been keeping up with SMU receivers coach Justin Stepp and offensive coordinator Joe Craddock, who have been impressed with Pipkins.

“Coach Stepp said I was a game changer and he likes what he sees so far,” the 6-2, 165-pound receiver said. “He told me to come hang out with him and get to know him a little more.”

Pipkins doesn’t have an offer from SMU yet, but has been offered by Rice, Ohio and Sam Houston State, but he likes what SMU is about so far.

“They have a great coaching staff and I like how they coach their students with a lot of passion and care and they want their students to do good and work hard,” Pipkins said.

Pipkins was watched by Stepp last week and Pipkins might be a part of the new era Chad Morris’ staff is trying to get going.

“I know they’re starting something new and they came from Clemson. They’re trying to start a new era and come up,” Pipkins said. 

Stepp and Pipkins keep up from time to time, but Pipkins admits he’s always busy with football and basketball, something he’ll have to choose between.

“I want to be great in both, but when it’s time to choose, it’s going to be tough. Sam Houston, Oral Roberts and UTA have offered in basketball.”

On the field, Pipkins displays solid route-running and big play ability. 

“I’m a good route-runner. I can catch anything you throw to me. Get it somewhere close and I’ll catch it. If you need first downs, you can count on me to get it,” Pipkins.

Paris has counted on Pipkins a lot this season. The junior has already tied the school for record for touchdowns with 11 this season.

“I put in work during the summer with my whole team. This next year, I can’t get down on myself when things aren’t going well and get more consistent with catching balls.

Pipkins has only visited Oklahoma State so far and has his eye on going out of Texas as of right now for school. OSU has shown Pipkins “a lot of love,” so far.

2018 tight end takes in SMU visit

By: Billy Embody

2018 Westmoore (Okla.) tight end James Palmer got to visit SMU with some teammates for the Tulsa loss, but came away impressed.

“It was pretty good. The coaches are really nice and they looked pretty good. Everybody was really kind and welcoming,” Palmer said.

Jess Loepp set up the visit with Palmer after Palmer called him a couple times. Palmer says a relationship is already building.

“We actually met last year and kept contact, but that’s how we got the visit set up,” Palmer said. 

Palmer did get to talk with Donnie McElveen, who would be his position coach at SMU.

“I talked to the tight ends coach, coach McElveen. Talked to him after the warmups. He was a really nice guy. He DMed me after the game and told me it was nice to meet me. He was really good guy.”

The 6-3, 210-pound tight end was impressed with the amount of freshmen SMU rolled out in significant playing time.

“I liked how they were comfortable with playing their younger guys. That was really a pinpoint for me. They really trusted their freshmen to produce for them and they’ve done a lot. I can see myself doing something like that in the future.”

Chad Morris got to spend a few minutes as well with Palmer.

“He’s really nice. He seems like a nice guy and I really like his character. I noticed that even though they were 1-6, he was really passionate about their future and what’s in store for them and how he wanted to do what’s best for the program and his players. He wasn’t necessarily just talking about football.”

Palmer saw the field, film room and other parts of the facilities and was impressed with the campus.

“The places surrounding it were really nice. I liked that about it,” Palmer said.

Palmer hasn’t taken other visits, but is just focused on doing what he loves and that’s playing football. 

Stanford, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Tulsa and others are showing interest in Palmer so far.

Palmer has stepped into a bigger role with older players graduating and he’s been pleased with it so far.

“I’m really pleased with my production on the team. It hasn’t been overall something I’ve been proud of, but I’ve liked how I’ve produced for our team.”

Palmer averages 14.9 yards per catch and has over 400 yards receiving on the season during their 4-5 season so far.

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