Billy: Claude Mathis
Mathis' list of schools include Cedar Hill, Mansfield Timberview, Waco La Vega and Waco Midway. Those are some key battle ground high schools that SMU has to have in their corner I believe. Mathis helped land SMU's first Cedar Hill signees in recent memory according to coach Joey McGuire and Mathis was a large part in keeping Brandon Benson and Michael Badejo focused on SMU. Not to mention, Mathis' relationship with Aphonso Thomas and Jordan Carmouche won the day for both players as well. Mathis' imprint is all over this class and he certainly has help with the rest of the staff, but Mathis did a fantastic job in his first full year on the trail. If SMU lands Audie Omotosho, Justin Stepp would get special recognition too.
Scott: Jess Loepp
Starting off with defensive tackle Ken McLaurin, defensive backs coach Jess Loepp has done an incredible job on the recruiting trail. Not only has he won over recruits from his area, but also his position. By no means is it easy to find connections with high school teenagers when you’re an adult, but from talking to members of SMU’s 2016 class, Loepp did a great job of becoming friends with his recruits and keeping it real with them when it was all said and done.
Demo: Jess Loepp
Jess Loepp was the name I heard the most when talking to recruits. Not a single athlete has ever had anything bad to say about the SMU staff, but I always seemed to get more about Loepp than when it was another. It felt like he was making a bigger impression on kids and made them feel comfortable and taken care of. I think that’s huge in establishing trust with recruits and ultimately convincing them to come to SMU.
Hatts: Jess Loepp
This is a name that keeps popping up more and more on the recruiting trail for the family message he has been preaching to players. Coach Loepp has done a great job getting out in the community and building a strong bond with both high school players around the state, as well as, coaches who are starting to take notice of the job he and the rest of the staff are doing. As a coordinator or coach, it is a little easier for those coaches to earn the respect they have, but for coach Loepp to have a hand in landing guys like Mikial Onu, Eric Sutton, Michael Clark and others, this is a job well done by a coach that is going to continue making a name for himself in the recruiting circuit.
Patrick: Van Malone
SMU needed defensive backs. Malone wanted defensive backs. He signed five. Of all the defensive deficiencies, the secondary stood out the most. SMU needed an infusion of youth and talent. Malone was a big factor in signing a position-versatile group with a good variety of skill sets. He also helped SMU get going in the Houston area, where he is originally from. For a team that wants to recruit the entire state, getting a foothold in Houston is crucial, especially with the momentum the Houston Cougars are building. Malone gets my vote as coach MVP for addressing a positional need and making progress in an important area of the state.