The Pony Stampede Hilltop Review 2/19

Come inside another packed Pony Stampede Hilltop Review for the latest SMU recruiting news.

Scout 4-star WR picks up SMU offer

By: Billy Embody

2017 Desoto wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. picked up an offer from SMU this week and got the news from his coaches at Desoto before calling SMU head coach Chad Morris and running backs coach Claude Mathis.

"We were just talking about how they wanted me to come up there and visit to see how it is. Basically, that's what we talked about," Shenault, Jr. said. "He (Mathis) wanted to see how I was doing. We (Morris and him) talked about how he's going to get SMU together and I'd be able to get that to start quicker."

The Scout 4-star wide receiver will visit SMU tomorrow and hopes to find out more about the program and the staff. Shenault, Jr. doesn't know much about SMU.

"I know they got good academics and they got that going."

Location isn't a factor for him either, but the coaches are the biggest factor for Shenault, Jr. Having the former Desoto coach at SMU is a big deal for him.

Oklahoma State and Colorado are two schools coming after him the hardest right now, but he's also visited Texas A&M, Baylor and Oklahoma so far.

On the field, does everything you could want out of a receiver, but isn't perfect either.

"I'm a go-getter. I'm good running routes, I'm good after the catch, and I can block," Shenault, Jr. said. "Getting separation and release has to get better though."

Local offensive lineman picks up SMU offer

By: Andrew Hattersley

The offers have been coming in fast and furiously for 2017 Desoto (HS) offensive lineman Xavier Newman who picked up his eighth offer in the past three weeks from SMU this past week.

“I was just very excited, it’s a great school a very highly academic school and they are on the path to rebuilding their program,” Newman said.

Newman hasn’t been talking to the coaching staff much but has met them a couple times before at his high school.

“I haven’t been talking to them much but I’ve had some contact with them,” Newman said.

The 6-4, 285-pound lineman did not make it up for SMU’s first junior day but he did attend SMU’s spring game last year.

“No but I actually went to their spring game last season,” Newman said, “I think they had a lot of good players, they had some talent.”

While it is doubtful that Newman will be at one of SMU’s junior days he will be setting up a visit to SMU soon.

“Not the junior day but we will be setting up a visit soon,” Newman said.

Despite not making it up to SMU recently, Newman is very familiar with the school and some of the factors that make the school appealing.

“I think it is a very good school, right in the middle of Dallas so there’s a lot of things to do, the campus is great, there’s a lot of good stuff,” Newman said.

The Desoto lineman did keep an eye on SMU’s recruiting class and while it was a very solid class in his mind they still have more work to do.

“I think they did good, but they are still rebuilding and some of the players they have brought in will definitely get them going in the right direction,” Newman said.

Newman currently has offers from Colorado, Colorado State, Kansas State, UNT, Tulsa, and Missouri earlier this week.

2016 point guard getting SMU interest

By: Andrew Hattersley

As his senior season begins to wind down 2016 Shawnee Mission North HS (Tex.) point guard Michael Weathers has seen his relationship with SMU begin to blossom. 

“They said they love my speed, quickness and athleticism and how I’m able to get to the rim and everything,” Weathers said, “They said that they love that I’m a creative distributor, they haven’t said much about them team they just tell me to watch a lot of their games and catch a lot of their games on TV.” 

Weathers has developed a strong relationship with coach Jankovich and coach Turner who have been to virtually every one of his games this season. 

“They have been to almost every single one of my games, I was originally supposed to take a visit down there last weekend to catch them versus Gonzaga but we had to reschedule that so I’m going down there to watch them play UCONN,” Weathers said, “I stay in contact with coach Jankovich and coach Turner a lot.” 

The 6-3, 165-pound point guard will be paying close attention to the crowd when he comes for SMU’s senior night matchup and also the way the coaches interact with the players. 

“The atmosphere, the team chemistry and everything, how the coaches talk to their players,” Weathers said. 

Although Weathers does not have an offer yet from SMU, that offer could be on the way in the coming weeks.  

“When I go down for my visit they said they might offer me down there,” Weathers said. 

Weathers currently has offers from Arkansas Little Rock, Southern Utah, Eastern Illinois, U-Mass Lowell but fully acknowledged it would mean a lot to receive one from a school like SMU. 

“That would mean a lot, that would be a huge accomplishment for me to know that I could play at that level, that’s just a huge compliment,” Weathers said.

When looking at how he would visit in at SMU, Weathers has also paid close attention to the development of Nic Moore and coach Brown’s history with point guards.

“I think how they developed Nic Moore’s game is definitely how they could develop mine and possibly make me play at even higher heights at college” Weathers said, “I think they’ve done a very good job with him.” 

Other than coming down to SMU, Weathers only has one other visit planned and then plans to see how things come along in the coming months. 

“Well I’m taking a visit to Nebraska this Saturday, then I’m just going to kind of see how things come along, I most likely won’t make a decision until May.” 

2018 quarterback recaps SMU visit

By: Matt Sanders

Eaton quarterback and SMU recruit Riley Taylor was invited to SMU’s recent junior day, and enjoyed his time on the Hilltop.

“The visit was great,” Taylor said. “They showed us around the facilities. I didn’t get to talk to coach Craddock as much as I wanted, but I was able to introduce myself.”

Along with the campus, Taylor likes what SMU has to offer on the academic side, and he wouldn’t be the first in his family to attend the school.

“My dad got his second degree there,” he said. “I want to do business and wind up on Wall Street.”

College is still over two years away for Taylor, so he is focusing on high school, especially with his team getting a tougher schedule this upcoming year.

“We went 9-1 last year. We played a JV schedule and will play a varsity schedule next year,” he said. “We have high expectations.”

With the change in scheduling, Taylor views it as an opportunity to step up in a leadership role.

“I want to be a leader and for people to look up to me,” he said. “From day one of the offseason, we said we would make the playoffs, and I want to lead them deep into the playoffs.”

When it comes to off the field goals, Taylor believes his team will be some of the strongest students in school.

“As a program, I hope we can have a 100 percent passing rage. I want nobody to do anything dumb and get in trouble, and I want to help out with the community and do the right thing.”

Taylor is already hearing from SMU, UT and OU and he plans to get his name out there more over the summer.

“I’m going to a lot of camps this summer,” he said.

Taylor does not have any offers as a sophomore, but he anticipates the scholarships will make him work harder.

“I’m going to want it more once I get an offer,” the 2018 quarterback said. “Once I get that first one, I want every college. I want to prove to those colleges why they want me.”

Taylor notices how active the SMU coaching staff is on social media, and he believes it’s a great way to connect with recruits.

“I think it’s awesome to be on social media. They are going out of their way to talk to you. Once they want you, they want you.”

Once Taylor graduates from high school in two years, he believes SMU will be one of the best teams in the country.

“I feel like they will be competing for a college football playoff spot by the time I graduate from high school,” he said. “The coaches are changing the culture. It’s not going to change right away, but they’re believing they’ll be a top team in a couple of years.”

2017 linebacker talks SMU offer

By: Patrick Engel

After three seasons of high school football, 2017 Terrell (Texas) linebacker Elijah McQueen landed his first offer on Monday, and it came from SMU when he called defensive backs coach Jess Loepp and Loepp offered.

“I feel like I worked hard enough, and I’m feeling blessed by it,” McQueen said. “Coach Loepp told me at first, but then I ended up talking to all the coaches. I talked to coach (Chad) Morris, coach (Justin) Stepp, coach (Van) Malone, coach (Archie) McDaniel and most of the defensive coaches.”

McQueen lives close to Morris’ hometown of Edgewood, Texas, and the two bonded over their close hometowns. Morris even suggested he show McQueen ins and outs of Edgewood. But the SMU coaches’ family feel on his visit for junior day last month impressed him the most.

“They made it feel like home,” McQueen said. “They let you know how everything was and didn’t sugarcoat anything. They let you know straightforward how it’s going to be at SMU.”

Academics are a factor for McQueen too, and he liked SMU’s focus on academics, especially with student-athletes.

“Each one of their athletes has a 100 passing classes track record,” McQueen said. “That’s one thing I like about schools, that all of their athletes, they do pass their classes.”

No other schools have offered McQueen since SMU did, and no other ones are showing significant interest as of now.

The 5-foot-11, 180-pound McQueen described his game as instinctive.

“I’m more instinctive instead of going out there and playing. I go off what I see,” he said.


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