The Hilltop Review 3/25

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

2017 DeSoto OL talks SMU visit, recruitment

By: Patrick Engel

DeSoto has been a frequent recruiting target for SMU, with former Eagles coach Claude Mathis on staff. After not getting too involved with any DeSoto players in 2017, SMU has offers out to three of the school’s offensive linemen. One of them, Xavier Newman, took in one of SMU’s spring practices last week and liked the culture he experienced.

“I liked their coaching staff and how they have that family type of feel,” Newman said. “All the coaches know each other and their families are cool with each other.”

After watching practice, Newman got a look at SMU’s weight room, locker room and got a look at SMU’s plans for new uniform designs and facilities. He also spent time with Mathis and offensive line coach Dustin Fry. Newman and Mathis have known each other for a long time, going back to Mathis’ days coaching high school. Mathis’ and the rest of the staff’s enthusiasm and energy impressed him.

“They get after it. If someone messes up, they’ll get on him, but they have fun,” Newman. “I could tell the energy that feeds off them to the players.”

SMU offered Newman in mid-February, one of the first handful of teams to offer him. Since then, the three-star guard has picked up 11 more offers, the most recent ones coming from Texas A&M and Arizona State.

“A&M sticks out. (Offensive line) coach (Jim) Turner, he really impressed me. He’s been through the league and put guys in the NFL,” Newman said. “I would say A&M is my top school right now.”

In addition to SMU, Newman recently visited Missouri. He is planning to visit Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Baylor soon, and mentioned Oklahoma and Baylor as teams he feels could offer soon. He said the A&M visit will be on either April 1 or April 9 to go watch a spring practice.

“There would be a possibility of committing (on the visit), unless I get some more offers,” Newman said. “But right now I’m just going to play out the process. But if it’s somewhere I like and somewhere I feel comfortable with, I wouldn’t mind committing.” 

The 6-foot-3, 285-pound Newman said he would like to be committed before spring football, which starts April 26 for DeSoto. But he also acknowledged he is comfortable pushing a decision back into the summer if he feels like he needs to.

Plano East DT planning spring visits
Gabe Brooks / SCOUT

By: Billy Embody

2017 Plano East defensive tackle Deiontae Watts has been hearing from plenty of Power Five programs, but also from SMU, who's in the mix for Watts' signature early.

"Right now, SMU, OU, Baylor and Texas A&M. Those are the ones that are really coming after me right now," Watts said. 

SMU is putting a full-court press on the defensive tackle so far.

"All of them. Coach Loepp, Coach Wyatt, Coach Morris. They're telling me that they love how I play and they just want to get to their school and better their program. They say I fit at their program."

Jess Loepp and Buddy Wyatt are the coaches Watts says he's closest with and the relationship continues to get stronger.

"We just have a really good relationship and we're tight. We can just talk."

Oklahoma is getting a visit from Watts this weekend and while Watts doesn't have a visit set to SMU, he says he's been "plenty of times" and is impressed with the local school.

"I like SMU because it's a really nice area and it's not too far from home. I like how it's family."

At The Opening in Dallas, Watts said it'd be his intangibles that would show up the most on the field including hard work.

"Just hard work in general. Not giving up on anything we're doing and just giving it all I got. This is just another opportunity for me to get better and better myself for college."

Alabama is beginning to show interest in Watts, who will wait until National Signing Day he says to commit.

2018 wide receiver visits SMU for practice

By: Patrick Engel

SMU is pushing its #TexasTough slogan, but that hasn’t stopped it from recruiting other states completely. The Mustangs offered one of Oklahoma’s top underclassmen, 2018 Jones (Okla.) wide receiver Sean Shaw, in February. He came to visit SMU’s first spring practice of the 2016 season on March 15 while on spring break.

“I liked the wide receiver coach (Justin Stepp). He was really involved into it,” Shaw said. “They all coach kind of like my high school coach, David Martin. I really like him, he’s really involved into it and he likes to challenge us a lot. I’ve seen the same with SMU.”

Shaw didn’t get to tour the rest of the campus, but he saw the weight room, locker room, stadium and uniforms. He liked the weight room a lot, but couldn’t help but notice a particular piece of therapy equipment.

“They talked about how they’re one of the only schools to have one of those fancy ice machines (cryosauna),” Shaw said.

The 6-foot-5, 200-pound Shaw’s only recent visit was SMU, but said he will be camping at the Blue-Grey Football combine in Arlington, Texas later this spring. He’s also planning to go to the Elite 11 camp with his teammate and quarterback, Brandon George, who also visited SMU with him. Over the summer, he already knows he wants to go camp at Oklahoma, the school he grew up rooting for.

“I’d say OU is a dream offer, but I’m hoping for everyone,” Shaw said.

SMU and Kansas are Shaw’s only two offers right now, but he is hearing from Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU and Tulsa.

Oklahoma linebacker visits SMU, expects offer

By: Demetrio Teniente

He may not hold an offer from SMU quite yet, but 2017 Southmoore (Okla.) linebacker Gervarrius Owens is sure that will change soon. 

He visited the Hilltop back in February and has since picked up two more offers—bringing his early total to five. 

The 6-1, 190 pound wide out currently holds offers from Arkansas State, Cincinnati, Idaho, North Texas, and Ohio. 

After visiting SMU, Owens is convinced and offer isn’t too far away. 

“SMU is showing a lot of interest in me,” he said. “Coach Jess  Loepp had been talking to me for a while. He got us down there and showed us the facilities and all that. We looked at all the different rooms, the weight room, and the equipment and also met with some of the coaches. It was a god experience.”

Owens says that so far Loepp has been the one contacting him about SMU. From what Owen’s can tell so far, Loepp is a pretty cool guy.  

“He talks a lot about his kids, his wife, and what he and the rest of the coaches are trying to do build at SMU,” Owens said.” Coach Loepp is a good guy. He’s keeps in touch with me—even came to my school and met with me and my coaches.” 

Naturally one of Owens’ biggest takeaways from his visit was the SMU campus. 

“It is in Texas and a nice area—plus it’s also close to home,” he said. 

While Moore Oklahoma isn’t necessarily around the corner it isn’t on the other side of the country either. 

Owens is supposed to  visit Tulsa on March 26, and  says he is planning on making a few more visits and might even consider revisiting SMU in the future.

Local athlete talks SMU offer after visit

By: Andrew Hattersley

2017 Kimball HS (Tex.) athlete Devodrick Johnson got an early start Wednesday morning after staff asked him if he’d be able to come down to SMU for the day for a visit, it turns out the trip was well worth it for himself and his mother when he picked up his first offer after the visit. 

“It’s truly a blessing, when they told me to come down there, they told me to come down there it wasn’t out of the ordinary just I woke up early today because I knew it was something,” Johnson said, “They said do I think I will be able to make it down there, so I went down there just with my mom but it was a good experience, SMU is close to home, I love the coaches down there it’s one big family down there, all the players I just love the way they operate down there it’s a good feeling to get down there.” 

The 6-3, 215-pound athlete was thrilled to receive his first offer but knows that he’s got more work to do. 

“It really feels good, but it’s just step one I got to stay humble and keep rocking it, all this is telling me is that my hard work is paying off and that doesn’t mean I got to stop, I got to keep pushing,” Johnson said. 

This was the second visit for the Kimball product and he loved having the opportunity this time to sit down with the coaching staff and learn more about them and the school.  

“Well the first time I visited it was with my class, I enjoyed it we got a tour around the campus and got to see the whole nine yards, took pictures and all that good stuff” Johnson said, “But today I actually got to sit down and talk to the coaches one on one, we had a good talk, I talked to my position coach, then the head coach, and my recruiting coach, they’re good people, good people to be around, they all have kids and they know it’s a big thing but it was a nice visit.”  

Johnson thrilled the staff with his attitude and his openness to trying out their star linebacker position, something the coaches were conscious of with him.  

“The coaches, I’m their new best friend they said I made their day because he asked me do I think I will be able to play the position because they didn’t want to put me in a position where they put me in a position and then turn around and then told me to try something else, so he asked me if that was something I wanted to do and I told them yeah so they offered me,” Johnson said. 

Johnson plans to visit later in the spring to visit with his former teammate and close friend Demerick Gary. 

“We’re like buddies so whenever he goes I’m going to make sure to go with him,” Johnson said, “We talk about the school and he says it doesn’t have to be the end because he’s going to college we might not play together again but he says it doesn’t have to be the end we can go there and build a legacy there but SMU it is a big thing to be right in our backyard.” 

Johnson admitted with Demerick going to SMU, this could play a role in where he chooses to go and try to build a legacy. 

“That’s really a big thing to think about because at most schools people have already done it but you want to be that person that can do it,” Johnson said. 

Johnson had planned to take a visit to Texas Tech April 8 but will instead go watch his brother in Oklahoma’s spring game that same weekend. 

Cedar Hill linebacker picking up more offers
SCOUT

By: Billy Embody

2017 Cedar Hill linebacker Dimitri Moore has been steadily picking up more and more interest and offers recently including SMU, who continues to show interest in the rangy linebacker.

"After SMU, I'm hearing from Tulsa, Kansas State, Colorado State, Nevada, UNT, who offered. K-State, Texas State, SMU and Colorado State are showing the most interest," Moore said.

Claude Mathis, Archie McDaniel and Chad Morris are all on Moore, who's liking the vibe the staff is giving off.

"They just really want me to come down there and see everything and that they want me to get down there on a visit," Moore said. "SMU seem like a really good culture, friendly and good to be around."

Moore talked to Pony Stampede briefly before hitting the drills at The Opening, but said he'll make his visits during the summer, but might make it to SMU this Spring for a visit.

Louisiana linebacker checks out SMU

By: Andrew Hattersley

SMU continued their round of junior days this past weekend and one of those in attendance was 2017 Karr HS (LA) outside linebacker Louis Barnes.

“Well I really liked it, I really enjoyed myself there, I really like the coaches and I really like the way they act with their players, they treat you not just as a player but also as a person because at SMU it’s not all about football they’re also about grades and family and I really think having a university like that would keep me focused,” Barnes said.

Barnes noted a big reason for his appreciation of SMU is the way SMU grad assistant Chris Scott Jr has kept up with him on Twitter. 

“SMU is the only school I have the relationship that I do with coach Scott and some of the other coaches,” Barnes said. 

Barnes has SMU right at the top of his list and would certainly be ready to commit if SMU were to offer him this summer.

“I really like them, if they offer me I think I’m going to end up committing as soon as they offer me I really enjoy them,” Barnes said, “Coach Scott told me to come to one of the camps in June or July and he wanted to see me on the hashes and see how I can blitz off the edge, he wants to see me on the outside and if I do well at the camp they are going to offer me.” 

It’s not just the coaches that have impressed Barnes however; the facilities also far exceeded his expectations. 

“The facilities are really nice, I really didn’t know much about SMU before I talked with coach Scott but I knew of the school and I really didn’t think the facilities were going to be that nice but that really added to it,” Barnes said.

Barnes currently has an offer from Houston and has also drawn interest from Kansas State and Missouri but has not received an offer from either school.

The 6-0, 195-pound linebacker plans to be back for SMU’s spring practices and game later this month and next to continue building a connection with the SMU coaches and take in another practice. 

“I like the practice, the practice was quick, fast, physical, and there was a DJ out there, helping it be a fast physical practice,” Barnes said, “I like the way coach Morris handled the practice and the way he treats his players."

Mansfield athlete continues to hear from SMU
© Greg Powers

By: Billy Embody

2017 Mansfield four-star athlete Saiid Adebo Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Duke and Baylor are all standing out so far, but SMU is also showing interest after offering. 

"I've been talking to their coaches lately on Twitter over DM and I'm trying to get down there to take a visit this Spring."

Claude Mathis and Jess Loepp have been talking with Adebo the most and he's been impressed with what they're telling him.

"I think they're going to build a good program with the new recruits and new staff they've got in there. It's a good relationship with them," Adebo said. "I think if they rebuild and everything else fits in with what I'm looking for then I'd consider them."

Adebo was out at The Opening in Dallas and has always had a dream of getting open after following the event for years now.

"It would mean a lot. I've been watching this since I was in seventh grade and always thought it was pretty cool. It's a nice opportunity to come here and compete with these guys."


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