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The Pony Stampede Hilltop Review 4/1

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

2017 DL talks SMU offer

By: Demetrio Teniente

When 2017 Pflugerville defensive end Nelson Mbanasor was in Dallas for the Opening regionals SMU head coach Chad Morris gave him a call and suggested he stop by the Hilltop to chat. 

 Mbanasor sat down with Morris and by the time they finished talking the 6-3 248 pound defensive end had picked up his seventh offer. 

“I started talking to Coach Jess Loepp at the end of my sophomore year,” Mbanasor said. “I’ve been in contact with them for a while now.”

Mbanasor also visited SMU back in October. Having met the coaching staff a couple times, Mbanasor says he really likes the SMU coaching staff. 

“I think they are great coaches and that they are going to turn that program around,” he said. “They are really nice people too—very funny.”

Though SMU is still in the process of rebuilding the program, the current state of the team doesn’t worry Mbanasor at all.  

“It doesn’t weigh on my mind at all,” he said. “Because I feel that if I were to go to SMU I could be a part of turning the program around. I think they are just one or two adjustments away from being set.”

 Mbanasor holds offers from Bowling Green, Colorado State, Houston, Louisiana-Monroe, North Texas, and Texas State.  Mbanasor says SMU is near the top of his list right now. 

“They are definitely somewhere at the top because they are in Texas and are close to home,” he said. “They match up pretty well with my other offers right now.”

Mbanasor is planning on making some more visits soon, specifically North Texas and Colorado State. 

His recruitment process is just getting started, but Mbanasor is already collecting a solid number of offers. He is expecting a lot more before it is all said and done. 

“I feel like the recruiting process is just about to take off,” he said. “Once schools see me punishing guys, they’ll pull the trigger.” 

2017 athlete picks up offer on visit

By: Billy Embody

2017 Tulsa Lincoln Christian athlete Reed Martin hasn't heard from SMU for long, but when he visited last week, the staff told him he had picked up an offer. Martin had heard from SMU assistant Archie McDaniel for a couple weeks, but it wasn't until Chad Morris offered that Martin saw how serious SMU is.

"McDaniel was the one recruiting me, but coach Morris told me. We talked a while. We went to his office and talking about all different things. We started talking about the program and he pretty much said, we could use you here and that's why we're offering," Martin said.

As far as the visit went, the running back and linebacker liked the way the staff communicated with each other and really showed the family atmosphere.

"I loved everything. Coach Morris did a great job. The way they ran practice and everything. They just are all on the same page as far as coaching the kids. They coach the same way," said the 6-foot, 210-pound athlete. "You can tell they're family. A lot of programs preach it, but you can really tell with them."

Martin talked with McDaniel a lot on the visit and the two are developing a solid relationship.

"He was just talking throughout and asking how I'd liked it. He was happy to see me because we talked previously on the phone, but that was the first time I got to see him and head up there," Martin said. "We just catch up and see how things are going here in Tulsa and at SMU. I like the way he's communicating. He's shown interest. He seems like a great guy and great coach."

The coaching staff wants Martin at either running back or linebacker and either is fine with him.

"I like running back, but I mean I don't have one. Whichever one they need me as, I'll play. I just tried to learn from them. They've already been there and are learning the process. They've been there learning how the coaches want things done so I tried to pick those things up and stuff like that."

As far as his skills, his combination of size and speed certainly help him the most.

"At linebacker and kind of for both, for my size, I'm pretty fast. I can play run or if they're a passing team, I can play like a roll down safety and play pass. At running back, my size helps a lot."

Ball State is Martin's other offer. Kansas, Ole Miss, Air Force, Tulsa, Penn State and others have begun to show interest as soon as SMU offered. Martin wants a decision to be made by August and plans to get back to SMU soon.

SMU signee preparing for life on the Hilltop
SCOUT

By: Scott Sanford

Things have been different for Cedar Hill cornerback Eric Sutton since he signed with the Mustangs. 

While his friends, peers, and teachers at school treat him differently now that he has officially signed with the Mustangs, he has seen his relationship with his future coaches continue to grow.

That, in part, is why the 5-foot-10, 160-pound defensive back is more than excited to start his time as a Mustang.

“I can’t wait (to get to campus),” Sutton said.  “I hate high school.  It moves to slow for me now.  I need to be in college already.”

Sutton’s time as a track athlete in high school, however, has been preparing him for his transition to the collegiate level.  

“I can gain a lot of strength from running track,” the corner explained.  “I play a speed position so it makes a lot of sense for me to stay on the track.  My speed is what got my offer from SMU so I’ll stick to that.”

Sutton is another member of the Mustangs’ newest class to spend several afternoons on the practice field with his future teammates.

And while he loves the overall environment he has seen at practices, he’s notice even more hustle from some of the younger guys suiting up.

“That’s why they (the staff) recruited our recruiting classes—to come in and bring it,” Sutton said. 

With summer ball just around the corner, Sutton has his eyes set on early playing time.

And considering the struggles of SMU’s defensive backs last season, it’s no surprise the coaching staff believes the Cedar Hill product can come in and win a starting role as a freshman.

“They won’t just give it to me, but I can definitely go out their and earn it they said,” Sutton recalled.  “I have to go in there with a lot of confidence, a chip on my shoulder, and just continue to do what I’ve done in the past.”

Sutton is set to attend the Mustangs’ scrimmage this weekend, as well the their spring game on April 16.  

Gary takes in a few SMU spring practices
SCOUT

By: Scott Sanford

One of the first to join SMU’s StangGang16 last June, Dallas Kimball defensive end Demerick Gary is eager to get on campus and begin his time as an SMU Mustang.  

Since signing in February, the 6-foot-2, 240-pound pass rusher has been hard at work already hitting the weights in preparation for summer ball with his new team.  

But despite being ready to join his future teammates on the Hilltop, Gary is still enjoying the last bit of time he has left in high school.

“There’s a part of me that’s saying I still want to be a kid, but at the same time I know it’s time to grow up—move on from that chapter—and start a new chapter,” Gary said.

With that new chapter comes the new challenge of transitioning from high school football to the collegiate game.

Defensive line coach Buddy Wyatt says Gary will start his career on the end for the Mustangs, but there is a chance he winds up on the inside when all is said and done.  

For Gary, that doesn’t change his work ethic, preparation, or desire to play as freshman.

“Nothing’s going to be handed to be, but I have to continue to grind because the opportunity is there (for early playing time),” Gary said.  “Whatever the opportunity, I have to work for it and go get it.”

Gary has also had the chance to check out his new team at two spring practices.

And while the intensity of the overall practice was impressive, the hustle, positive energy and selflessness around his own position group is what stood out the most.

“They (the defensive linemen) push each other and make each other better,” Gary explained.  “They’re always coaching each other up, and even the younger guys will tell some of the older guys to do this better or hustle hard.  We’re pushing each other and that’s what I love.”

Gary may not make it to the Mustangs’ spring game in mid-April, but because of the work he has seen put in, he feels confident there won’t be another 2-10 season in 2016.

“These guys have put in so much time, hard work, and effort this off season and now they’re displaying it in the spring,” Gary explained.  “When you’ve worked hard, you get a confidence about yourself, and I believe that 2-10 thing will never happen again.  We know we can do it, we just need to put it into play on gameday.”


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