The Pony Stampede Hilltop Review 5/13

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

Hines says SMU one of his sleepers

By: Patrick Engel

For a player who has 88 offers and is ranked No. 1 at his position, a team that’s rebuilding and went 2-10 a season ago would be far, far down the list. But with 2017 Plano East (Texas) linebacker Anthony Hines and SMU, that narrative doesn’t apply. While Hines may opt to go elsewhere, he has been impressed with everything SMU has to offer under Chad Morris. A big part of his interest in SMU is the business school, since he wants to study business in college.

“SMU, that’s one of the sleepers,” Hines said. “They’re an awesome program, I’ve always been interested, even before they offered. With coach Morris, it’s an unbelievable program. They have everything you need: academics, the football program is really on the come up. I’m definitely interested in them.”

The 15th-ranked overall prospect in 2017 has visited SMU four times since Morris was hired in December 2014. He has a strong relationship with the coaching staff, and he said defensive coordinator Van Malone has come by to see him the most.

Hines plans to enroll early, and wants to make a decision before his senior season. But he hasn’t gone too in-depth on it yet with spring football, school and standardized testing occupying most of April and early May.

“As of now, I’m just looking to narrow it down,” Hines said. “I may drop a top six or a top 10, but for now I’m just working the list down.”

Hines’ father, Anthony II, told PonyStampede Monday that the family is planning to visit some schools on the West Coast this summer while visiting family. The younger Hines will also participate in The Opening finals in July and take two online classes so he can graduate early.

The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Hines said he hasn’t taken a ton of snaps in spring practice, compared to his teammates. That’s in part because his head coach, Joey McCullough, wants to make sure he is healthy for the start of the season. But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t focused. 

“Just improve on my overall reading ability, shooting gaps and making plays,” Hines said.

2017 linebacker picks up SMU offer

By: Demetrio Teniente

In the mind of 2017 Bishop Dunne outside linebacker Paul Favorite, it was just a matter of time before the offers started coming.

So far in May he has already picked up his first two offers, and he is confident more schools will follow suit.  

“It’s been a huge stress relief,” Favorite said. “I’ve been patient waiting for my time to come, and taking care of my business on the field and in the classroom. I knew it would only be a matter of time before I got offers. Really it is a blessing. These schools want me because of the work I’ve been doing and that is a blessing—I’m really thankful for that.”

First came Illinois State May 3, and then came SMU eight days later. While Favorite says he has been talking to a lot of schools he says his first two offers were unexpected.  

“The recruiting process has been pretty interesting,” he said. “I’ve been talking to a lot of coaches, but the two offers I got, I didn’t know the coaches were looking at me. Almost every day I talk to a coach—either on Twitter or they come by my school.”

That isn’t to say he wasn’t thinking about these schools before, in fact he already had a high opinion of the Hilltop.

“I’ve been to SMU but I’ve never been there on any kind of ‘visit,’” he said. “The whole school is good, and it is a really good place to get an education. A person that goes they have a good network after the graduate, and as far as the football program I think they are creating a new legacy. They are on a come up.”

The 6-1, 190-pound junior is excited for summer as he will start making visits to schools that have offered him or shown interest.

“I know I will go to SMU for sure,” he said. “I might try to go to Illinois State. As far as the other schools, I’m going to try to go to Tulane, Southern Miss, and basically all the schools that have been showing interest in me. Everything is falling into place and it’s crazy right now, I’m just really blessed.  I’m sure I will get more offers because I’ve been having a good spring.”

Boling running back talks SMU offer

By: Andrew Hattersley

After having multiple schools stop by to see him work out, 2017 Boling HS (Tex.) running back Elijah Gooden picked up his first offer Wednesday from SMU. 

“My first thoughts were just that it’s a great place, I mean it’s a turning around program it would be exciting to be a part of it,” Gooden said. 

The 6-0, 190-pound running back said he spoke with coach Archie McDaniel who loved his athleticism and the way he moved. 

“He watched my film before he saw me, when he saw me move around he was just really excited and he said I put a smile on his face,” Gooden said, “If I could do that for a coach he is making me just as happy, I mean I can understand a high school coach being excited about a good high school athlete but a college coach it’s like a whole different level for me, it’s surreal and with this being my first offer it’s actually happening, it’s crazy.” 

Gooden does know much about the school yet but is just excited to have the opportunity to be a part of something special. 

“Can’t really say I just know much about them, all I know is they’re in a turnaround period and it would be great to be a part of it,” Gooden said. 

One thing that has already caught his eye however is the high academic reputation that SMU is known for. 

“All my life I’ve heard academics is the key, I’ve heard SMU has a great academic foundation and that’s first and foremost,” Gooden said. 

So far, Gooden has received visits from Texas A&M Commerce, Texas Southern University and Rice but none have offered yet. 

“Schools have come to watch me work out and talk to me and invited me to camps but as I was saying this is my first offer,” Gooden said. 

Gooden does plan to make a visit up to SMU in the coming weeks but has not picked a date yet to check out the Hilltop. 

Texas Hot 100 WR wanting SMU offer
Student Sports

By: Patrick Engel

2017 Lancaster (Texas) wide receiver Cartrell Thomas didn’t have any offers when he completed his junior season, in which he tallied a team-best 943 yards and 11 touchdowns (second-best). But after a big winter and spring, he has 12 offers. One school that hasn’t offered him, but has shown consistent interest, is SMU. 

“I hear from them every now and then. I talk to the recruiting coordinator for the area, coach Mathis,” Thomas said. “We just talk and chop it up. That’s a good program and I feel like it’s on the come up.”

The three-star wide receiver visited SMU earlier this spring for a junior day and in January with his teammates. One thing stuck out to him both times: the coaching staff.

“It feels like they’re a family there,” Thomas said. “It’s not like they just want you there to be a football player. They want you there grades-wise and everything.”

Even with all the attention he has received since the end of last season, Thomas said the family feel at SMU is unique among the coaching staffs he’s talked to. He’s also attracted to being a part of a turnaround program.

“I love being the underdog,” Thomas said. “I feel like the underdog is the best way to go.”

With the influx of offers this spring, Thomas is not in a major hurry to make a decision. He’s not planning to commit until right before the start of his senior season.

“My family just tells me take time, take time, don’t rush into anything and don’t make a decision you’ll regret,” Thomas said.

The 5-foot-9, 160-pound Thomas has offers from Bowling Green, Colorado, Colorado State, Miami (Ohio), New Mexico, Nevada, North Texas, San Diego State, Texas State, Texas Tech, Tulane and Tulsa. He has talked to Illinois, Wisconsin and Oregon coaches recently. SMU is keeping tabs on him, but hasn’t recently had discussions with the coaches about an offer specifically. He admitted an SMU offer would be a big one for him.

“That’s one I would put up there,” Thomas said. “I’d like an SMU offer.”

Thomas is Scout’s 114th-ranked receiver and 21st-ranked in Texas. He comes in at 98 in the Scout Texas Hot 100.

Kansas commit keeping options open

By: Demetrio Teniente

Even though 2017 Independence running back Dominic Williams committed to Kansas back in November of 2015, that hasn’t stopped schools from coming after the speedy tailback.

Kansas was the first program to offer Williams and his relationship with head coach David Beaty and former recruiting coordinator Reggie Mitchell prompted him to commit, just a week after receiving the offer from the Jayhawks.

“Everything is going well,” Williams said. “KU is still showing me lots of love and just keeping things going, but that hasn’t stopped other schools from coming by and offering. But right now, I’m just kind of looking at everything and building relationships with other coaches and visiting the other schools that have offered me so far.”

Mitchell has since left Kansas to coach for Arkansas and while that hasn’t shaken his commitment, Williams is continuing to make visits and talking to coaches. He continues looking at other programs out of respect for their interest in him, and to simply because one never knows what lay ahead.  

“I just want to see what is out there,” Williams said. “You never know what could happen. Like with KU, if the coach leaves or something else happens. I just want to give everything a look.”

Williams now holds offers from Kansas, Arizona State, Illinois, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, New Mexico, North Texas and SMU.  

“There were a lot of schools that were showing me a lot of interest that liked me but didn’t offer at first,” Williams said. “They kept telling me that I was still on their boards. I committed a week after I got the Kansas offer, and once I committed Arizona State came, then SMU and all the other schools. Once I committed they all started coming in.”

Williams has been mostly communicating with SMU coach Joe Craddock.

“I think he is a really good coach,” Williams said. “SMU doesn’t just have one good coach—they have a really good coaching staff overall. “

Like most recruits, Summer will be Williams’ best opportunity to visit programs and he already has big plans for 2016.   

“I’m taking most of my trips this summer,” he said. “I think my first trip is probably going to be to Arizona State and then we will schedule the other ones after that. I’m going to the Rivals camp in Kansas City this weekend. I missed the Texas one because I wasn’t healthy, so I’m going to make it up at this one.”

2018 Mesquite Horn receiver picks up SMU offer

By: Billy Embody

2018 Mesquite Horn wide receiver Maureese Wren picked up his first offer after SMU wide receivers coach Justin Stepp watched him at practice this week and it was a big shock to the young receiver.

“At first he came to our practice and watched. My coach had me call him after practice and he asked if I had any offers and I said no. He said, ‘you have one now and congratulations,’” Wren said. “It feels amazing. My dad said he was proud of me and to keep working and stay humble.”

Stepp had some words of advice for Wren moving forward after offering.

“He just told me to continue working like I am now and that he can’t wait to get me up there to visit and see how I like it.”

Wren said the SMU receivers coach is a high-energy coach that he could see himself playing for.

“I think he’s a cool coach to be around and I know he’s a real ecstatic coach,” the 6-3, 215-pound receiver said.

Wren doesn’t know much about SMU, but does know that their receivers are going to be solid for years to come.

“I know they have a lot of receivers coming in and they got James Proche and Xavier Castille so they’re going to be pretty good at the receiver spot. I feel like I could help over there too.”

Wren admits he needs to get faster and work on staying over his toes, but his strengths are what coaches look for in receivers.

“Right now, I think I’m a good blocker and I get in and out of my cuts. I think that gets a lot of college coaches’ attention like that. I know how to attack the ball real well.”

Wren has been followed on Twitter by Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Michigan State and Fresno State coaches since grabbing the offer, but no other schools have shown interest. Wren plans on going to Oklahoma, Baylor, SMU, Texas and Texas A&M this summer.

Smalls keeping up with SMU staff, eyes decision 
© Greg Powers

By: Patrick Engel

Even with Will McBride committed at quarterback committed for 2017 already, SMU is open to taking anther passer in the class. Nine uncommitted quarterbacks have offers. One who is very interested in SMU is Plano East (Texas) three-star Miklo Smalls. Smalls picked up the SMU offer in early April and has already built a solid relationship with the coaches.

“I talk to my quarterbacks coach, coach Craddock,” Smalls said. “He’s a good man and I talk to him whenever I can. We talk about the recruiting process and what’s going on with my situation.”

Smalls also has a solid relationship with defensive backs coach Jess Loepp, the recruiting coordinator for the Plano area. He occasionally talks to head coach Chad Morris.

“With SMU and where they’ve been, they obviously want to get better,” Smalls said. “They all followed coach Morris over there, so if they like to follow a great coach and try to improve a program, that’s a great thing to have.”

Smalls visited SMU for a spring scrimmage in April, where he got to see the coaches and the players in action. He is dual-threat quarterback that plays out of the shotgun in a fast-paced offense, which is very similar to SMU’s offensive scheme.

Plano East is a 25-minute drive from SMU, and the SMU coaches sell the chance to play close to home and in front of family. It’s one factor that Smalls said will play into his decision.

“I prefer to stay home, but it’s the best fit for me academically, socially and duration away from home,” Smalls said.

SMU fits the close proximity to home, but it checks off the first two items for Smalls as well.

“It’s a great fit, honestly,” he said.

The 6-foot-2, 198-pound Smalls also has offers from Colorado State, Rice and Fresno State. He wants to make a decision before the start of the season and plans to attend some of the satellite camps in the DFW area.

Smalls is the 71st-ranked quarterback nationally and 11th-ranked in Texas. He is ranked 99th on the Scout Texas Hot 100 list.

Waxahachie wide receiver calls SMU, "a great opportunity"

By: Andrew Hattersley

As the coaches continued to hit the recruiting trail hard, one of those to pick up an offer was 2017 Waxahachie HS (Tex.) wide receiver Kenedy Snell, who was thrilled to receive the opportunity.

"I think it's an great opportunity to work with some good coaches and further my education as I take my next step to a higher level," Snell said. 

Snell is planning to make it up to SMU sometime in the coming weeks but has already heard a lot of things to be excited about. 

"I think it is a great school from what I've heard they are like top 10 with education I hear it's a beautiful campus," Snell said "They play with speed so from what I've heard I think it's a great school." 

Snell has also heard a lot of positives from coach Mathis and noted it does help he's from DeSoto originally. 

"He has just told me stuff like it's local it's not that far away from home and he's think I could be a good fit for their program," Snell said, "I think he's a cool dude I l know he used to coach in DeSoto and I see what he capable of so I like him and I think he's a great coach."

Snell has really seen his recruitment pick up in the last couple of weeks since he picked up his first offer in late April.

"I received my first offer on the 25th of April and now I have 6 so I think it's going good and something that I'm really enjoying right now," Snell said. 

Snell currently has offers from ULM, Michigan, Kansas, SMU, Sam Houston State, and New Mexico.

SMU first to offer Port Arthur Memorial athlete

By: Billy Embody

2018 Port Arthur Memorial safety and receiver Keitha Jones Jr. learned he grabbed an SMU offer from his coach and is just now beginning to process that as it’s his first offer.

“He just called me over and said they offered me as a defensive back,” 6-2, 190-pound athlete said. “It’s a blessing. Finally, all this work is paying off.”

Jones hasn’t heard from SMU’s coaches yet, but said he’s watched them from a distance at least.

“I watched them play and I know some people that went there. That’s a school I’d go to. It seems like a good school.”

Jones says he could play anywhere for a college and that’s because he wants to win so badly.

“I can make a play when a play needs to be made and give it everything I have. I will play any position the team needs me to.”

Baylor has been in contact with Jones, who says the staff at Baylor likes his size and aggressiveness. 

2018 OT grabs SMU offer
Student Sports

By: Demetrio Teniente

The month of May has been particularly good to 6-6, 233-pound Connor Galvin, as he picked up offers from Colorado, Houston, and Stephen F. Austin before Cinco De Mayo .

Monday, the 2018 Katy offensive tackle added SMU to his growing list off offers.  

“It has been pretty interesting,” Galvin said. “Getting the first one was pretty cool, then when I go the next three I was just like, ‘dang, I’m a sophomore.’”

Galvin said he was offered by SMU’s Associate Director of Football Operations, Steve Stigall. While he says he has talked to Stigall before, he hasn’t really had that much contact until the offers started rolling in.

“I kind of saw the Houston offer coming because they came to one of our scrimmages so I kind of felt like they would,” Galvin said. “But really aside from that all of the offers were surprises to me. I’ve only talked to the coaches a couple times and they all seem nice. I think it is going to be hard for me to make up my mind in two years.”

Right now, Galvin is trying to take everything as it comes to him and is doing his research on each school that has offered him. Katy is almost done with spring football, and once the school year is over, he will turn his attention to making visits.

One thing is for certain, the past 12 days have provided a very unexpected and positive turn to the sophomore’s life — not to mention a little peace of mind.

“I’ve always dreamed of playing in college and then the NFL at some point,” Galvin said. “It is nice to get these offers because it lets me know that I won’t have to pay for college. It will be interesting to see what offers I have my senior year.” 


Pony Stampede Top Stories