On Sunday, Richmond (Texas) George Ranch defensive end Toby Ndukwe became SMU’s first defensive commitment in its 2017 recruiting class. On Wednesday night, SMU landed his possible bookend on the defensive line: Cypress Ranch defensive end Harrison Loveless.
Loveless, who visited SMU for its April 16 spring game, said the coaching staff’s character and close relationship with each other were the biggest reasons he committed.
“You know everyone can teach you football, but it’s all about character to me,” Loveless said. “The family culture is strong. With the coaching staff, it seems like they’re really close. The players seem really close. I could tell everything is a family thing. They preach it.”
Loveless also attended the junior day that came right before the spring game. He toured the campus met most of the coaching staff. Loveless picked up the SMU offer in February and it was already high up on his list. After the visit, all he needed to do was think through his decision.
“For the past month or so, I’ve been just thinking about it, praying about it, talking with my family,” Loveless said. “I just thought it was the right time right now to commit.”
Part of the coaches’ character is the emphasis on education, which holds a lot of value at a school with a strong academic reputation like SMU. Loveless said he wants to study sports therapy and kinesiology.
“It’s really important about academics and if they’re going to teach good character,” Loveless said. “Coach Morris, he spoke to all of us at the junior day and he’s a man of high moral character.”
SMU wants the 6-foot-3, 260-pound Loveless to start out at strong-side defensive end, although a future move to the interior line is possible.
“As I get bigger and put on weight, they’ll just see from there. Maybe after I gain some weight, they’ll move me down to defensive tackle,” Loveless said. “I try to play with a lot of effort and pursuit of the ball. I think that’s what they (the SMU coaches) really liked.”
Houston and Texas State were the other FBS teams to offer Loveless. He is the sixth member of SMU’s 2017 class.