In one week, SMU went from having no defensive players in its 2017 recruiting class to having five. Saturday morning, Terrell linebacker Elijah McQueen committed to SMU. He will play safety for the Mustangs.
McQueen told PonyStampede in April that SMU was his leader. With the run on commitments this week, he didn’t want to wait around much longer and miss a chance to play for his top school. Being close to home and his relationship with the coaches helped put SMU atop his list. SMU was also the first school to offer McQueen, back in February.
“Communication (with the coaches) was a big key for me. If you’re not really talking to me, then how do I know how you really feel about me?” McQueen said. “It’s basically talking to all the coaches at different times, they’re always talking to my mom too. So as long as they have a good relationship with me and my mother thinks it’s the best fit for me, we’re on the same page.”
McQueen said he has a strong relationship with defensive backs coach Jess Loepp. He visited for the April 9 spring practice and junior day, when he got to meet head coach Chad Morris and the entire defensive staff.
Knowing that McQueen held SMU in high regard and with the influx of commits, the coaches gave him the chance to commit before someone else could, which stood out to McQueen.
“It made me feel like they really wanted me,” McQueen said. “They weren’t just talking. You could actually tell they wanted me to be a part of the StangGang.”
McQueen is primarily a linebacker for Terrell, but plays a little defensive back and is used to playing in defense similar to SMU’s. McQueen describes himself as an “instinctive” player, and that’s what SMU likes best about him.
“They like they way I play instinctive,” McQueen said. “It’s not just going and running around the field. I’m going off instincts and being able to make plays and be physical. They like the way that I’m really physical. It’s one of those things they said fits well with how they play defense.”
The 5-foot-11, 180-pound McQueen picked SMU over offers from Nevada, Tulane and UTSA. He is the ninth commitment in the class, and the second from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Terrell doesn’t have spring practice like most high schools, so McQueen didn’t get the exposure that many other players get in the spring. But he still has 7-on-7 tournaments and his senior season.
“If I get other offers, I get other offers,” McQueen said. “But right now SMU is the school for me.”