The Pony Stampede Hilltop Review 6/3

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

John Jay offensive tackle updates recruitment

By: Billy Embody

2017 San Antonio (Tex.) John Jay offensive tackle Matthew Huhn is keeping up with SMU offensive line coach Dustin Fry and head coach Chad Morris weekly and his relationship with Fry continues to grow.

“I love him. He’s a great dude. He seems very genuine and has a good sense of humor,” Huhn said.

The staff is looking to fill one more spot at offensive line and Huhn could be the one to fill that need. Chad Morris’ track record with linemen has impressed Huhn.

“They see me obviously as a tackle, but think I could be a starter early and coach Morris is a sincere man with a great track record.” 

Houston is also in the mix and they’re impressed with his size and could see him coming in and playing early too.

“Coach Warehime told me i look bigger and they said i look good and keep grinding.”

Huhn said his summer will be crazy busy, but nothing is set yet. He’s looking for a good combination of location, team attitude and the amount of love the staff shows to him before narrowing down his choices.

Cal, UT, Oklahoma State, Stanford are showing interest in Huhn, but Houston, Texas State, Michigan and SMU are working the hardest and he’s connecting with those coaches well. 

“All of it is the coaching staff, that's going to be one of factors I'll base my commitment off heavily,” Huhn said.

Huhn doesn’t have a standout outside of Houston, SMU, Texas State and Michigan, but plans to decide after the first few games of his senior year.

Bishop Gorman WR updates recruitment
Student Sports

By: Demetrio Teniente

It has been a very productive seven months for 2017 Bishop TK Gorman wide receiver Judah Bell. After picking up his first offer from the University of Houston Dec 10 and his second from SMU a month later, he has racked up 14 total offers heading into summer.

“It’s been going pretty well,” Bell said. “It slowed down a little bit the past week or so, but I was just offered by SFA and New Mexico. It’s summer now so I’m just trying to see where I stand with all the colleges that have offered me.”

With SMU offering him almost six months ago, Bell says the Mustangs continue to reach out to him to see how he is doing. Most of the time, its SMU offensive coordinator Joe Craddock.

“He is a great guy,” Bell said. “He has a lot of energy and good sense of humor. He is just a pretty good all-around guy as far as I know him.”

With fourteen offers so far, Bell can start being more selective when weighing his options. He looks at each opportunity closely to make sure the program fits his wants and needs.

“The school needs to have a great foundation as far as the football program goes,” he said. “But also it needs to have what I want to study in college. I don’t want to go somewhere just for football. I’m also thinking about life after football too.”

Bell says the music program at SMU is one of the things working in the Hilltops favor. He wants to study music in college and SMU’s strong reputation in the field is attractive to him—as is the overall atmosphere of campus.

“I’ve been up there a couple of times,” Bell said. “And the last time I got to meet with the coaching staff at the spring game. I just feel like it is a great place. I like the coaches and the environment. I really felt good about being there. It felt like a good place for me to play college football. I could make it home for the next four years.”

With school over, Bell is turning his complete focus towards exploring all the offers he has received. He wants to be sure to give every single one a fair shake and to visit as many as possible.

“I’m setting all that up—marking up my calendar with my mother, trying to figure out where I am going to go,” he said. “I have a couple placed written down. I know I’m going to visit the Naval Academy, unofficially, at the end of the month. I’m also going to visit Memphis unofficially in July.  I’ll also be at SMU this Sunday for a camp and I’ll probably try to go back again this summer after that.”  

Ridge Point linebacker excited about SMU offer

By: Demetrio Teniente

A few weeks ago 2018 Ridge Point linebacker, Chad Bailey picked up his second offer from SMU.

The 6-0, 205 pound linebacker picked up his first offer from UTSA just before the Mustangs came calling.

“When UTSA offered me I was very excited,” he said. “Then SMU came around. It’s been a great feeling. My coach told me that once you get your first more start rolling in, I’m starting to believe it now.”

Bailey says he was offered by SMU defensive coordinator Van Malone.

“We DM back and forth on Twitter,” Bailey said. “He told me that he really liked my highlights and I thanked him. The he said hopefully they’d be able to offer and they did. We’ve kept talking after that. Sometimes you can tell how a coach is from how they talk with you. I can tell that he is the type that is hard on you on the field because he cares about you.”

While Bailey has never been to SMU he says he has driven by it a couple times. He also has a solid understanding of the school and what the Hilltop has to offer.

“I know the business program is very good and that’s what I want to study,” he said. “I also think it would be cool to be a part of a team like that. They might have struggled last year but things are only going to get better. The coaching staff is making it their team now.”

Bailey says he expects to camp at SMU this summer and is looking forward to eventually meeting the Mustangs linebacker coach, Archie McDaniel.  

“I just want to get into a school that lets me not only play football, but also sets me up to have a good future with a good job to support my family,” Bailey said. “I also want to go somewhere that I have a good relationship with my position coach and where that coach really cares about his players.” 

2017 quarterback talks SMU, recruitment
Student Sports

By: Andrew Hattersley

Things have been picking up lately for 2017 St. Augustine (LA) quarterback Justice McCoy who recently picked up an offer from Troy. 

“Things have been going pretty good lately, I’ve been getting out going to a few camps, so far only visited Troy,” McCoy said, “I was pretty excited to get the offer from Troy because they came and talked to me my freshman year like they came to my school to recruit some other guys from that class and he noticed me and said we will be recruiting you and then it was exciting to get that offer from them because they had been talking to me that long.” 

After taking a couple quarterback commitments earlier this year, coach Craddock did let McCoy as of right now they were not planning to take any more but he’s not sure if that will change with the decommitment of Will McBride. 

“They came down a couple times to see me throw, I actually had a conversation with the quarterback coach, Coach Craddock, but he also told me they took a quarterback already, a commitment, in my class so he was telling me how they were probably only taking one quarterback so I haven’t really talked to him after that,” McCoy said, “I mean he hasn’t tried to come back and talk to me and I haven’t really tried to reach out to him either.” 

One label that has bothered McCoy recently is being called a dual-threat quarterback, but it is a notion he is trying to dispel, as he believes he’s a better pocket passer than people give him credit for. 

“I want to show teams that I’m more than a dual threat quarterback because when you think of a dual threat quarterback he mostly runs so I consider myself more a pocket passer because I like throwing the ball more than running it but I’m just a better pocket passer but not too much of a dual threat quarterback,” McCoy said. 

The Louisiana quarterback currently has offers from West Virginia, Colorado State, Troy, Florida Atlantic, Memphis, UTSA and Tulane but will wait until later in the summer to make a decision as he waits to pick up more offers. 

Houston commit's recruitment gaining steam

By: Scott Sanford

2017 Brenham (Tex.) outside linebacker Marqez Bimage has been committed to the University of Houston since December, but that has not stopped some major programs—and others—from continuing to go after the talented pass rusher.

Despite picking up serious interest from the likes of Texas A&M, LSU, California and Texas Tech, Bimage says those four, along with SMU, are all school that are hot on his tail.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound linebacker originally committed to Houston because of his relationship with the school’s coaching staff, and that is something that is keeping SMU in the race for the Brenham, Texas native.

“SMU was one of the first schools to ever start talking to me and they gave me a chance,” Bimage explained.  “They were the second school to offer me, and they have always been with me.  They have kept in contact and we have continued to build relationships.”

The rising senior has spent the last 18 months building strong relationships with Buddy Wyatt and Justin Stepp, which is a big part of his interest in the school.

“They have been through a lot, and the game means something to them,” Bimage said.

He has also had the chance to check out SMU’s campus, which impressed him as well.

“The campus is really nice and very beautiful,” Bimage said.  “Their facilities are comparable in some ways to the bigger schools, but not in other ways.  The school is just so nice though.”

While he remains committed, Bimage has not shied away from his interest in other schools, which will make for a busy summer for the edge rusher.

He plans on attending camps at the TCU, SMU, Texas Tech, Texas A&M and LSU.

Over the summer, Bimage will work on fine-tuning his game and getting ready for his senior season.

“I think my hustle is there, my motor is there, but my technique has to be improved a lot more,” Bimage explained. 

2018 defensive back picks up SMU offer
© Greg Powers

By: Patrick Engel

For most DFW players who get SMU offers, SMU is a school close to home that’s energetically trying to turn around its football team. For Rockwall (Texas) Heath defensive back Tanner McCalister, it’s one of his favorite college teams. McCalister picked up an offer from SMU, tweeting out that he was excited to get an offer “from one of his childhood favorite schools.”

McCalister grew up close to SMU in Rockwall, but he also has a cousin, Bryan Collins, who played offensive line for SMU from 2009-2012.

“I’d been to like three SMU games when I was younger to watch him play, so that’s why SMU was a childhood favorite,” McCalister said. “I always wanted to be like my cousin and play college football.”

SMU wasn’t the only childhood favorite for McCalister. Another one of his cousins, Christian Scott, played safety for Texas from 2007 through 2011.

“SMU was a school where I wanted to be like my cousin and play there,” McCalister said. “It was SMU and Texas.”

SMU just recently began to recruit McCalister. He has not yet visited campus for a recruiting visit, but said he will come to SMU’s camp on June 5. SMU offered him when offensive line coach Dustin Fry, the Rockwall area recruiter, came to his school for the second time in the spring.

“He met me and introduced himself first, sized me up,” McCalister said. “They came by the school the next week, my coach came down while I was in class and said they wanted me to come to the camp, but just to see the campus. Then they offered me, and that was really exciting.”

Fry has seen McCalister the most, so he’s the coach McCalister has the best relationship with on the SMU staff.

“Every time he came to the school, he’ll stand up when I walk in and shake my hand,” McCalister said. “It shows a lot of energy and he’s excited for me.”

McCalister also has a friend on the team, wide receiver Xavier Castille, who is from Rockwall. He grew up playing little league football with Castille. McCalister said the two have talked about the recruiting process recently since he got the SMU offer.

“He was giving me tips on his experience and how I should take it,” McCalister said. “He said to pick the college that’s best for me, not just football-wise but academically. And SMU is a school that has great academics.” 

SMU’s recent activity on the recruiting trail in the 2017 cycle has caught McCalister’s attention as well. He said he likes the idea of playing for a team on the rise.

“They have quite a few class of 2017 commits, and that’s showing me that they’re looking forward to the future and they’ll have a successful future, and I like seeing that,” McCalister said. “I like seeing the underdog turn into a big dog so I’m looking forward to seeing what happens.”

The 6-foot, 185-pound McCalister holds offers from SMU, Louisiana Tech and UTSA. He said SMU, TCU, Baylor and Missouri showed a lot of interest this spring. He is also planning to go to camps at Oklahoma State and Texas.

2017 defensive back has SMU in his top 8
Student Sports

By: Andrew Hattersley

Thursday night, 2017 Clear Creak High School (Tex.) defensive back Noah Daniels released his top 8 schools, with SMU making the cut. 

“I just kind of thought about which school would be best for me right now, it’s not really official but it’s just my top 8 schools for the offers I have right now, I thought those schools were up top,” Daniels said before elaborating on what were the deciding factors, “Just my relationship with each one of the coaches and then the school itself.”

Daniels plans to make a decision at the end of the month after he takes his only scheduled visits right now to Houston, Tulsa, Arkansas and Texas Tech. 

Despite making the cut, things have gone a little quiet for Daniels with the Houston native as he has not spoken to the staff in a couple of months. 

“I haven’t talked to them in a while, it’s been a while, it has probably been about March or April, probably April,” Daniels said.

If Daniels is to end up at SMU, he will likely have to quickly rekindle the relationship he previously had with the staff in the next month. 

“I think it’s important to have a relationship with the coaching staff,” Daniels said, “It definitely needs to develop.” 

Currently Houston is the front-runner due to being Daniels’ hometown team, to go along with the coaching staff and the season the Cougars enjoyed last year. 

Other than SMU and Houston, the other schools to make the cut were Texas Tech, Arkansas, Utah, LA Tech and UTSA. 

Daniels plans to announce the decision via Twitter. 

2018 4-star defensive back grabs SMU offer

By: Patrick Engel

With SMU’s 2017 class having just a few remaining spots, the SMU coaching staff spent a lot of spring visiting and evaluating 2018 players. One who the staff visited and offered was Cibolo (Texas) Steele four-star defensive back Caden Sterns. SMU defensive coordinator Van Malone came by to visit Sterns on May 24. Malone is a familiar name for Sterns: he coached his older brother, Jordan, when he was the defensive backs coach at Oklahoma State. Jordan is entering his senior season for the Cowboys.

Sterns has only recently begun to know Malone as a coach and a recruiter. He visited SMU for a junior day in February.

“It was a good experience. The coaches, they really impressed,” Sterns said. “The campus too, it was really pretty. They’re rebuilding, but wanting to become one of the top programs.”

Sterns is already getting a lot of attention as he finishes his sophomore year of high school. He holds offers from Baylor, LSU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, SMU, Texas Tech, UCLA, UTSA. 

The 6-foot-1, 173-pound Sterns, who plays both defensive back and wide receiver, said he had a lot to prove to the coaches who came by his school.

“I want to prove that I'm a leader, a team player and will do whatever it takes to win with a hungry but humbled mindset,” Sterns said. “I want to prove that I work hard and want to prove that I could be a great player at the D-I level.”

2017 athlete talks recruitment, new school

By: Scott Sanford

Moving cities can be difficult to deal with for anyone, let alone a high school football player who is in the thick of his recruitment.

That’s what 2017 athlete Kahlil Thomas had to deal with has he moved from Austin to Victoria, Texas following his junior season at LBJ high school in Texas’ capitol.

Now settled in, the 6-foot-1, 185-pound Thomas says he is happy to see the positive change the move is having.

“I went through their spring training, spring ball, and things have been great,” Thomas said.  “I’ve been getting a lot more colleges coming to see me.”

Thomas recently picked up his second offer from Stephen F. Austin, but his first came from SMU, which continues to stay in contact with the two-way player.

“Coach Mathis used to coach at the high school I went to (LBJ), so we connected quickly,” Thomas said.  “For Coach (Jess) Loepp and me, he loves the way I play and we talk on a daily basis.”

SMU’s 2-10 season in 2015 was hardly unnoticed, but it’s the coaching staff’s plan for the future that has Thomas intrigued.

“It looks like they are really trying to get that program back on top to where it needs to be,” Thomas said. 

New Mexico, UTSA, Texas State, Louisiana Lafayette and Tulsa are also expressing interest Thomas, who could play either offense or defense at the next level.

The Mustangs are recruiting the rising senior as an athlete, so he could play on either side of the ball when all is said and done.

“I love playing DB, but in the end, whichever position colleges are going to take me at, I’m okay with that,” Thomas explained.  

With summer around the corner, Thomas plans to take that time to finally visit some of the schools showing interest in him, including SMU.

Thomas said he feels fairly happy with the size he is at now, but thinks he could take his game to the next level with a few adjustments.

“Most importantly, I need to get my technique down to where the point I know the man on the other side is not going to beat me,” Thomas said.


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