It is still very early in 2018 Rockwall-Heath defensive back Tanner McCalister's recruitment, but the sophomore is already garnering a lot attention.
The 6-foot, 170-pound corner is a four star recruit on Scout.com and holds offers from Louisiana Tech, SMU and Texas-San Antonio.
“It’s a blessing [to get these offers right now],” McCalister said. “I’m still continuing to work hard and hopefully get more offers. SMU will definitely be one of my top schools when it comes to the end.”
McCalister visited the Hilltop on Sunday, June 5 during a camp, just a little more than a week after receiving his offer from SMU. While he wasn’t a participant, he said the opportunity to meet the coaching staff was something he couldn’t pass up.
“The visit was great,” he said. “I had some friends that went down for the camp so I went to watch them. I met every coach from the corners and lineman coaches to Chad Morris. I was mainly talking to Van Malone. He was just taking me through all the drills that they do there. I was really just trying to build relationships with all the coaches that were there. Then they took me on a tour—showed me the weight room. They have a really great facility.”
McCalister also says that he has been talking with Malone throughout most of his recruitment and that the no-nonsense personality of SMU’s defensive coordinator was a good sign.
“I like how Malone is a straight forward guy and isn’t going to sugar coat anything,” McCalister said. “There are some coaches that will tell you want you want to hear, but he isn’t like that. He will tell you things like’ you might not start when you get here’ but he’ll also tell you that ‘you can compete for that spot.’ He is going to be straight forward with you.”
It was McCalister’s first time on the SMU campus and though he thought everything looked really good, it was what he heard and not what he saw that stuck with him.
“Coach Morris talked about what they are building at SMU and that really stood out,” McCalister said. “He was talking about how much of an impact Robert Griffin III had at Baylor and how players can bring together a great class and start something new for a program. I thinking helping bring a class together and building towards a championship team is what I want to see. I want to see programs that look like they are going to keep getting better. I don’t want to go to a program that is on the downslide. I want to see progress and I want to see that they are building something.”
McCalister has already begun planning the rest of his summer and while he plans on making visits to some other programs, he also plans on making a return visit to SMU for some more face time with the staff.
“I know I’ll be visiting Baylor and then TCU—this will all be in July,” he said. “So Baylor, TCU, and the UT are the schools I’m going to either camp with or visit. And I probably will be back to SMU just to go around and get some one-on-one time with the coaches, because I didn’t really get that since they had a camp going on. They told me to come back and I want to see the rest of the campus, so I’ll probably go back by there.”