SMU pledge Toby Ndukwe talks Power Five interest, commitment status

Richmond (Texas) defensive end and SMU commit Toby Ndukwe has picked up some Power Five offers since his commitment. He talks about the recent Power Five interest and the strength of his commitment with PonyStampede.

Power Five schools have been making runs at SMU commits since Chad Morris arrived. It held off Power Five schools in 2016, and it has had to do the same so far in the 2017 cycle.

One of its highly-sought after commits is three-star George Ranch defensive end Toby Ndukwe. The defensive MVP of the 5A-DI state title game, he has added offers from Colorado, Kansas State and Indiana since committing to SMU in early May. He also attended a Houston-area Texas Tech satellite camp last week.

At the camp, Ndukwe told that he was considering reopening his recruitment. He explained his rational behind a possible decommitment to PonyStampede.

“I said that because a lot of offers had come in and I know more are going to come in, so let me just reopen my recruitment for now,” Ndukwe said. “I’ll still be committed to SMU, but I’ll listen. When the season starts, I’ll shut everything down and focus on the school I’m attending.”

Since the camp, however, Ndukwe is having second thoughts about actually decommitting.

“I’m seeing who offers, but I don’t see myself decommitting," he said. "I know I said it (previously) that I do see myself decommitting, but at this point, I don’t see myself decommitting.”

Ndukwe said Kansas State, Colorado and Texas Tech have been showing a lot of interest in him recently. SMU has been recruiting him as aggressively as any of the others, despite his commitment to the school.

“My relationship with them is really good,” Ndukwe said about SMU. “I was talking to coach (Buddy) Wyatt the other day, and he wants me to come to a picnic they’ll be having (later this summer). He’s always checking up on me to see how I’m doing.”

After losing only one player to a Power Five school in 2016, SMU has seen four recruits decommit so far in the 2017 cycle. Three have committed to Power Five schools and a fourth (quarterback Will McBride) has offers from Utah and Purdue.

Part of SMU’s ability to keep its 2016 class together despite the Power Five attention was the class’ unity. Last year’s recruit picnic and cookout helped build the bonds between the class, and SMU can hope this year’s will do the same. Ndukwe said he is planning on attending the cookout, which is set for July 22.

Even without an obvious level of unity from SMU’s 2017 class yet, Ndukwe has other factors that are keeping him committed to SMU.

“The academics are the main thing that’s making me and my parents stay committed,” he said. “And the turnaround they’re building, I want to have a bit role and be a part of that buildup. I see myself making an impact there.”

“When I visited for the spring game, even before I committed, they were telling me they want me to be a part of this turnaround.”

The 6-foot-3, 230-pound Ndukwe said he doesn’t plan on attending any more camps this summer. His former high school teammate, safety Mikial Onu, signed with SMU in 2016.

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