© Greg Powers

The Pony Stampede Hilltop Review 6/24

Come inside this edition of the Pony Stampede Hilltop Review with the latest SMU recruiting news.

2018 tight end updates recruitment

By: Demetrio Teniente

As he continues preparing for his junior season at China Spring High School, 2018 tight end Tyrick James is feeling nothing but good vibes on the recruiting front.

“Spring went well,” he said. “We didn’t have a spring game, but we had a couple practices during athletic period. The first part of summer has been great; I’ve been going to a lot of satellite camps.  It’s just been a great process so far.”

James has good reason to be in a good mood even though he has just one offer thus far. Not only is he getting more than enough looks from some top schools, his lone offer is from a school he likes, and one that just happens to be a D1 program.

“I found out the day before our regional track meet,” James said. “We just finished practice and my coach pulled me aside and told me that SMU had offered me. It meant a lot. It meant that I was putting work in. I’m not done yet, but it was nice to know that I could go to college somewhere without my mom having to pay for me. I’ve been to SMU twice already and plan on going back again.”

During his two visits, one being for Mustang’s spring football game, James had the chance to visit with SMU’s coaching staff and tour the campus.  

“I like the coaching staff, they are very energetic,” James said. “They talk a lot and like to joke around with the players. So they showed us around and even introduced us to some of the players. The Campus is nice, I like it—I love it actually. We went inside the [athletic facility] and saw the locker room, which was really nice. I like the surrounding area too—some of my family lives in Dallas, so it’d be a good area for me.”

James says that the biggest standout from his visit was second-year head coach, Chad Morris.  

“Coach Morris is just going into his second year and I don’t think that [the team] has completely gotten used to his system yet,” James said.  “They should be one of the better teams in the American Athletic Conference this season.”

James believes he has the talent; all he needs is the opportunity to showcase it. He also believes the offers will start flowing—but until then he is going to keep grinding and enjoy the ride.

“I’m really enjoying the process right now.” He said. “I’m getting the looks from Baylor, Texas, TCU, Mississippi State, and Texas A&M. When I actually go to a school I can actually show what I’m made of.”  

2017 power forward getting SMU interest
Jason Stamm/TheVTZone.com

By: Andrew Hattersley

Despite plenty of offers in hand already, that has not stopped 2017 Fort Lauderdale (Fl.) power forward RaiQuan Gray from receiving interest from some new schools, including SMU. 

“It's been good so far they reached out and just told me how much they love my game,” said Gray of his conversation with SMU assistant coach coach Hobbie.

Next month, the SMU coaches will be back out once again to watch Gray as he continues through his AAU season. 

“They said they'll be out in July to watch,” Gray said. 

Although he doesn’t know much about the program and will wait on visiting until later in the year, Gray has a lot of admiration for the performance of SMU over the last three years. 

“I know they are a program that has a great coach in Larry brown and they've been top 25 the last years,” Gray said. 

Gray currently has offers from Baylor, Auburn, Cincinnati, Clemson, East Carolina, Florida, Florida State, Illinois, Kansas State, Memphis, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Tennessee, UAB, USC, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Connecticut, Maryland, and has also been receiving interest from a number of other schools. 

Gray plans to cut down his list sometime at the end of the summer when he will slim his list to six. 

“I plan on cutting my list to 6 before my high school season,” Gray said. 

Gray says he is very interested in all the schools he’s been offered by but also noted he has a lot of interest in SMU, as well as, Texas. 

2017 JUCO defensive back talks SMU offer

By: Billy Embody

2017 Jones County defensive back Ramon Patton just started hearing from SMU, but as soon as he did, the contact came with a scholarship offer from defensive coordinator Van Malone.

"He said he liked the size and what I could bring at safety and nickel to the defense. We just talked about the defense and what I could do whether it be Cover 2 or 3 and he said he also saw that I could play man," Patton said. "He said he'd give me a chance at all the defensive back positions."

Malone made a good impression on Patton with his knowledge of the game.

"I liked him and everything he was talking about. We were breaking down defense and I liked the coach. He's trying to bring me up for a visit at the end of the summer."

Patton doesn't know much about SMU, but liked what he saw from the defense against TCU.

"I heard of the school and I saw them play TCU last year. I paid attention to that. I like them and what defense they run. I just got to find out a little bit more on campus and the atmosphere."

After originally wanting to walk-on at Ole Miss, but unable to qualify, Patton spent his freshman year at Jones and will finish up his sophomore season before heading to the next level. He's got solid tools to contribute, but is still working on some things. 

"I'm an excellent tackler and a big-bodied safety. I like to play man. I don't mind Cover 2 or 3 and I like to blitz, which is why I played a lot of nickel because I tackle well. I'm just trying to work on my eyes and my agility and drills for that because I'm already big."

He's got a simple list of what he's looking for in a school.

"I'm looking for somewhere I feel at home and somewhere I can get a good education. Somewhere they treat me well as a player and as a student."

Arkansas State, Toledo, UMass, UTEP, Colorado State and Appalachian State are some of the schools that have offered with Memphis showing interest. Patton wants to decide right before his season or by the middle of his season.

Nashville wing talks recruitment

By: Billy Embody

2017 Nashville Christian small forward Caleb Hollander has been busy with camps and visits and his recruitment is starting to pick up because of it.

“I visited Utah last week and played pretty well in their camp so they’ve been recruiting me pretty strongly. I’ve heard a lot from ORU and Old Dominion the last few days. The schools I’m hearing from the most that haven’t offered are Utah, Wright State, Auburn today, SMU and several other.”

Hollander’s dad suffered a stroke so one of his dad’s friends has been handling Hollander’s recruitment lately.

“It’s one of the assistant coaches, but he’s contacting my dad’s friend, who’s been helping me with all the recruitment. He’s helping me and talking to all of these coaches.”

SMU wants Hollander to get over to SMU on June 28, but he’ll be on a visit to Old Dominion and Richmond so Hollander plans to visit this August. SMU likes one thing that most schools are liking in his game so far.

“They like how I shoot the ball and my basketball IQ. At 6-7, with my size, I can shoot from almost anywhere and I can catch it and shoot. I used to get yelled at for it, but it’s helping me now. I’m just working out and shooting a lot this summer, but I need to grow on the defensive side.”

Oral Roberts and Old Dominion are standing out along with Utah, whose head coach sent a letter to Hollander.

Wright State, Oral Roberts and American University are all likely to get visits from Hollander this summer.

The 6-7, 220-pound forward hasn’t really played this summer much, but has been with the Louisville Magic recently in the adidas Guantlet. He plans to sign in the early period.

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