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The Pony Stampede Hilltop Review Sept. 2

Come inside another Pony Stampede Hilltop Review for the latest on an SMU commit and a 2018 stud cornerback.

2017 SMU commit still solid as ever

By: Patrick Engel

Group of Five programs that land a commitment from a coveted Power Five-level prospect don’t stop recruiting after they get the verbal. That’s the case with SMU and Lancaster (Texas) three-star defensive end Noah Jones, who picked SMU over Illinois, Purdue, Indiana, Houston and others. Despite landing Jones’ commitment in early June, SMU still working to make sure he knows it wants him.

“They tell me every day they love me and what I can do, but how much hard work it’s going to take,” Jones said. “I love coach Morris and I love how he pushes me to become a great young man, not only a football player.

The effort SMU has put into recruiting Jones has made him feel even more comfortable with his decision.

“It’s just like family,” Jones said. “It’s family-oriented. I love being surrounded by a team that I can call family. Outside of football the aspect, I know I can count on the guys to push me harder and treat me right. They’re big brothers to me.”

With SMU’s class at 14 members and nearly full, Jones said he has built relationships with some of his fellow commits. In Lancaster’s season opener vs. Denton Ryan, he played against future teammate Delano Robinson.

“I’ve connected with those guys great and I feel like we’ll be a family when we get there,” Jones said. “I connect with most of the guys on Twitter and send them messages saying, ‘I’m on my way and y’all keep being great.’”

Since his commitment, Jones visited SMU for the recruiting barbeque in July, where he met a lot of the other 2017 commits in person for the first time.

Jones is staying solid to his pledge despite some attention right after making it. He said Houston made a push for him shortly after he committed to SMU.

“I’m gonna be a Mustang next year,” he said.

In the game vs. Ryan (a 35-23 loss), Jones showed a quick first step, high motor and active hands. He’s still raw in terms of technique and pad level, but according to Scout Midlands analyst Gabe Brooks, displayed more aggression and decisiveness than last season.

“They like my quickness off the ball and how I play aggressive, but they want me to get better with my technique,” Jones said. “Day by day they say they’ll help me get better with my technique.”

2018 4-star DB hears from SMU first

By: Patrick Engel

Thursday at midnight, college coaches could contact 2018 recruits electronically. At midnight, Cibolo (Texas) Steele four-star athlete Caden Sterns' phone started buzzing with texts and direct messages from coaches. SMU was among those to reach out to the top-40 prospect.

“I hear from them and they hit me up today. They were one of the first people to talk to me (Thursday),” Sterns said. “Coach (Van) Malone and the head coach (Chad Morris) have been talking to me. They’re looking forward to keep recruiting me.”

Sterns has a familiarity with Malone that extends back to Malone’s Oklahoma State days. As the Cowboys’ secondary coach from 2012-2014, one of his players was Sterns’ older brother, Jordan. He also recruited Jordan in high school.

Sterns said the SMU coaches haven’t laid out a detailed recruiting pitch to him, but he’s still award of Morris’ reputation.

“He’s a great coach and he’s not only great on the field, but off the field as well,” Sterns said.

Unsurprisingly, Sterns’ phone blew up with coaches from across the country contacting him.

“Notre Dame, LSU, TCU, SMU, Michigan State, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Texas, California and Florida State,” Sterns said, listing off the schools that have reached out since Thursday.

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Sterns has offers from Baylor, Houston, LSU, Oklahoma, SMU, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech and UCLA.

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