2018 Highland Park (Tex.) offensive lineman Thomas Shelmire picked up an SMU offer this spring and has been high on SMU for a while. The lineman made the short trip to SMU for the Mustangs' win over Liberty and came away impressed.
"It was kind of a new experience for me so I didn't know what to expect, but watching football is always fun for me," Shelmire said. "I thought the best part of the whole thing was walking out on to the field when they were all warming up and watching Division I athletes right away. You can tell they're stronger athletes."
Offensive line coach Dustin Fry caught up with Shelmire before the game as did Chad Morris.
"He was getting ready for the game, but I talked to him before the game. He asked me how I was doing and the simple questions, but I knew he was getting ready for the game and I didn't want to both him," Shelmire said. "I talked to coach Morris too. He was getting ready for the game too, but he was happy to see me."
The visit included a small group being brought into a meeting room for a meeting with Morris before the game.
"They took about 10-15 of us to one of the meeting rooms and talked to us. He talked to us for about 20 minutes about what it's like to be a Division I athlete and the time and hard work you put in. Basically, their week schedule. He's a really good guy and I just had a lot of fun.
After the game, Shelmire enjoyed the experience of getting to be in the SMU locker room, which celebrated their win over the Flames.
"They were celebrating. It was a great locker room and that was awesome. It was like a party. In that kind of environment, I really feel like I'm at home hanging out with the guys and definitely different. Everyone is a lot bigger and older, but it was the exact type of environment that I love. One of my favorite parts of being on a team is going back in the locker room and being rowdy. It was really my kind of environment. It's a great feeling."
Highland Park is chasing another state championship and Shelmire says that SMU's staff is chasing a winning season, which might explain why the staff hasn't kept up as much with Shelmire via Twitter. Shelmire says that's okay and looks forward to talking with them more after their seasons.
"They've been sending me a bunch of different mail. I'm sure I'll talk with them after the season more. They're in a different frame of mind right now," Shelmire said. "They're really focused on the football season. They're a great coaching staff and I really do love and respect that coaching staff."
SMU is at the top of Shelmire's list and while it's too early to make a decision, he loves what he's seen.
"I really have seen all I need to see from SMU. They have a great head coach and I really like coach Fry. They have a beautiful campus. I can't even say anything bad about SMU," Shelmire said. "My dad is really telling me not to commit to anything too early. He won't let me do anything like that until I'm in the right state of mind and he's in the right state of mind. It's really going to take a lot of time. I'm loving what I'm seeing too far."
SMU sees Shelmire playing guard or center as of now, but his position at SMU wouldn't really matter to him.
"I'm 6-3, but maybe they only see me at the inside at guard or center. I'll be happy playing anywhere along the offensive line," the 6-3, 291-pound lineman said. "
Purdue, Texas State, Boston College, Virginia and Utah have been showing interest through mail to Shelmire. Virginia is reviewing Shelmire's transcript now.