© Greg Powers

Pony Stampede Hilltop Review: Nov. 4

Come inside another edition of the Pony Stampede Hilltop Review with the latest updates on SMU recruiting targets.

Brewer recaps SMU official visit, UH win

By: Patrick Engel

Among the 300-plus recruits in attendance for SMU’s win vs. Houston was the lone official visitor: Lake Travis quarterback and SMU commit Charlie Brewer, who is enrolling in the spring semester. Though he’s been committed since May and his family has a close relationship with head coach Chad Morris, it was Brewer’s first time taking in an SMU home game.

After SMU’s 38-16 win, he and the rest of the recruiting visitors were allowed in SMU’s locker room. He heard Morris’ postgame speech and saw him break out his dance moves with the players.

“He always says trust the process and it’ll pay off. It paid off for them big against Houston and then carried it on to the next one at Tulane,” Brewer said. “It’s real exciting to see and it was awesome to be in there just to see what it’s like, because that’s going to come up quick when I’m in that locker room. It was cool to be a part of firsthand.”

Brewer spent most of Saturday morning and afternoon with the coaching staff at the team hotel. He and his parents drove up to Dallas following his teams’ 61-7 win, then met with the staff for breakfast at the team hotel. Then he sat in on some of the offensive meetings and walkthroughs. Though his family and Morris’ family are close and have vacationed together before, and he’s built strong relationships with the assistants during the recruiting process, that was the first real chance he had to see the staff actually coach and game plan. 

“I got to basically be right there in the huddle in their walkthroughs. It was fun being a part of everything just leading up to the game,” Brewer said. “It was almost like being a part of the team that morning and afternoon leading up to the game.”

The three-star quarterback said he’s hearing a “little bit” from a couple other schools, but recruiting doesn’t have his attention.

“I’m not even really focusing on that at all. I like SMU right now and obviously I’m committed there,” Brewer said. “Just about all my focus is on my high school team and trying to win a state championship this year.”

Lake Travis hosts Austin Vandegrift Friday in its final regular-season game.

2018 defensive end talks SMU offer

By: Demetrio Teniente

His junior season may have ended sooner than he liked, but the past few weeks have still been pretty good for 2018 Oak Ridge defensive end Joseph Ossai.

The 6-4, 200 pound defensive end has picked up five offers in the month of October, Cincinnati, SMU, Tulsa, Arkansas State, University of Louisiana-Lafayette. Cincinnati was the first to pull the trigger on October 3.  

“That first one was something else,” Ossai said. “Just knowing that college is going to be paid for and that I won’t be in debt. A lot of people aren’t that fortunate to have that kind of opportunity. I’m grateful for it.”

Ten days later, SMU offered him. Then Arkansas State the next day and ULL last weekend. 

“People like Grant Stuard [teammate] and Deon Goodwin [coach] told me that once you get that first one they rest will start rolling in,” Ossai said. “But I was still taken aback by the number of colleges that want me to play for them. It was a great feeling.”

Oak Ridge finished the season 4-6 overall and 2-4 in District 12-6A, just missing the cut for playoffs.  

“I am very proud, because I had a good season,” Ossai said. “But I would have liked for us to have accomplished some of our goals like: getting into the playoffs and winning a playoff game. I feel like I could have done more, to help us get in there.”

It’s only been a little more than a week since the War Eagles’ season ended, but Ossai is already thinking about way to improve for next year’s campaign.

“Next season I am definitely going to work on being more of a vocal leader,” Ossai said. “Really just focusing on getting my teammates into the playoffs.”

Ossai was offered by SMU assistant coach Justin Steppjust a few hours before Oak Ridge lined up against Lufkin. 

“When I woke up that morning, I didn’t know I was going to get offered. I didn’t even know SMU was looking at me.” Ossai said. “That was the first time I had talked to anyone from there.”    

The junior defensive end likes what he has seen from SMU this season. 

“I was surprised to see them bet Houston,” he said. “Now they are close to being bowl eligible. They didn’t start off so well, but they came back and are having a good season. That is the kind of program I’d like to help build.”

Ossai also likes the strength of SMU’s academics, as getting good education is one of his top priorities. 

“One thing that my parents talk to me about all the time is trying to go to a school with strong academics,” he said. “If football — God forbid — doesn’t work out, I could have a good degree to fall back on.”

Ossai will be at SMU this weekend for the Mustangs homecoming game against Memphis.    

2018 wide receiver blown away by SMU win over UH
Maureese Wren (© Greg Powers)

By: Patrick Engel

Maureese Wren is getting very familiar with making the short trip to SMU. The Mesquite (Texas) Horn four-star wide receiver visited during one of the summer camps in June and most recently took in the Mustangs’ win vs. Houston on Oct. 22.

“After I saw them win, I was shocked, but they came prepared. When you come ready, that’s what happened. I was happy for them,” Wren said. “I feel like the coaching staff is very eager and it makes me happy because they really love their players and believe in them.”

The clearest example of the coaches’ love for their players was in the locker room after the game, where they hugged and danced together after the win. Wren was in there to see it. He was also more complimentary of head coach Chad Morris’ dancing ability than SMU quarterback Ben Hicks, who jokingly called him a “terrible” dancer.

“They’re pretty good,” Wren quipped. “He’s better than me, I know that…Hopefully they’ll be dancing this Saturday too.”

Wren left SMU impressed with the game-day atmosphere and the hospitality that the staff gives to visiting recruits. He has also built a good relationship with SMU wide receivers coach Justin Stepp. Though SMU offered Wren in the spring and is still the only offer for the No. 222 player in the 2018, he said it’s a bit too early to call SMU a leader in his recruitment.

“Not yet,” Wren said.

Wren’s teammate, though, 2018 cornerback Brodrick Calhoun, also visited with him and he has SMU high on his list.

“Broderick loves SMU,” Wren said. “We always talk about how it’d be cool to play together.”

Wren will be back for SMU’s home game vs. Memphis on Saturday. Originally, Wren was going to visit Texas Tech for its game vs. Texas, but he and his family decided against making the drive to Lubbock for it.

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Wren said he also talks with coaches from Colorado, Colorado State, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Utah.

2018 defensive back receives Tempocopter visit
© Greg Powers

By: Andrew Hattersley

2018 Prestonwood Christian (Tex.) defensive back Jeremiah Lewis thought his high school coach was messing with him last week when he said SMU's Tempocopter was landing at his game, but to his surprise he saw the coaches arrive just in that fashion soon after. 

"My coach had mentioned it, but I didn't actually believe him and then I looked over and saw the helicopter in the end zone," Lewis said, "I don't remember what quarter it was, but it kind of surprised me."

For Lewis it's unlike anything he's received from any other school and certainly meant a lot.

"It's never happened, it's a great feeling seeing him out there supporting you," Lewis said.

The 5-11 cornerback says his relationship with coach Loepp and the rest of the staff is continuing to get better and better especially with him being just down the road. 

"It's a great relationship with me and the coaching staff, of course they're right down the street so I can reach out to them and stop by whenever I want to," Lewis said, "It's at home, feels like home, I've just been building a great relationship with coach Loepp. 

While Lewis wasn't able to attend SMU's upset win over Houston, he did catch most of the game on TV and came away extremely impressed with the Mustangs performance. 

For months, the staff has been preaching to Lewis they were close and just needed to finish the job, he was happy to see them do just that to give the coaches a little boost. 

"It's big I've always believed in coach Morris and to turn the program around and like every game they've been close just need to finish the game," Lewis said.

Lewis currently only has offers from a SMU and Tulsa, but is enjoying a nice year right now playing all over the field  and only suffering one loss as a team. 

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