Matt Visinsky

The Hilltop Review 12/9

Come inside the Pony Stampede Hilltop Review for the latest on two new SMU offers and an SMU commit, who had an in-home visit last week.

2019 Mansfield safety picks up first two offers

By: Billy Embody

SMU is already extending offers to the 2019 class and Mansfield Legacy safety Jalen Catalon is the latest to pick up an offer, but not before Missouri edged SMU as the first to offer.

"It was a blessing. It was great getting my first offer from an SEC school and then getting offered by a great school like SMU, it was really great," Catalon said. "They got a great coaching staff is what I heard. It's a great first two to have."

Catalon took in SMU's win over Houston this season, which showed him just how far SMU has come.

"He really liked me and sent me some letters. I saw them when they played Houston and won. It's a great atmosphere," Catalon said. "We talked on the phone. He heard about the Missouri offer and decided to go ahead and offer."

Chad Morris had Catalon give him a call and that's when he extended the offer, but their connection extends beyond just a football offer.

"He's a really great guy. His sister is a girl's basketball coach at Legacy so I have a good relationship with her and that kind of carried on to my relationship with him. He's heard a lot about me," Catalon said. "He's just a really great guy and a good coach. Family type of person. Trying to make the university as successful as possible."

Watching SMU knock off Houston, Catalon said the future is bright for SMU and that because of that, they'll be an option for him going forward.

"That just shows you what they have coming. They had a young squad. Didn't have much experience so to go out and knock off a Top 25 team and the way they did it, something great to see," Catalon said. "Proved to everybody that they have something. They'll grow and it'll definitely be one of my options. They're a defense to look up to."

Missouri also offered Catalon, who is now looking to learn more about that program as well.

"I didn't hear much about Missouri, but when they came and offered me, it was really great," Catalon said. "They really liked me and told me they saw a future for me. They wanted me to be a part of the future. That's why they offered me. It was really great getting offered and I'm looking forward to looking at my options."

The thought of an SEC school offering first still gives Catalon chills.

"It gives me goosebumps thinking about it. To get your first offer from the SEC, it's just amazing to get my first offer from that school," Catalon said. "You can look for a visit coming down the road."

The 5-9, 175-pound defensive back says his maturity on the field is the biggest part of his game, allowing him to focus on one play at a time.

"I excel at just my focus on the field and my exposure. You get a lot of great plays, a lot of bad plays, but you just play the game and stay focused on the next play, not the play before and you'll be a successful play," Catalon said.

Catalon is also receiving interest from Houston, Oklahoma and Texas A&M. He's planning to visit Missouri, and SMU again sometime in the future.

2018 offensive tackle picks up SMU offer

By: Billy Embody

SMU is still trying to round out their 2017 class with another offensive tackle, but the staff just targeted another tackle in the 2018 class in Seminole (Tex.) lineman Reese Moore. SMU assistant Keith Gunn extended the offer, but he wasn't done there. Gunn stuck around to watch Moore play basketball on Tuesday night.

"It really shows a lot. I was excited. I liked coach Gunn a lot when I visited. Knowing he came out and spent that much time in Seminole, it really impressed me," Moore said. "We have a lot in common and we have a lot of people that we know in certain ways. He has a cousin that lives where my grandparents live. You can make conversation that's not strictly football."

Moore was excited to pick up the offer, saying it came out of nowhere to him. The nearly 6-6 offensive tackle has a cousin at SMU and plans to get over this summer to really take in the campus. Last summer, Moore and his parents visited for a football camp and came away impressed with Chad Morris.

"I haven't really spoken to him, but I was really impressed when we went to the football camp. My parents were walking back and he ran into them and made sure they knew where to go," Moore said. "There was anywhere from eighth graders to seniors and he shook every single kid's hand that was there."

Tulane, Texas Tech, Washington State, UCF and Northwestern join SMU in offering as well. Oklahoma is showing considerable interest in Moore.

"Northwestern has reached out the most out of the ones that have offered me. Coach Bedenbaugh (Oklahoma) sends me something every day. A highlight of their game, a scouting report or something about the players. That's kind of cool."

Moore's brother, who's now coaching at Seminole, had multiple injuries during his football and basketball career and continues to recover from those. Because of that, Moore plays every play like it could be his last. His brother snapped his knee cap on a run, yet finished the run for the first down. That always stuck with Moore.

"My philosophy is if you're going to do something, do it 110 percent because you can only do something one time. You never know if the play that you're playing is going to be your last," Moore said. "You don't take anything from granted. Just work as hard as you can. If I can get my hands underneath your shoulder pad, I can get you down and once I get you down, I jump on you and don't let up. I just need to be a little more aggressive off the ball."

Moore plans a big spring break trip to see some schools with his family, but doesn't have any plans set.

SMU commit recaps in-home visit with coaches

By: Andrew Hattersley

Shortly after the season ended, SMU receivers coach Justin Stepp stopped by the home of 2017 Friendswood (Tex.) quarterback and wide receiver Tyler Page, that went so well coach Stepp stayed for around four hours. 

“I just found out a bunch about my schedule next year, what the season will look like, what the schooling will look like, we found out a little bit more about him and found out some stories about coach Morris, how he met coach Morris so it was really helpful, we learned a lot,” Page said. 

Despite having a very strong relationship with coach Stepp and the other coaches, Page appreciated having the extended time to learn about him as a person. 

“It helps a lot because it is hard to get to know these guys during the recruiting process, you only get one phone call a week,” Page said, “I’ve been talking to him for a while now and I trust him and everything, but for him to get in the house and us have regular conversation not about football, but about our personal lives is helpful.” 

Although a lot of SMU’s commits trusted Morris, including Page, he was glad to see coach Morris get his extension and know he was going to be his coach down the road. 

“That was big for me, because there was a lot of rumors up in the air of him going to Baylor and all this and that, but coach Stepp he cleared everything up for his at the home visit and really everything was just rumors, so he got an extension to SMU and he wasn’t going anywhere,” Page said, “I’m glad to hear he’s going to be my coach for the next four years.” 

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