Israel Mukuamu (© Greg Powers)

The Pony Stampede Hilltop Review 3/31

Come inside the Pony Stampede Hilltop Review for the latest SMU recruiting news.

2018 Louisiana defensive back's recruitment picking up

By: Billy Embody

2018 Bossier City (La.) Parkway safety Israel Mukuamu has seen his recruitment pick up in the last few weeks with plenty of schools stepping up with offers. SMU coach Chad Morris was the latest to offer once the two got on the phone earlier this week.

"He said he liked my film a lot and that they wanted to get me on campus and that they were offering me," Mukuamu told Scout. "He was trying to get to know me. He came from Clemson and I just moved from South Carolina. He was talking about how his kids were acclimating to Texas and then I played against his kids high school. He liked my length and size. It was crazy."

After SMU entered the mix, the Parkway safety quickly set a visit for April 8, which is SMU's spring game. He's looking to find out just about everything about Morris' program.

"I like him a lot. He's very serious and he told me that he's trying to turn around the program at SMU. I think this year is his third year at turning it around," Mukuamu said. "I'm just looking to see how they work, how the facility is and how they can help me make my decision. Trying to see if they have my major and if it's a place I can call home."

The 6-4, 190-pound defensive back said that it's been tough to juggle all of the schools now entering the mix, but he's taking his time with it.

"It's been real crazy with all these schools showing me interest," said the three-star prospect. "All of them stood out to me. I've been talking to Indiana, Purdue and Oklahoma State for a real long time. Southern Miss and SMU just offered and I was real surprised by those. I'm just going through the process and taking my time because it's early."

The No. 5 safety in Louisiana is looking for three things in a college. 

"Future, family and football. I want to feel at home with a family. Future is a place I can get a great education because football is not going to last forever," Mukuamu said. "Football because I want to play early and at least be in the running for a starting spot. I want a winning tradition."

Mukuamu wants to commit late in the summer or in the first few weeks of the season after taking some visits. Florida, UL-Lafayette, Mississippi State and Tennessee have been showing interest. Oklahoma State will get a visit in two weeks and he's planning a Southern Miss visit in the next month as well.

2019 safety checks out SMU's scrimmage under the lights

By: Demetrio Teniente

Last week was pretty eventful for 2019 Arlington (Tex.) safety Kyron White.

A few days after picking up his first offer from Baylor, the sophomore dropped by SMU for the Mustangs’ intrasquad scrimmage.

“I liked SMU’s scrimmage,” he said. “I like the coaches and what they are instilling at SMU. They make sure grades and graduation come first—I like that. The scrimmage had a great atmosphere and there were a lot of good people to be around. It was just an all-around good visit.”

Of everything he saw while on the Hilltop, the comradery of the defense stood out to White the most.

“I liked the brotherhood the defense showed,” White said. “When a bad play happened they didn’t start harping at each other. They uplifted each other and I thought that was pretty cool.”

White says he has only talked to SMU defensive coordinator Van Malone, and that it has just been general “getting to know one another” conversations.

“I’ve talked to him a couple of times,” White said. “I don’t think it is anything too serious at this point—I hope it can be in the future. At this point, we are just talking and they are just getting to know me.”

White says that if SMU were to offer him, he feels strongly enough about the program from his initial impressions to seriously consider it.  

“I would definitely consider SMU, especially with the coaches they have,” White said. “Like I said, they all have really good personalities and it seems like they know how to push their players and that they care about them off the field—that is a real big plus.”

Baylor was the first program to offer the young safety, and even though he feels that other schools aren’t ready to pull the trigger, the Bears offer has given him a little extra motivation heading into Arlington’s spring football program.   

“It felt great,” White said. “I have been working at the sport, like a lot of other guy, since a young kid—like five or six years old playing flag football and just getting better every summer. Not going places, but going to camps and working in the weight room. All that work to get to this points. [The offer] let me know that some of it is starting to pay off, but there is still a lot of work to be done.”

This Friday, White will be in College Station for Texas A&M’s Friday Night Lights.  

Sachse defensive end returns to SMU for scrimmage

Sachse DE Tyler Lacy (Photo by Patrick Engel)

By: Patrick Engel

2018 Sachse (Texas) defensive end Tyler Lacy has had a busy spring of visits. But it didn’t deter him from getting to SMU for the second time this year for last weekend’s Friday Night Lights scrimmage.

Lacy previously visited for SMU’s January junior day and picked up an offer a few weeks later. When he visited for the scrimmage, he sat in on the defensive line group meetings and watched a little film. After, he watched the team scrimmage full-contact.

“There’s a good relationship. They have fun, but they also hard on trying to make them do the right things,” Lacy said.

The obvious standout to Lacy when watching practice was SMU’s tempo.

“It’s real. It’s really fast there,” Lacy said. “The hitting, the plays coming in real fast, that was really good.”

Lacy has also visited Baylor Houston, North Texas, Texas, Texas Tech, Texas State and UTSA in the last couple months. He will visit Texas Tech again on April 1 and Oklahoma State on April 15. Lacy said the SMU, Houston and Texas Tech visits made an impression on him, but he does not have a top school or a time frame for a decision.

With SMU, Lacy says he talks frequently with defensive line coach Buddy Wyatt and head coach Chad Morris. 

“They talk to me every day and ask me how I’m doing. I’ve established a relationship with them” 

The 6-foot-4, 240-pound Lacy is up to 11 offers: Arkansas State, Colorado State, Connecticut, Houston, Louisiana-Monroe, North Texas, SMU, Texas State, Texas Tech, UTSA. Kansas State, Texas and Texas A&M have shown interest in him, but have not offered as of now.

SMU commit watches Friday Night Lights scrimmage

Magnolia WR Mike Woods

By: Demetrio Teniente

One of SMU’s first commits from the 2018 class, Magnolia wide receiver Michael Woods, dropped by the Hilltop for the Mustangs Intrasquad scrimmage last week.

“It was really good,” Woods said. “I liked the offense, it is really fast paced. I liked how they call plays and I liked everything about it really.”

Woods says he talked to a lot of other SMU prospects—including fellow commit 2018 Colleyville Heritage corner Marcus Mosley—many of whom he already knew. He also talked with some of the Mustang receivers, and worked on building up those relationships.

It was his third time visiting SMU and the 6-1, 188-pound wide out says his relationship with SMU and the coaching staff continues to grow stronger every day—more specifically his relationship with SMU receivers coach Justin Stepp.

“I talk to him every day, all the time,” Woods said. “Our relationship is good. We talk every day and about everything. He is like a friend almost. The relationship I Have with coach Stepp, and coach Chad Morris [that made me commit to SMU]. It is a real ‘family feeling’ there.”

While still a hard commit to SMU, Woods will be making a few visits here and there. This Friday he will be dropping by College Station for Texas A&M’s Friday Night Lights and then he’ll be attending Texas Tech’s spring game.     

Will be going to A&M Friday night lights and Texas Tech’s Spring Game on April 1.

But Woods is most looking forward to Magnolia’s own spring game later in April.

“I just want to get back on the field with my teammates and start working to get better,” Woods said.

2019 Bishop Dunne CB Talks SMU Recruitment

Marquez Beason (© Greg Powers)

By: Phil Mayer

While 2019 Bishop Dunne (Tex.) cornerback Marquez Beason has offers from powerhouse schools such as LSU, Texas A&M and Oklahoma, he still considers SMU neat the top of his list. Much of his love for SMU can be credited to Chad Morris.  

“He’s a world-class coach,” Beason said. “He only comes once in a lifetime.”

What stands to Beason most about SMU is the coaching staff. He talked to coach Justin Stepp on his visit three weeks ago, and hopes to stay in touch with him, but Morris is the coach that really caught his eye. 

“I love coach Morris,” he said. “Great coach, great father figure. He just wants to build the program back up.”

Beason already has 13 offers right now, and schools such as Texas and Florida are still coming after him hard although they haven’t offered him yet. His top schools right now are Texas A&M and LSU, but SMU is still very much in the mix. Along with the coaching staff, Beason mentioned academics as a feature of SMU that keeps it in contention with bigger schools. 

The 5-11, 170 pound cornerback was clear in what he wanted to show at the Under Armour All-America Camp in Cedar Hill. 

“That I’m the best in 2019,” he said.

Beason’s closest upcoming visit is to Nebraska on April 15, but he plans on coming back to SMU soon.  

2019 wide receiver visits SMU for the first time

2019 WR Donovan Ollie (Gabe Brooks / SCOUT)

By: Andrew Hattersley

It was the first time for 2019 Wylie HS (Tex.) wide receiver Donovan Ollie stepping foot in a college stadium live environment when he took in SMU’s Friday Night Lights scrimmage last week. 

“I really liked the environment of it, it was very competitive there was a lot of energy going on, all the coaches were into it, it was cool to be around and it was just amazing to me,” Ollie said, “It was pretty cool because I have never been in a college stadium before while the players are actually playing and acting like it’s a real game in a game situation.” 

Before the scrimmage, the 6-3, 180-pound receiver got the chance to hear from coach Morris who he enjoys spending some time with every time he comes down. 

“I really like coach Morris, he’s a nice guy,” Ollie said, “I talk to him every time I come down there and we really get along, I really like what he’s doing with all his players on that team and I would just love to be a part of it one day.” 

Ollie also had had the chance to talk with coach Stepp and coach Fry and overall just likes the message the coaching staff brings. 

“I talked to coach Fry a lot, I think he recruits my area lot and talked to coach Stepp and coach Morris the last time I was there, I just like the coaching staff,” Ollie told PonyStampede. 

Even though SMU has been pretty balanced in recent years, the Wylie receiver has taken a liking to SMU’s offense especially the way they get the ball in their playmakers hands. 

“I really like how they air the ball out and throw a lot, Courtland Sutton is a big dude, he can go up and catch it and James Proche he’s pretty fast,” Ollie said, “I would just love to be a part of that and be able to make some plays happen.”

Ollie currently doesn’t have any offers, but is optimistic some could be on the way sooner rather than later. 

2018 running back visits SMU for scrimmage

2018 RB Brock Sturges

By: Patrick Engel

Allen (Texas) running back Brock Sturges was one of the first players Jeff Traylor offered after he became SMU’s running backs coach in February. Now, at the end of March, Struges’ offer list consists of 13 FBS schools. SMU has hosted him on campus since the offer and is still keeping in steady contact with the 2018 three-star back.

“They keep in touch a lot, mainly coach Traylor,” Struges said. “I have a pretty good feel for it, but it’s all about relationships now. I’m trying to build a better relationship with the staff.”

He and Traylor’s relationship, though, is already off to a good start.

“He knows what he’s talking about,” Struges said. “He’s been at top-notch programs like Texas, so I trust him. He’s a great guy. I’m just looking to build a relationship with him through the process.”

Sturges estimates he has been to SMU three times. Each has made an impression on him and has the Mustangs right in the mix for him.

“I’m really considering them with everything that coach Morris is doing with the program. I feel like that would be a good fit for me. It’s close to home, and close to my mom,” Struges said. “They’re a balance team and they run and pass the ball.”

Struges said he wants to get back to SMU before the end of the spring, but he does have a few visits already set. He will be at Oklahoma State and Tulsa April 1-2. The weekend of April 8, he will go to Boise State, which has signed at least one player from DFW in each of head coach Bryan Harsin’s four recruiting classes. He also will visit Texas and Baylor in April. He previously visited Baylor for its February 18 junior day. He also made the short drive to visit TCU, where is brother, Bryan, plays baseball.

The 5-foot-10, 200-pound Struges picked up four offers in the last week, including his first Power Five offer, from Indiana. The Hoosiers and SMU join Arkansas State, Boise State, Connecticut, Louisiana-Monroe, Marshall, Nevada, North Texas, Texas State, Toledo, Tulane and UCF on his list.

Texas, Oklahoma State and Baylor have not yet offered and told Sturges they want him to get on campus first.

“I think they could be close to offering, but we’ll see what falls into place,” Sturges said.

Struges said he wants to make a decision before his senior season, but he’s not locked into it.

“If it doesn’t feel right, I won’t do it,” he said. “That’d be ideal for me, but it just depends on how I feel.”

Struges is Scout’s 29th-ranked running back in the 2018 class and fourth-ranked in Texas. He ran for 1,138 yards and 14 touchdowns on 160 carries (7.1 ypc) in his first year at Allen. He played his freshman and sophomore years at Katy (Texas) Seven Lakes High School, the same school where current SMU running back Braeden West once played. 

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