Josh Reed (Photo by Billy Embody)

The Pony Stampede Hilltop Review 4/28

Come inside the Pony Stampede Hilltop Review for the latest on SMU football recruiting targets.

SMU stops in to see versatile linebacker

By: Billy Embody

2018 Houston (Tex.) Heights linebacker Joshua Reed is trimmed down and ready to go for a big senior year, garnering some attention from two staffs in particular. SMU and Texas both remain in consistent contact with the 6-2, 236-pound linebacker.

SMU defensive coordinator Van Malone stopped by Heights to check in on Reed on Wednesday. While Reed wasn't able to talk to Malone due to rules, he's kept in contact with him and also talked with Malone at SMU's recent Junior Day.

"It was great. Coach Malone is a good dude. We probably talked the whole junior day," Reed told Scout. "I love how he communicates and runs the defense. He's a cool dude it seems like. It seems like he'd be that way if I ever committed there."

SMU wants to evaluate Reed at camp, potentially viewing him as a pass rusher or a true outside linebacker.

Texas defensive coordinator Todd Orlando remains in contact with Reed too.

"He always talking and checking on me. We've been talking since he was at UH," Reed said. "He wants me to get up to camp. He's a good dude and he talks to my mother and asks her how she's doing."

While no offers have come yet, Reed is being patient with the recruiting process.

"Not yet. I'm not trying to rush it. I'm patiently waiting and worrying about the field first," Reed said. "Classroom first, then field. I just play ball."

Baylor, Texas, Texas Tech, Tulsa, Texas State and UTSA have all gotten visits from Reed, who is focused on getting better to help Heights rebound from a 4-7 season.

"Just working hard to get everybody on the same page so we don't have a season like we did last year," Reed said. "Just been working hard every day, making sure I've been in the weight room and on the field. Do everything to make myself a better player." 

2017 signee ready to get to SMU with tight-knit class

Turner Coxe (Photo by Billy Embody)

By: Patrick Engel

Turner Coxe needs not even 10 minutes to get to SMU from his house. Naturally, he’s been to campus frequently for practices and scrimmages since signing with SMU in February. The former Highland Park (Texas) defensive end’s transition to college student-athlete won’t be much of a transition in terms of familiarity with his new home. To boot, he’s a two-generation SMU legacy.

One of his recent stops was for SMU’s April 8 spring game. Just as he saw from SMU’s other spring practices, the competitiveness passion on the field jumped out to him.

“The atmosphere out here is awesome,” Coxe said. “The culture here is great. I’m really happy to be a part of it.”

He notices it from the coaches as well, who he has mostly known off the field during his recruitment. Now, he has seen them coaching and engaging with players on the field. 

“It’s obvious they love what they do,” Coxe said. “They care about you as a player and a person. They’re just trying to develop you and make you better.”

Though Coxe was a late target and addition to SMU’s 2017 class, he has already formed a relationship with the rest of the incoming freshmen. Most of the group took their official visit on the same weekend. A handful of the signees, such as offensive tackle Alan Ali, have been regulars at spring practices too. Some others, including Toby Ndukwe, Justin Guy-Robinson, Harrison Loveless, Matthew Huhn, Judah Bell and Austin Upshaw, joined Coxe at the spring game.

“Our class is awesome,” Coxe said. “On that visit, we had a great time together. Mitchell Kaufman (former high school teammate) was my host too. Hanging out with them is a really cool experience. I’m just excited to get here in the summer.”

Coxe will move in on SMU’s campus on June 4. Classes and team workouts start June 5.

SMU staff in to see Louisiana offensive line target

Princeton Pines (Billy Embody)

By: Phil Mayer

University Laboratory (La.) guard Princeton Pines was paid a visit by coach Dustin Fry this week, and the two of them discussed on the phone afterwards how Pines can fit into SMU’s offense. Pines thinks that the fit could be seamless.

“They run basically the same kind of offense that we run at U-Lab, so I feel like it would be a good transition.”

While Pines is excited to play at the next level, he knows college football will be challenging. 

“I know college is an entirely different level than high school so I’m looking forward to the challenges,” he said. 

He cited the speed of the game as what would be the biggest adjustment for him.

Pines attended the SMU spring game, and talked to coaches Dustin Fry, Chris Scott, Jr. and Joe Craddock about various topics. 

“They talked to me about the education opportunities, the type of offense they run and all that type of stuff,” he said.

Pines enjoys spending time with the coaching staff. He appreciates the honesty and helpfulness of that they display. 

“The coaches are open to the players,” he said. “They really care about the players. I feel like they really want the players to be able to be successful, not only for SMU but also later on if they choose to go to the NFL.”

He was impressed by what he saw from SMU on the field, at the spring game. 

“They have a very powerful defense,” Pines said. “I know that they have a strong defense and great receivers also. So they were very strong on both sides of the ball.”

His parents were also able to come up to SMU for the spring game, and they liked what they saw. 

“My parents loved it,” he said. “My mom liked the education and my dad loves the family feel.” 

Schools coming after him hardest are Texas Tech and Houston. They are both coming to his spring practice, along with Mississippi State.

The 6-4, 315 pound guard has offers from Houston, Memphis, Mississippi State, SMU and Texas Tech, among others. He is not leaning in any direction right now, but he thinks he will come to a decision as the year progresses.

SMU checks in on Louisiana safety target

St. James DB Shawn Preston (Photo by Billy Embody)

By: Andrew Hattersley

With spring practice in the books, SMU defensive coordinator Van Malone took a trip down to Louisiana last week to watch 2018 St James HS (La.) safety Shawn Preston Jr. for a workout last week. 

“Coach Malone came down and watched me work out a little bit, came down during my workout period,” Preston said, “We didn’t talk because we weren’t allowed to, but I think he liked what he saw in me and had good things to say to my coach.” 

The rising senior prides himself on being a leader and that was exactly what SMU’s defensive coordinator mentioned to his coach he likes a lot. 

“He liked the intensity and how I worked,” Preston said, “He liked how I was a leader, and that I was always out in front encouraging my teammates to do better.” 

Preston is also very high on SMU and is impressed with how the coaching staff seems to be pulling in the same direction. 

“They are trying to bring it to a championship level,” Preston said, “Coach Morris definitely has a plan in place for that program and each coach knows what needs to be done for that plan to go into effect.”

The 6-0, 190-pound defensive back will be at SMU this summer for the team’s cookout and hopes to learn more about the roster on his visit. 

“I actually want to know who is on the depth chart, I want to know who is there, who will be leaving, who will be there when I’m there and who’s my competition, what sort of coverage they play and all those sorts of things,” Preston said. 

Preston currently has offers from Arkansas State, Colorado State, Louisiana Tech, Louisiana Lafayette, Memphis, Middle Tennessee State, UTSA and Tulane. 

Despite gathering a lot of offers so far, the St James safety is in no hurry to make a choice and admitted he could wait until Signing Day to announce a decision. 

“I’m really just enjoying the process and not getting rattled with all these offers and whatnot,” Preston said, “Enjoying it right now and then when the time comes narrow it down to 10, then five and after that I’ll know where I’m going.”

2018 wide receiver staying in touch with SMU

Pat Ballard (Photo by Billy Embody)

By: Billy Embody

While SMU has its 2018 9-man receiver committed in Mike Woods, the staff stays in touch with Ft. Bend (Tex.) Elkins wide receiver Patrick Ballard. SMU could end up bringing Ballard in if they want to add to its depth on the outside.

"They want to use me as an aggressive catcher, deep routes and stuff like that," Ballard told Scout. "I just want to get my name out there."

The 6-3, 190-pound receiver met with receivers coach Justin Stepp, defensive coordinator Van Malone and graduate assistant Will Bryant on his recent visit to SMU.

"The visit was good. They made me feel like it's a family," Ballard said. "Coach Stepp told me the truth. He told me their was only one wide receiver spot left so he said he was going to come down in the spring and see if he should use it on me. Coach Malone tells me to call him and we text on a daily basis."

Army and Stephen F. Austin have extended offers while Ballard has also visited Auburn, North Texas and Tulane. Ballard plans a spring decision. 

Turner Coxe National Signing Day Breakdown

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