Jimmy Phillips (TWITTER)

The Hilltop Review 6/9

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

2018 LB Talks SMU Commitment

By: Phil Mayer

2018 Mesquite (Texas) Poteet linebacker Jimmy Phillips Jr. committed to SMU last Friday, and his family played a large role in the decision. 

“My family fell in love with the program,” Phillips said.


The Phillips family was most intrigued by the academics that SMU has to offer, and Phillips himself places a large value on academics at a university.

“I want to make sure I graduate college,” Phillips said. “And use that to be successful when I’m on my own, outside of college.” 

Phillips plans on majoring in business at SMU.

Phillips has loved getting to know the coaching staff at SMU. He has forged relationships with coaches Justin Stepp, Archie McDaniel, Van Malone and Chad Morris. Phillips is especially fond of Morris, because he reminds Phillips of a familiar figure.

“Coach Morris is like my head coach in high school,” he said. “It feels like I’ve known him forever. He has good character and I like him.”

Morris and Phillips recently talked about Phillips’ commitment, and Morris compared a college football commitment to a marriage, which Phillips liked.

At 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds, Phillips has played safety in high school. However, the coaching staff sees him at the star linebacker position, a hybrid linebacker/safety spot. Phillips is happy to play either at SMU.

“Anywhere he puts me, I won’t complain,” Phillips said. “I’m just excited about the whole thing.”

“They tell me that I can play in different formations; in different coverage zones.”

Phillips chose SMU over offers from Air Force, Navy, Texas State and some FCS schools. He says that no schools have been in contact with him since he committed. When asked if he would oblige schools that would potentially recruit him later, Phillips answered with a single word.


2018 DL has a great visit to SMU

By: Billy Embody

2018 Cypress Woods defensive lineman Christian Jones took his first trip to SMU this week and came away very impressed with what the coaching staff told and showed him.

“They said that I'm a very important piece to class of 2018 and how I have so much potential,” Jones told Scout. “The coaches and business school were amazing.”

Defensive line coach Buddy Wyatt has impressed Jones during the time he's been recruiting the 6-5, 255-pound lineman.

"I like coach Wyatt. He's honest about everything and that goes a long way,” Jones said. “From what he told me it sounds great!”

SMU sees Jones at strong side defensive end, where he can use his combination of size and speed.

“They said I'd contribute to the team but didn't say I'd start off the bat. That's something I have to earn,” Jones said. “To tell you the truth, I look up to Justin Lawler and to see what he's done in that system is motivation. I'm still learning the technique but I feel comfortable there.”

Houston and Yale are among the schools coming after Jones the hardest. Rice, Texas State and Tulsa are among the schools that have already offered as well. Jones will be back on the Hilltop for the July 21 cookout for recruits.

Jones told Scout he's close to a decision and it could come at anytime.

2018 DT talks SMU offer, recruitment

By: Phil Mayer

2018 James (Texas) Taylor defensive tackle Otito Ogbonnia received an offer from SMU while on the phone with coach Buddy Wyatt on May 30. He was thrilled to hear the news.

“It was good news to me,” Ogbonnia said. “I was expecting it eventually. He really liked my film and how I’d improved so much. It was just really exciting.”


Ogbonnia had been in close contact with Wyatt for some time, and Wyatt was impressed with how much Ogbonnia had improved from last season. 

“He had seen me at spring,” Ogbonnia said. “He really liked it there, and he talked about how I got a lot better, especially from the film. It was a night and day type of thing.”

In addition to his technical improvements, Ogbonnia has gotten bigger than he was last season. He now stands at 6’4” and weighs 285, about a 20 pound jump from last year.

Ogbonnia says he has enjoyed getting to know Wyatt during his recruitment. 

“I think he’s a great coach,” Ogbonnia said. “I think he has a lot to offer and I have a lot to learn from him.”

Ogbonnia is intrigued by SMU, partially because of the playing time he could get there.

“It’s somewhere I could go where I’d be able to get a lot better,” he said. “And potentially start my freshman year.”

Wyatt loves Ogbonnia’s potential fit in SMU’s defense. He could see him playing either as a three technique defensive tackle or a nose tackle. 

“He told me he could see me playing one of those positions,” Ogbonnia said of Wyatt. “He said that I’m explosive with quick steps and I’m able to rush the quarterback. I’d be able to dominate with strength, explosiveness and bull rushes.”

Ogbonnia has offers from Ole Miss, Texas State, Texas Tech and Colorado State as well as SMU. Texas has not offered him yet, but the staff has been showing interest in him. He has visited Texas and TCU, and plans on going to Ole Miss and SMU in July.

Ogbonnia is not yet close to making a commitment decision. 

“I’m still trying to take my visits and take it all in, to narrow it down a little bit more. I’m not completely sure yet,” he said. 

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