In last week’s Recruiting Recap, we took a look at new Kansas coach David Beaty’s recruiting efforts in Texas, where Beaty came up as a high school coach and then later as a receivers coach (and lead recruiter) at Texas A&M.
As noted, the market for Division I recruits in Dallas-Fort Worth alone is comparable to what Beaty and the Jayhawks have to choose from in their entire home state.
New SMU coach Chad Morris might be located in the middle of the talent pool, but like Beaty, he’s a former Texas high school coach (at Stephenville and Lake Travis, notably) tasked with rejuvenating a limping program.
When he was hired last November, Morris’ strategy was the same as Beaty’s: Recruit Texas high schools hard, and do so by establishing and maintaining relationships with his former colleagues.
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“If you don’t embrace [Texas high school coaches], or you embrace them the wrong way, they’ll kill you,” he told USA Today in January. “Career-wise, they won’t help you.”
So now a few months later, how has Morris’ plan unfolded?
According to Rivals, SMU has offered 140 players in the Class of 2016, which will be Morris’ first full recruiting cycle with the Mustangs. Of those 140 recruits, 119 are from Texas, seven are from Louisiana and a handful of others are scattered across Oklahoma (4), California (2), Florida (3), Georgia (3), Alabama (1) and Maryland (1).
Twenty-three are four-star recruits (by Rivals), while 52 are 2-stars.
Meanwhile, SMU’s early return has mirrored its offer distribution: 19 of 21 commitments are from Texas with seven from Dallas-Fort Worth. That includes Mansfield Timberview linebacker Michael Badejo, a 3-star, and Fort Worth Arlington Heights defensive end Patrick Jones, a 2-star.
Morris’ top recruit so far, especially for his pass-heavy scheme, has been quarterback David Moore, who moved to Alpharetta, Ga. from Denton Guyer last year. SMU’s other out-of-state commit is running back Dae Williams from Sapulpa, Okla.
But for all of Morris’ ties to Texas —and SMU’s location —it’s no surprise Morris has gone after Texas recruits. Eighteen of SMU’s 23 signees in February (all of whom were from Texas) committed after Morris was hired.
What’s notable about Morris’ strategy is its difference between that of June Jones, who coached SMU from 2008-2014.
Under Jones, around 62 percent (387 of 629) of SMU offers went to Texas recruits, starting with the 2009 class through the 2014 class, according to Rivals data.
Jones’ 2014 class was his most Texas-centric: 21 of 24 commits were from Texas, with eight from DFW. Jones’ 2012 class featured 14 out of 21 commits from Texas, but less than half of SMU offers went to in-state players that year.
Morris’ sample size is small —he hasn’t coached a game for the Mustangs yet — and a long list of Texas players isn’t the only thing SMU will need to be competitive again.
But consider this: Jones never offered more than 86 Texas players, and he never drew more than nine commits from DFW in one full recruiting cycle.
Morris has surpassed that first threshold easily (119 offers to Texas players), and he’s within two of the other (seven DFW commits) before August. From the start, Morris said he’d recruit Texas players, and so far, he’s done that.
Another area commit
In case you missed it, Mansfield Summit defensive back Vernon Scott committed to TCU last weekend. That pushes the number of area FBS commits to 20. Check our recruiting map below for a full look at area recruits. Committed players are highlighted in green.