Can Red Bull, GIFs and 'Old country boy' coach save SMU football recruiting?

Feature story about SMU Head Football Coach Chad Morris and his recruiting efforts in the run-up to national signing day on Feb. 3.

By Bill Nichols
Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK -- On his quest to put SMU back on the map in Texas high school recruiting, Chad Morris basically followed the map.

He's logged the miles of a trucker on the back roads and peered through clouds on board the TempoCopter searching for future Mustangs.

In keeping his eyes on the road and his hands on the wheel, Morris has rarely veered across state lines, charting a dramatically different course than his predecessor and repairing burned bridges along the way.

A native of Edgewood, he attended SMU games as a kid, so his rebuilding plan was based on first-hand knowledge. He banked on relationships he built over 16 years coaching Texas high schools, including consecutive state titles at Lake Travis, to execute the strategy.

June Jones led the Mustangs to a school-record four straight bowls, but his rapport with Texas high school coaches, particularly in Dallas-Fort Worth, eroded over the years.

Morris, who recruited Texas as one of the nation's top offensive coordinators at Clemson, has been all Texas all the time.

"He's just an old country boy," Cedar Hill coach Joey McGuire said. "First time he came here, he sat down and talked to everybody in the office. He's just got that easy-going attitude, and he's easy to get along with. I know this -- my kids love him."

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