The original plan for Mesquite Poteet safety Nate Gaines was to wait until the fall before thinking about committing to a program. As recent as Monday afternoon, Gaines received new offers from Louisiana-Monroe and Colorado State. It was clear that his recruitment was on a roll, and then things changed drastically.
"I was e-mailing Coach Mason at SMU and he asked me when I was going to make a decision," said Gaines, Monday night. "I sat down and talked to my mom and dad about the schools that had offered me and which would be the best school for me. Right now it'd be SMU. I told Coach Mason today that I was ready to verbally commit."
The local two-star prospect totaled 10 offers before pulling the trigger in the Mustangs' favor. After examining his choices, it was clear to Gaines and his family that SMU had the right vibe.
"Out of all the schools that had offered me, academically, they blow any school out of the water. They have a great up and coming football program. I feel comfortable being around the coaches. The last thing is that it's close to home. I want to stay close to home where I can see my family and they can come out to the games. That's why it's the best decision for me."
The 6-foot-3, 180-pounder played on both sides of the ball as a junior, tallying 51 catches for 918 yards and 8 touchdowns as a wide receiver and 48 tackles with 9 interceptions on defense. SMU defensive coordinator Tom Mason has been in close communication with Gaines and told him that they would utilize his skills at free safety.
"Coach Mason is an awesome guy. He's very straight forward. That's the kind of coach I want to be around. He doesn't sugar coat anything and makes me better. Anything he says needs to be said. I feel comfortable talking to him."
Over the last several months, Gaines has been on the Hilltop multiple times. Remembering the feeling of walking around campus made the 2014 product even more comfortable about his decision.
"The history of the school is magnificent. I know that President Obama was up there and talking to all the kids. It's a good atmosphere. I like being at SMU. It feels like home to me. I think I made the best decision for myself. It's such a good deal. Not everyone gets to commit to a DI school."
As a multi-sport athlete, the football, basketball and track star can now concentrate on his academics and high school teams.
"I'm just going to sit back and enjoy football and enjoy the process. I feel like if any other schools come by, I made the best decision possible and I really like what I just did because I really like SMU.