Arnold likes the "balance" at SMU

Jay Arnold

Rockwall-Heath defensive end Jay Arnold currently holds four offers and plans to take a couple junior day visits in the coming weeks. Though he doesn't have it scheduled yet, Arnold hopes to make SMU's junior day next month.

All things recruitment are going pretty well for Jay Arnold.

The 6-foot-4, 235-pound defensive end out of Rockwall-Heath holds four offers from the likes of SMU, Tulsa, Baylor and Northwestern, and has some junior day visits scheduled for the upcoming weeks.

Arnold, who says he's also been talking to Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Texas A&M, is going to the Red Raiders' junior day this weekend, and to Ole Miss' the next.

He was going to attend OU's, but had a wrestling tournament that coincided.

Arnold is hoping to make SMU's on March 24 as well.

"I'd like to make it out there," he said.

Arnold, who is being recruited by defensive coordinator Tom Mason, said the Mustangs have been following him since the start of his junior year last August. After the initial contact, he took in the SMU-UTEP game.

"I think [coach Mason] is a great guy," Arnold said. "He's really honest and I just think I have a pretty good relationship with him."

Though Rockwall is just on the outskirts of Dallas, Arnold wouldn't object to going to school so close to home.

"Honestly, location isn't going to play that big of a factor [in my decision]," he said. "I'm going to end up being where I feel most comfortable at and where I'd like to spend my college years at."

And SMU could be the place.

"I think it's definitely a program on the rise," he said. "Going to the Big East is huge. Having a chance to be in an automatic qualifying conference for the BCS is a really big deal and I think getting some bigger players in there will help.

"I really like the balance at SMU, especially now as a Big East School, between the academics and athletic programs."

With the offers he currently holds, plus the ones he may receive in the near future, Arnold says that being a part of a program that already has a place in the national spotlight would be nice, but being a part of a team that's more on the up and up is appealing as well.

"When it comes down to it, I wouldn't mind being on either side of that," Arnold said. "It would be an honor to play for a program that's already built up a tradition, but I think it would also be exciting to be a part of building a tradition for a school."

When choosing a college, there are a couple factors Arnold will take into serious consideration.

"I want to go to a place where my degree will mean something," he said. "But also it's a big deal to me to have a good student body presence at the game, tradition in the program and also just the campus life in general."

In addition to football, Arnold is a wrestler. He got involved with MMA fighting in the eighth grade and joined his high school's wrestling team in ninth grade. He feels it definitely helps with football.

"It helps a lot with hand techniques and definitely with conditioning," he said. "Wrestling conditioning is just in a completely different league compared to football. It's not just cardio, you're conditioning your whole body and it draws up a lot of endurance."

Arnold believes wrestling has helped him define his greatest strengths on the field, which are his speed off the ball and his ability to get to the ball.

Arnold wants to take all of his official visits this fall and predicts he'll commit to a school closer to signing day.


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