It was Monday afternoon when Houston Bellaire wide receiver Ryheem Malone picked up an offer from SMU. Not even a week later, he decided end his recruitment and committed to the Mustangs.
So what pushed him over the edge?
"Really, I just felt like it was the place for me. I did my research on the school, and talked to people around the program, and SMU is coming up," Malone said. "So I called Coach (Jason) Phillips, and we talked about everything for about 20 minutes. We actually hung up then I called him back and told him I was committing. He was so happy."
Before their phone conversation, Phillips stopped by Houston Bellaire a few days ago and made an in-school visit with Malone. The two sat in an office and talked for close to two hours about SMU's rise and the direction of the program.
Other schools such as Houston, New Mexico and Oregon State also stopped by to speak with Malone, but he said Phillips truly left a lasting impression.
"The way he talked to me was just different from the other coaches. He talked the longest out of everybody," Malone said. "We talked about a lot of things, and he just seems like a really cool guy and someone I want to play for."
Malone, who originally committed to Texas State in September, has not yet visited SMU but will be making his official on January 31, along with a slew of other prospects from the Houston-area including fellow commits Darius Durall and Darrell Colbert.
Both Colbert and Durall helped push Malone towards SMU throughout the week and now, the two-star prospect is looking forward to heading to the Hilltop with them.
"They were happy for me. Darius was actually with Coach Phillips when it happened because he was visiting him at school, and he was excited," Malone said. "Darius is already talking to me about being roommates and helping the program come up. I just want to get down there and make sure it feels like home."
At 5-foot-9, 175-pounds, Malone has experience playing both wide receiver and running back. This past season, he was named first-team all-district at wide receiver and was also the 20-5A special teams MVP.
On the Hilltop, Malone will likely be used as a slot receiver and in the return game.
"I feel like I can be like Tavon Austin for SMU," Malone said. "I can bring leadership and just play a big role at different positions. I want to create a strong bond with the coaches and the players and make sure our goal is to just win."
Houston Bellaire WR Ryheem Malone talks about his new SMU offer inside…