2021 College Football Recruiting News





By Corey Long - @CoreyLong
Updated Aug. 10, 2020.

Follow @walterfootball for updates.

Aug. 10 Update

DB Corey Collier (Miami, FL); scheduled commitment date: August 10
Collier is one of the last remaining top prospects from Miami Palmetto High School not to make a decision. Last week, his teammate Leonard Taylor, the No. 2-ranked defensive tackle in the nation, chose the Miami Hurricanes over the Florida Gators. And in a surprise, another of Collier's teammates, cornerback Jason Marshall, the No. 4-ranked cornerback in the nation, chose the Gators over Miami and Alabama on Sunday.

Collier, the No. 2-ranked safety in the nation, has a final group of Miami, Florida and LSU. Florida had been the favorite for a long time, but when Taylor and another Palmetto teammate, Brashard Smith, committed to Miami, it seemed like the Hurricanes might've moved out front. Collier also has a great relationship with LSU defensive backs coach Corey Raymond.

Marshall's commitment to Florida is huge news because, by all accounts, Alabama had moved past the Gators as the team to beat. Collier wouldn't surprise me with any of the three schools, but I think he and Marshall want to play together in college and they will accomplish that goal in Gainesville.

Prediction:
Florida



Aug. 6 Updates

DT Leonard Taylor (Miami, FL); scheduled commitment date: August 6
One of the big recruiting dominoes in the nation will fall when Taylor (6-4, 265) announces his decision on his 18th birthday. Taylor, the second-ranked defensive tackle in the nation, will choose between Miami and Florida. He has entertained all three of the Power Five programs in Florida at one point.

Around this time last year, Taylor was just coming off of participating at the invite-only Seminole Showcase and was thought to be leaning to Florida State. After Willie Taggart was fired, the Seminoles lost ground and stopped recruiting him after new coach Mike Norvell was hired. For much of the first half of 2020, it appeared that the Florida Gators was the heavy lean for Taylor and several of his highly rated teammates at Miami Palmetto High School.

But over the past month, Miami has been trending for Taylor following the commitment of the nation's top-rated outside linebacker, James Williams, and Taylor's teammate Brashard Smith. Taylor's other teammate defensive tackle Savion Collins is also committed to Miami. The Hurricanes are inching toward to a top-five class, and Taylor expected commitment will move them closer.

Prediction:
Miami

OL Rocco Spindler (Clarkston, MI); scheduled commitment date: August 8
Spindler, the fourth-ranked interior offensive lineman in the nation, is at the center of a regional recruiting battle between Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and Notre Dame. While all four programs are still in the hunt, it appears that Michigan and Notre Dame have been the two programs that have trended the most.

Spindler hasn't given too many hints about his preference at this point, and opinions seem split between the Wolverines and the Fighting Irish. Michigan already has four offensive linemen verbally committedm and Spindler would be the centerpiece of the team's offensive line class. Notre Dame has three offensive linemen committed and would surely enjoy closing out its offensive line class with a pledge from Spindler. This recruitment is going to go down to the wire, and in this case, I think the home-state school will win out.

Prediction:
Michigan

July 24 Updates

DT Damon Payne (Belleville, MI); scheduled announcement date: July 26
Payne (6-3, 300) is the No. 3-rated defensive tackle in the nation. Despite his location in the heart of Big Ten country, Payne's final group is Arizona State, Kentucky, Alabama and USC. Michigan State has also been mentioned, but it appears as if the Spartans have faded. Payne is a two-way player and could easily have been a top-end prospect at offensive guard. He had a monster season as a junior with 22 tackles for loss and eight sacks. He's been a target for these programs for the better part of two years.

While the coronavirus pandemic has put a halt on globetrotting from campus to campus, Payne is pretty familiar with his suitors by this point. Alabama has been penciled in as Payne's favorite for a while, and it's easy to see why. The Crimson Tide have consistently developed strong interior defensive linemen who eventually become high draft picks. Alabama has been an absolute recruiting tear since the middle of July. Payne will be the next member of the Crimson Tide's class, a class that is likely headed for the No. 1 spot.

Prediction:
Alabama



DT Payton Page (Greensboro, NC); scheduled announcement date: July 28
Page (6-4, 350) is a big nose guard and space eater. He's the No. 7-rated defensive tackle in the nation and probably the best interior guy for a team that runs three-man fronts. He has Tennessee, Clemson and North Carolina as his finalists. This a great recruiting battle because I can see arguments for all three teams, and I believe each one thinks they have a shot at Page.

Clemson has been the leader for the defensive tackle for a year, and the general expectation is that Page will choose the Tigers. North Carolina has been so strong with in-state prospects that it's hard to see the Tar Heels completely out of the picture. Tennessee is also not going to give in despite Clemson being the favorite. This recruitment could be one to monitor over the weekend. But I'm making my pick now.

Prediction:
Clemson



July 16 Update

OT Tommy Brockermeyer and OT James Brockermeyer (Fort Worth, TX); scheduled announcement dates: July 17
The Brockermeyer brothers, Tommy and James, will make their announcements Friday afternoon. Both brothers have a top four of Auburn, Texas, LSU and Alabama. The Brockermeyer family is a legacy at the University of Texas. Their father, Blake Brockermeyer, was an offensive tackle at Texas in the early '90s and a first-round draft pick for the Carolina Panthers in 1995. Their older brother Luke Brockermeyer is currently a linebacker at Texas.



Tommy is the top-rated offensive tackle in the nation, and James is the No. 5-rated interior lineman in the nation. This is basically a two-team race between Texas and Alabama. Texas seemed to be the favorite in this recruiting battle for a while, but history shows that Texas tries to get its top in-state targets committed very early in the recruiting process, at least 12 months before the early signing period. That didn't happen with the Brockermeyer brothers, and the longer their recruitment has gone, the more competitive Alabama has become.

I'm predicting these two as a package deal, and I'd be surprised if they went separate ways. It's possible I suppose, but I'd be surprised. If you asked me three months ago, I would have said I'd be surprised if the Brockermeyer brothers ended up anywhere but Texas to continue the family traditions. That was three months ago. Now, they will be part of an Alabama class that is trending upward in a big way.

Prediction:
Alabama



July 2 Updates

CB Jamier Johnson (Pasadena, CA); scheduled announcement date: July 3
Johnson (6-0, 172) is the 19th-rated cornerback in the nation, and he has a final grouping with Ohio State, Oregon, Colorado, Texas, Michigan, and Arizona State in it. With final groups like this, it can be easy to dwindle them down depending on the schools that are listed. Ohio State was waiting on Tony Grimes' announcement, and it's hard to tell if the Buckeyes need to take another cornerback or if they were just willing to take a player like Grimes. Oregon seems to be out after taking the commitment of Jaylin Davis on June 19, and he's the third cornerback in the Ducks' class. That leaves Texas as the front runner. Johnson still has to take visits, so a commitment Friday isn't going to be solid until he can get on campus and possibly take other visits. For now, however, Texas is the safe choice.

Prediction:
Texas



QB Caleb Williams (Washington, DC); scheduled announcement date: July 4
Williams (6-2, 210) is the second-ranked quarterback in the nation. He has Oklahoma, LSU and Maryland in his final group. The Tigers seem to have bowed out of this competition several weeks ago when they took the commitment of top-20 quarterback Garrett Nussmeier. Maryland is still looking for an arm in this class, and expect Mike Locksley to do whatever it takes to get Williams on campus and around the program beyond Saturday's announcement.

Williams is the type of prospect who could change the fortunes of the Terrapins. And then there's Oklahoma. When top-ranked quarterback Brock Vandagriff backed away from his commitment to the Sooners, there was an opening, and the Sooners staff immediately targeted Williams. In recruiting, you follow the success, and no one has been more successful with quarterbacks in the 2000s than the Oklahoma Sooners. Williams' choice seems pretty simple.

Prediction:
Oklahoma

WR J. Michael Sturdivant (Flower Mound, TX); scheduled announcement date: July 4
Sturdivant (6-2, 185) is just outside of the top-25 wide receivers ranking, and he has Oklahoma, UCLA, LSU and California in his final grouping. Oklahoma appears to be on the outside looking in with this recruitment, as the Sooners have limited spots available and likely have some higher wide receivers on the board who they hope to come in with if top quarterback Caleb Williams verbally commits to them. California has identified Sturdivant as one of its top targets, if not the top target for the program's recruiting class. LSU and UCLA have come to the party later in Sturdivant's recruitment. LSU being in on any receiver should always give pause because the Tigers have a great tradition with wide receivers. But the Bears seems in the right position to land Sturdivant and give their class a major boost.

Prediction:
California

July 1 Update

DE/LB Dallas Turner (Fort Lauderdale, FL); scheduled announcement date: July 1
Turner (6-4, 235) is arguably the top prospect on the nationally ranked St. Thomas Aquinas program in the current recruiting cycle and is currently the 12th-ranked outside linebacker in the 2021 recruiting cycle. Georgia, Michigan, Florida and Alabama are in the final group for Turner, with Oklahoma presumably dropping out of the race in recent weeks. Turner spent his junior season at American Heritage School in Plantation, Florida and has added muscle and mass for his senior year, likely moving his position projection from outside linebacker to defensive end on the pre-fall evaluations. He has seemingly narrowed this to an Alabama-Georgia battle and had already visited Alabama for a Junior Day event before the current coronavirus pandemic eliminated on-campus visits and activity. He has not visited Georgia yet and would not have the opportunity until after the recently extended dead period ends, if it ends this year. We all know Alabama is going to go on a surge in recruiting, and Turner looks like a good start to that.

Prediction:
Alabama

LB Naquan Brown (Virginia Beach, VA); scheduled announcement date: July 1
Brown (6-3, 205) is the 11th-ranked outside linebacker in the nation, and he has a final group of Pittsburgh, Miami, LSU, Tennessee, Penn State and Virginia Tech. LSU seems to be the favorite on the board, but Brown hasn't been on campus yet and I'm a little shaky about making predictions on a player committing so far away to a place he's never visited. Brown's recruitment is a bit of a question mark to me, but I'm narrowing my focus to LSU, Miami and Penn State for him.

LSU and Miami have recruited linebackers pretty well in this class. If Brown wants to make the transition to defensive end, LSU might not be the place because the program recruits bigger players for the position. Penn State is looking for a true outside linebacker in the class, and Brown also visited the Penn State campus. LSU would be the easy pick here, but I feel like Brown is going to pull a bit of a surprise and take his talents to South Beach.

Prediction:
Miami

June 30 Updates

CB Tony Grimes (Virginia Beach, VA); scheduled announcement date: June 30
Grimes, the top-rated cornerback in the nation, moved up his commitment date several weeks, making the decision that he had seen everything he needed to see and will choose between a group of Ohio State, Georgia, Texas A&M and North Carolina.

For a long time, it felt like Ohio State had an advantage, albeit slight, over the rest of the pack. The Buckeyes already have one of the best defensive classes in the nation, led by top cornerback Jakalin Johnson, the No. 2 rated cornerback in the nation. They have room to take another cornerback in their class and have left the spot open for Grimes.

Georgia was trending for Grimes in the early spring weeks, right as the COVID-19 pandemic began to shut things down across the country. Texas A&M appears to be more of a long shot, while North Carolina, however, has gone from dark horse to favorite over the past month. The Tar Heels, under Mack Brown, have been a recruiting buzzsaw this year and have landed nearly all their top in-state targets. That recruiting strategy has given the staff flexibility to take on some big targets who could potentially raise the level of the program. Grimes is that kind of player. If the Tar Heels can get the nod Tuesday, he would be the best defensive back prospect the school has had since another Mack Brown recruit - Dre Bly.

Prediction:
North Carolina

May 27 Updates

Though its a strange spring, two programs earn "A" grades
This has been as strange of a recruiting season as I've seen. Prospects are committing as a rate roughly 200% higher than normal numbers at this time. The lack of spring practice and camps have given coaches more time to watch actual game film to make evaluations. The prospects are also being much more aggressive with verbal commitments instead of choosing to wait until football "opens up" again.

That has left us with two classes that I would currently grade out as "A" grades - Ohio State and Tennessee.

Ohio State Buckeyes (17 commitments)
It feels like Ohio State is very close to another championship. The Buckeyes were close in 2019, closer than they have been since they won the first College Football Playoff title in 2014. Ohio State landed a top-10 class last year but lacked a game changer at running back. There is no such issue with the program's 2020 class as this group is stacked from top to bottom.

Ohio State has a roster full of talent led by potential Heisman favorite and future top-10 draft pick Justin Fields, but there might be a small drop-off in 2020 after losing running back J.K. Dobbins and defensive stalwarts Chase Young and Jeff Okudah. I expect the Big Ten to be tougher in 2020 too, as Penn State and Iowa are on the schedule. The Buckeyes might have a huge showdown with Oregon in Eugene at the beginning of the season if the conferences decide to hold non-conference games. Second-year head coach Ryan Day is quickly proving himself to be elite recruiter.

Key Prospects: DE Jack Sawyer; OL Donovan Jackson; QB Kyle McCord; RB TreVeyon Henderson; WR Marvin Harrison Jr.

Chances of Retaining "A" Grade: High. The Buckeyes don't face a lot of de-commitments, so this class should remain intact. If Ohio State can successfully recruit top defensive line target J.R. Tuimoloau, the No. 1 ranking might be a wrap.

Tennessee Volunteers (24 commitments)
Tennessee has really been able to take advantage of the CoVID-19 situation more than any other program. The Volunteers have nearly a full class, with 24 verbally committed prospects, and we aren't out of May yet. Head coach Jeremy Pruitt has always been a dynamic recruiter, and his defensive coordinator stints at Alabama, Georgia and Florida State have yielded national championships for the Crimson Tide and the Seminoles.

Tennessee had an AWFUL start to the 2019 season, with embarrassing losses at home to Georgia State and BYU and blowout losses to Florid and Georgia. But the Volunteers rebounded to win six straight and finish 8-5 after a Gator Bowl win over Indiana. Georgia and Florida are still at the top of the SEC East, but Pruitt is determined to make it a three-way race. If he can keep this class together, the gap will close sooner than later.

Key Prospects: DE Dylan Brooks; DT KaTron Evans; LB Terrence Lewis; RB Cody Brown; QB Kaidon Salter

Chances of Retaining "A" Grade: A little less than 50-50. I could see some de-commitments in the Volunteers' future. I don't think Alabama or Auburn will let Brooks leave the state without a fight. Lewis is also a prospect I'd watch as the summer and fall go on. The Volunteers need to continue to show improvements on the field, especially against Florida and Georgia.

The Next Five

Clemson: The Tigers are sitting on a very high, extremely high "A-minus". They did have an "A" class before the surprising de-commitment of top defensive prospect Korey Foreman. It was a rare de-commitment for Clemson, but Dabo Swinney and his staff has plenty of time to make it up.

LSU: There is lots of quality in the Tigers' class, and overall, it looks like a lock for a top-10 class. Right now, LSU needs that one major game-changing prospect to commit for it to be closer to an "A" class.

USC: Even with Clay Helton on shaky ground, the Trojans have made a strong play to lock down many of the top prospects in California. Foreman is the big fish USC must land to flip its class from very good to elite.

North Carolina: The Tarheels staff led by Mack Brown has executed the game plan of winning most of the recruiting battles for the top prospects in North Carolina. The program probably can't get to an "A" grade without a couple more major top-end commitments, but it's a top-10 class for certain.

Texas: Tom Herman has a long way to go with the 2021 recruiting class, but so far so good. The Longhorns staff is starting to pick up the pace too, with four targets verbally committing in May.

Waiting in the wings

Alabama: Everyone knows Alabama is going to have a top-five recruiting class, as there's no other way to do it under Nick Saban. Right now, the Crimson Tide have just five players with verbal commitments, but among them are arguably the two wide receiver prospects in Florida. By the end of the summer, Alabama will have made a surge and will probably be in the mix with USC, Clemson, Ohio State and Tennessee.

April 30 Updates

2020 NFL Draft shows power of good recruiting
The 2020 NFL Draft is behind us, and it was a nice 3-day break for those of us craving the light at the end of this pandemic tunnel called sports. I could gripe about this or that, but I really appreciated the 15 hours of draft time.

The big takeaway from the 2020 NFL Draft was that the top-three picks - quarterback Joe Burow, pass rusher Chase Young and defensive back Jeff Okudah - were all recruited to Ohio State under former head coach Urban Meyer. Although Burrow transferred out of Ohio State after a couple of years to go to LSU, this is another example of Meyer's amazing ability to recruit top-level talent. There are always a lot of red flags surrounding Meyer, but no one should ever question his ability to evaluate talent and hire coaches who can evaluate talent.

Lay off of Scott Frost
After Burrow was drafted, ESPN NFL pundit Trey Wingo made it a point to throw some shade at Scott Frost, who didn't accept Burrow's attempt to transfer to Nebraska. He believed that Burrow wasn't better than his young quarterback prospect Adrian Martinez. Everyone seemed to get a laugh at Frost's expense, but hindsight is 20/20 because if you look back at Heisman predictions going into the 2019 season, you'll see that Martinez was top-five Heisman favorite according to Las Vegas odds. He was tied with Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields and Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts at +600. They were behind Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (+300) and Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence (+250).

You know who wasn't in the Top-20 Heisman favorites? Joe Burrow. He opened at +20000. He went into the 2019 season as an afterthought and a potential low-round NFL draft pick who was likely to be an undrafted free agent. Then LSU revamped its offense and brought in wunderkind Joe Brady to call the plays. It worked and Burrow had one of the great seasons in college football history. Scott Frost couldn't have seen it coming, and to be honest, it probably wouldn't have happened at Nebraska. The Cornhuskers didn't have the skilled personnel or the offensive line that LSU had in 2019. Sometimes things happen that no one can predict. That's the beauty of life.

The Power was in the Power 5
Power 5 conferences (SEC, Big Ten, ACC, Pac-12, Big XII) made up 191 of the 255 choices in the 2020 NFL Draft. That's 74.9 percent. At first, I thought the coronavirus pandemic hurt the non-Power 5 conferences a bit. Many programs were not able to hold their respective pro days, and the scheduled HBCU combine in Miami was canceled. For those reasons, I believed the non-Power 5 conferences and the FCS programs were at a bigger disadvantage than normal. Then I looked at last year's numbers and the Power 5 conferences made up 191 of 254 draft choices. Going back to 2018, the Power 5s made up 181 out of 255 draft picks.

If there was a conference among the Power 5 group that needs to pick up the slack, it's the ACC. That conference had 45 draft picks in 2018 and dropped to 28 in 2019 and 27 in 2020. The Clemson Tigers continue to pump out NFL prospects on their rosters, but other programs like Florida State and Miami have been slacking recently. The good news is a program like North Carolina is in a position to pick up that slack over the next couple of years if Mack Brown's highly-rated classes produce on the field.

March 24 Updates

COVID-19 Changes Everything
As things currently stand, the NCAA has a dead period on high school or junior college student-athletes visiting member schools until April 15. The likelihood of that moratorium being extended is high, and I wouldn't be surprised if it goes through May or June.

It's definitely changed the way this recruiting cycle is going to end up, and some will benefit from this change in the calendar. So here's a quick breakdown of where the recruiting cycle is and where it might be headed.

Which programs have benefitted from the change in schedule: Programs with new, but established head coaches who have already done a lot of legwork on the 2021 class. North Carolina is heading toward a top-10-15 class because Mack Brown was pointing toward the 2021 crop of in-state prospects when he took the job. Many of the Tar Heels' 11 commitments have been recruited by the staff for over a year and visited campus several times last season. That familiarity has worked in North Carolina's favor with its targets who wanted to commit before the summer.

Another program that's making the best of this situation is Rutgers. Greg Schiano has deep relationships with the high school coaches in New Jersey. He has worked hard to get the top prospects in the state to consider the Scarlet Knights. When he took the job for a second time in December, he had already spoken to plenty of coaches in the state and compiled a list of major targets in 2021. Where the NCAA moratorium has really worked in Rutgers' favor is that a lot of the prospects in New Jersey hadn't made the rounds to other programs to be evaluated by those staffs.

Which programs have suffered from the change in schedule: Blue blood programs with new coaches. Florida State is the first that comes to mind because it's not considered a great recruiting staff to begin with and so much of Mike Norvell's recruiting sales pitch was going to be bringing in targets to watch the Seminoles' spring practices and spring game to experience the new direction of the program. Without the ability to have those practices and have recruiting targets attending those practices, Florida State is a bit of a question mark, especially considering the programs that the school is trying to recruit against.

The same situation goes for Michigan State and Mel Tucker. The Spartans' recruiting has taken a hit over the past couple of seasons, and part of the reason Tucker has the job is because the Michigan State decision-makers believe he can get the school back on the minds of the top prospects around Ohio and Michigan. It's tough to do that without having the campus open for spring. Add in that Tucker has solid ties in Georgia as well and now can't get those prospects from the southeast to Michigan until the summer, and it's an uphill battle.

Can the NCAA make adjustments? If so, what would you suggest? : I would consider two things right up front. I would eliminate the early signing period for one year. I think the early signing period is a great thing, but for one year, I would just have the traditional National Signing Day in February. Prospects who qualify for early enrollment will still be able to enroll in January, but eliminating the early signing period will add two extra months for classes to come together, two extra months for prospects to take official visits and two extra months for coaching changes to take place.

The other change I would look into is allowing an earlier start to training camp. Maybe move it up to July 15. The NCAA allows 29 practices before the start of the first game. The elimination of two-a-days means that most programs won't get more than 20 before that first game, so there's no need to add more practices to the schedule. But moving the date up a couple of weeks will make up for some of the lost time in the spring and allow schools to work in some recruiting events around official practices before the high school season begins.

Quick Update on the 2020 Class
The big name who is still undecided is blue-chip running back Zachary Evans. In case you need a refresher, the Houston-area prospect originally signed a letter of intent with Georgia but had second thoughts and asked to be released from his letter. The Bulldogs obliged about a week later, leaving Evans a free agent once again. As the February signing day approached, Evans' options began to run out as LSU and Georgia signed other running backs and Texas A&M appeared to pull away from his recruitment. Florida, Ole Miss and Tennessee, however, are still active in his recruitment.

Evans took official visits to Ole Miss and Tennessee in January and had planned on taking one to Florida in mid-March. However, the spread of COVID-19 put his visit plans on hold. The NCAA's suspended recruiting calendar is until April 15th, but it could be extended. If the ban on campus visitors is extended through the remainder of the spring semester, like expected, it will likely just come down to Evans enrolling in the program of his choice during the summer.

The other prospect who we're still following is wide receiver Leonard Manuel. The recruit out of Ocala, Florida, has been verbally committed to the Florida Gators but did not want to sign his letter of intent until April 1. He was expected to take an official visit to Florida last weekend, but campus visits are suspended until April 15. The moratorium extended to a letter of intent, meaning Manuel couldn't sign on April 1 if he wanted to. When the suspension is lifted, the 2020 calendar is expected to be extended 30 days. Manuel is expected to choose between Florida and Ole Miss.

Feb. 19 Updates

Fast Starts in 2021

Recruiting for the 2021 class is in full effect despite the fact we are 10 months away from the 2021 early signing period. That sounds like a long time, but believe me when I say it will be here before you know it. Here are five programs that are off to a great start. Some teams won't be a surprise, but others might.

Clemson Tigers
Shocked aren't you? Watching the graduation of Clemson from being a program that recruited top-10 classes to one that recruits top-three classes has been impressive. The Tigers staff is relentless on the recruiting trail these days and is usually in play at some level for every top player in the country.

Clemson's national reach is evident right at the top of the class, where the Tigers have verbal commitments from two blue-chip prospects out of California - defensive lineman Korey Foreman and wide receiver Beaux Collins. Foreman might be the best player in the country, and Collins is a clear-cut top-100 player in the nation. Can the Tigers keep two west coast prospects in the class? They were able to land quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei from California last year, so it's possible.

Ohio State Buckeyes
Speaking of graduating in the recruiting world, what Ryan Day and the Buckeyes staff have to do is advance from identifying the players who can win the Big Teb and find the players who can win in the playoffs. At the top of the class is blue-chip quarterback Jack Sawyer, who Buckeyes fans hope will be the next great pass-rusher to come through Columbus. The Buckeyes won't recruit at the expense of in-state prospects though. Ohio still produces a great number of prospects, and six of the 10 verbal commitments in the class are in-state players.

Once again, Ohio State is focusing a lot of resources on staying strong in the trenches. Offensive tackle Ben Christman is a blue-chip in-state prospect who could play either tackle position, while Texas prospect Donovan Jackson projects to be one of the best interior offensive linemen in the 2021 class.

North Carolina Tar Heels
One of the reasons the Tar Heels have gotten off to a good start in the 2021 recruiting class is because Mack Brown has implemented his plan of focusing on the top-end in-state recruits. North Carolina still doesn't have the numbers of the other second-tier recruiting states like Virginia, South Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, but North Carolina does have a lot of quality, especially with blue-chip and red-chip players.

All five of the Tar Heels commitments are in-state targets. Wide receiver Gavin Blackwell is a legitimate blue-chip player and a top-100 nationally player. Linebackers Power Echols and Gabe Stephens and safety Dontavius Nash are all top-20 in-state players and top-300 nationally players.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish
The Notre Dame recruiting cycle tends to be a little earlier than some other schools, so the program has already received eight verbal commitments, with most of them coming in the spring, summer and fall of 2019. Where the Fighting Irish have really made their mark in this class is with three blue-chip targets in house already with quarterback Tyler Buchner, wide receiver Deion Colzie and offensive tackle Blake Fisher. And once again, Notre Dame is flexing its national brand with Colzie and red-chip tight end commitment Cane Berrong coming from Georgia and Buchner hailing from California.

Texas Longhorns
With the Longhorns, it is still about getting in more top-end players. Tom Herman's ability to flip this roster has been sort of a hit and miss. The 2020 class, which I have ranked in the top 10, will go a long way to see where Texas ends up. If that class hits and Herman can follow with a strong recruiting group in 2021, we could see Texas competing for a playoff spot by the middle of the decade.

Not surprisingly all six commits in this class are in-state and committed to the program over the summer, so they should be very solid. Quarterback Jalen Milroe is the sort of dynamic dual-threat player at the position who could be a difference-maker, and Ja'Tavion Sanders projects to be the type of big-time defensive lineman who has evaded the program in recent years.




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