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Breaking down the four-star prospects that signed with Group of Five teams

John Walker
John Walker (

The Early Signing Period is nearing its end with most recruiting classes all but locked in until the February signing period, and four Group of Five programs signed eight four-star prospects.

Of the eight, seven were from programs that will enter the Big 12. UCF leads all Group of Five classes with four four-stars. Houston is next with two four-star signees, followed by Cincinnati and UAB with one four-star apiece.

Below is the breakdown on each.


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Kissimmee (Fla.) four-star defensive tackle John Walker plugs major gaps up defensively, and it was a big reason why Power Five programs such as Florida, Miami and Ohio State all hosted Walker for official visits.

Florida made the latest push with a December official visit, but Walker stuck with his five month-long UCF pledge and actually enrolled early enough to participate in bowl game practices with the Knights.



Another four-star defensive lineman for UCF, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Lakewood defensive end Isaiah Nixon flipped from Florida to UCF on National Signing Day to give Gus Malzhan a big in-state win.

Nixon is a big-bodied edge rusher that uses his lean frame to swim around opposing offensive linemen to attack the quarterback and backfield.

Nixon sits just two spots behind Walker in the Rivals250 at No. 187 and No. 185, respectively.


Trent Dilfer had a strong first signing day with UAB and it was headlined by Melbourne (Fla.) Palm Bay defensive end Daniel Harris, who made it official with the Blazers in a signing day commitment.

A lean prospect at 6-foot-6, 191 pounds, Harris has an athletic upside that could turn him into a star defender for UAB down the road. With some physical development, UAB could have one of the best pass rushers in the AAC upon joining the conference.

Harris also serves as the lone four-star signee for a Group of Five program that will not be heading to the Big 12.



Houston pulled a big shocker on in-state power Texas during the fall when the Cougars flipped four-star wide receiver Jonah Wilson from the Longhorns in October.

It was a tough loss for Texas, which saw Wilson as the future at the outside wide receiver spot after the Longhorns lost out on Jalen Hale to Alabama.

However, Houston was able to swoop in and show the appeal of staying closer to home while also playing in the Big 12. Those factors eventually led to Wilson making it official with the Cougars on Wednesday.



Apopka (Fla.) four-star defensive end Kaven Call committed to UCF on Christmas Day after his junior season and remained locked in through signing this week.

Call used just one official visit to UCF, and he signed without any drama heading into the week.

While Call could be seen as maxed out physically, his abilities will be able to help him see the field early in Orlando as the Knights put a ton of emphasis into defensive line recruiting this cycle.


Despite going into the month of November with a handful of four-star pledges, the departure of Luke Fickell greatly impacted the Cincinnati class to where Ellenwood (Ga.) Cedar Grove wide receiver Barry Jackson ended up being the lone four-star signee for the Bearcats after his signing day flip from Nebraska.

Jackson will be able to provide at a position of need early on for Cincinnati as they enter the Big 12 with his ability to play as an inside-receiving playmaker.



Yet another four-star signed for UCF on the defensive side of the ball, Lake Mary (Fla.) cornerback Braeden Marshall saw a late push from Auburn after an official visit this past weekend, but the athletic corner stuck with his five month-long pledge and signed with the Knights on Wednesday.

North Carolina, Pittsburgh and Wisconsin all hosted Marshall for official visits as well ahead of his commitment but lost out to Gus Malzahn.


Although Oklahoma State made a hard push for Klein (Texas) Forest four-star running back Parker Jenkins in the summer, the Houston-area product decided to stay home to play with the Cougars.

A star on the track with 10.80 100-meter and 21.86 200-meter times, Jenkins translates that elite speed onto the field as an all-purpose back that can beat you both in the running and receiving games.

Jenkins serves as yet another big offensive weapon for Dana Holgorsen and Houston as they enter the Big 12.