football Edit

Breaking down top DTs still available in 2021 class

Tywone Malone
Tywone Malone (

College programs still in search of help in the middle of their defensive lines in their 2021 recruiting hauls have a handful of notable tackles to court leading up to National Signing Day on Feb. 3.

The nation's top four defensive tackles signed their National Letters of Intent during the early signing window and the same goes for 20 of the nation's best 21 at the position. Those who didn't sign include undecided prospects like Tywone Malone, Savion Collins and Victory Vaka.

Here's a look at the handful of defensive tackles on deck to sign in February.


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The nation's No. 5-ranked defensive tackle remains uncommitted and unsigned as the calendar flips into 2021. Malone is the highest-ranked interior defensive line to not sign in December, which means there will a handful of suitors waiting for the New Jersey talent come February.

Tennessee, Florida State, Ole Miss and Texas A&M have jumped to the forefront for Malone, who at point was also a top target for programs like Ohio State. Malone is optimistic he'll be able to make his way to a few campuses on his own before making up his mind on Feb. 3.


Benny selected the in-state Spartans over Michigan, Kentucky and Penn State back in November in one of the biggest commitments in the Midwest leading into the December signing period.

Benny was a colossal victory on the recruiting trail for first-year Michigan State coach Mel Tucker, yet the nation's No. 14-ranked offensive tackle -- that can also play on defense -- did not sign with the Spartans earlier this month. There's an expectation in East Lansing, Mich., that Benny does put the pen to paper in a matter of weeks, but not signing always opens the door for some unpredictability.



Collins was an early member of Manny Diaz's 2021 recruiting class with the Hurricanes, but pressed the reset button on his recruitment in December, putting a pin in a two-plus-year pledge for the hometown defensive lineman. He first committed when Mark Richt was the head coach of Miami.

Collins elected not to sign anywhere in December. At one point in his recruitment, he made a string of visits to Florida, but momentum certainly waned on that storyline. Now, it opens the door for new programs to swoop in late. Collins also holds offers from Nebraska, Florida State, Alabama, LSU, Kentucky, Oregon, Tennessee and Penn State.


Texas A&M has been a force on the recruiting trail ever since Jimbo Fisher landed in College Station. That not only applied to recruiting the home state of Texas, but nationally as well.

In May, the Aggies landed a big fish out of California in Vaka, who picked Texas A&M over Michigan, Oregon, Florida and Florida State. However, Vaka backed off that commitment after Thanksgiving, which opened the door for Texas A&M to sign to some more highly regarded defensive linemen from in-state.

Vaka, who was supposed to enroll early, remains unsigned. After naming a final six of Florida State, Michigan, Colorado, BYU, Vanderbilt and Penn State on Dec. 18, he committed to Colorado on Christmas Day.



Sanders is one of the top tackles that is still unsigned entering the second signing day in February. Sanders, a longtime Gamecocks pledge from in-state at Marion (S.C.) High School, entered wait-and-see mode before backing off his commitment and is still familiarizing himself with the new faces heading to Columbia, S.C.

Shortly after landing the job at South Carolina, new coach Shane Beamer touched base with Sanders, a longtime commitment. A defensive coordinator hire looms large for the Gamecocks' chances of signing Sanders. Other regional programs such as NC State, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech and West Virginia are also in play if Sanders doesn't stick with South Carolina.