Rankings Storylines: Longhorns, Aggies off to hot start in Texas
The inaugural Rivals250 was unveiled for the Class of 2021 and there is plenty of Texas flavor included in the rankings. There’s a quartet of five-stars inside the top-11 of the group, including Tommy Brockermeyer, who opens as the No. 1 offensive tackle in the country and the top player from the Lone Star State.
As we gear up for the season, Regional Recruiting Analyst Sam Spiegelman examines some of the biggest storylines, trends and observations surrounding the enormously talented group of players inside Texas for 2021 and what he’s looking forward to.
RIVALS RANKINGS WEEK FOR 2021 CLASS:
Thursday/Friday: Position rankings revealed
Saturday: Team rankings revealed
HOT START FOR HORNS
Tom Herman’s team found its stride this summer as it began to add quality reinforcements to its 2020 class and landed some major foundational pieces to next year’s group as well. Quaydarius Davis, Billy Bowman Jr. and Jalen Milroe highlight the Rivals100 commitments for Texas, while Hayden Conner and Derrick Harris Jr. are notable pledges from the Rivals250.
There’s certainly a long way to go before Signing Day in 2021, but there are clear paths for the Longhorns to continue their in-state tear. Five-star offensive tackle Tommy Brockermeyer is a Texas legacy and Savion Byrd, another five-star tackle, has distinct ties to Austins. The other two five-stars atop the state rankings are running back Camar Wheaton, who has been a steady visitor to Austin, and Bryce Foster, who’s teammates with Conner and is feeling the heat to team up in The Forty Acres.
Elsewhere, Herman and his staff have done early work getting into good spots with notable ranked prospects such as Ja’Tavion Sanders, Tunmise Adeleye, JD Coffey, Landon Jackson, LJ Johnson Jr. and Latrell Neville, among several others. It’s certainly possible to see the Horns land multiple in-state five-stars before it’s all said and done.
FOUNDATION IN PLACE FOR AGGIES
It should come as no surprise that like Texas, the Aggies have hit on a few of their top junior targets early on. That includes Rivals100 wideout Shadrach Banks Jr. and their quarterback of the future, Eli Stowers, who is sitting just outside the Rivals100 but will certainly have a chance to crack it with a big fall.
Of course, this is Jimbo Fisher’s program and that means the best is yet to come. Bryce Foster is a Texas A&M legacy, which gives A&M the early edge with the nation’s best guard — yes, someone who’s affectionately nicknamed “The Mountain.” Elsewhere, the Aggies have also positioned themselves well with a bevy of in-state targets such as Donovan Jackson, Jaedeon Roberts, Marcus Burris and Reueben Fatheree.
If nothing, it makes for some intriguing in-state battles between Texas and Texas A&M for some of the best in America.
LONG LIST OF IN-STATE QBS AND THEY COULD BE LEAVING THE STATE
Two of Texas’ top signal-callers have given early commitments to the in-state powerhouses. That, of course, is Jalen Milroe, who has surfaced as the face of the Horns’ 2021 class as the quarterback and the lead recruiter of the group. There’s also Eli Stowers, an early Texas A&M pledge that the staff fell in love with after watching him sling it at camp this summer.
There’s still plenty of dominoes that need to fall, though. That includes the state’s top passer, Preston Stone, as well ranked quarterbacks Garrett Nussmeier and Dematrius Davis Jr. and intriguing three-stars Sawyer Robertson, Behren Morton and Shedeur Sanders. With spots in Austin and Aggieland already reserved, signs point to a lot of this Texas talent heading out-of-state.
Texas was a quiet leader for Stone for some time, but Milroe’s commitment opens up the door for USC or Alabama, or perhaps a local program like SMU to steal to a potential five-star talent. Nussmeier camped all across the Southeast and even into the Midwest. Davis has been closely linked to LSU, Florida State and Nebraska, but Texas A&M continues to recruit the state champion.
ROOM FOR RANKING SHIFTS?
A quick glance at the talent inside Texas this cycle shows that the state is very heavy at quarterback, offensive tackle, wide receiver and defensive linemen. Naturally, that influx of talent makes for intriguing rankings debates at multiple positions.
Stone debuted as the state’s top passer and plays in an offense where he’s in line to produce incredible numbers, but there’s a case for Milroe, Nussmeier, Stowers and Davis to all make a charge for that spot. Brockermeyer is the No. 1 tackle in the land with sophomore film that leaves little doubt about the ranking, but an injury will sideline the five-star this fall. Could fellow five-star Byrd or Jackson make a convincing enough case to close the gap on Brockermeyer?
Banks replaced Davis as the state’s top wideout, but this is going to be a wildly competitive battle to the finish line. Neville is another Rivals100 talent that changed teams and could star in a high-octane offense this fall. Oklahoma pledge Cody Jackson has shades of CeeDee Lamb in his game and will have a chance to play the same role in the same Foster High offense. Another name to watch is Ketron Jackson, who made the Rivals250 cut and should be in store for a breakout campaign at Lancaster this season.
PLENTY OF POLARIZING PROSPECTS
There are five-stars and four-stars, and then there’s always a few prospects that you gravitate toward because they’re so versatile, a little bit hard to size up but the potential is real. There’s a few in Texas’ 2021 crop for sure.
Dametrious Crownover added a fourth star and cracked the back end of the Rivals250 and it’ll hard to fully evaluate the talented Grandview athlete until he settles on a position. He’s a basketball player and that natural athleticism, vertical ability and strong hands usually translates well to the tight end position. Several programs are also after Crownover at defensive end, where he’s a bit raw but there’s a lot to like about his ability to chase down quarterbacks.
Shemar Turner is another four-star inside the Rivals250 who has yet to reach his full potential, but he flashes a lot of promising signs that he could be a havoc-causing defensive end or outside linebacker off the edge. Turner turned in a big camp season and plays all over the front seven for a loaded DeSoto squad. He’s in store for a big junior campaign if he can put everything together on the field.
Marcus Burris is a tight end, a defensive end and a defensive tackle. Whatever position you put him in, expect to be impressed. He’s listed as a tackle on Rivals because, ultimately, that’s where I expect him to fit in. All of the athleticism he flashes catching passes could come into play down the road when we’re evaluating him against the other top-flight tackles in the country.
And then there’s Reuben Fatheree, a 6-foot-8, near-300-pound mammoth who is one of the most intriguing offensive tackles in the class. He’s also a star on the hardwood and played both right guard and left tackle a season ago. Fatheree has impressed this offseason and is coming into his own as a pass-blocking tackle.