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South-Central Spotlight: Top uncommitted 2021 prospects

Camar Wheaton
Camar Wheaton (Rivals.com)

Last week, Ketron Jackson, a four-star wide receiver out of Dallas, committed to Arkansas. That left 11 uncommitted South-Central prospects in the 2021 class. Today, we take a look at which teams are trending for those prospects, which includes a quartet of five-stars, and what we can expect from their senior years.

MORE: Top 5 uncommitted prospects in Midwest | Southeast | East Coast | West

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The latest: The nation’s No. 5-ranked prospect has been able to slowly trim his list of contenders down despite an unorthodox offseason. Smith had privately hoped to give a commitment before his senior season, but that plan folded with the extension of the NCAA dead period. Smith has taken unofficial visits to Georgia and LSU in the past month, and is still strongly considering Miami and Alabama. Odds are that Smith winds up playing college football in the SEC and intends to reveal his decision during the Early Signing Period before enrolling at a college in January.

Senior season status: Louisiana is on track to begin its regular season on Oct. 9 and play a reduced eight-game schedule before dipping into the playoffs in December.

Prediction: LSU

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The latest: The nation’s top-ranked running back has been able to continue to maintain a level of mystery when it comes to his recruitment. However, Wheaton recently narrowed the field to Oklahoma, Alabama and LSU, with the Sooners emerging as the favorite in the aftermath of a visit to Norman for the Sooner Summit, a function headed by five-star quarterback Caleb Williams. Wheaton is a candidate to commit as early as September, but it is certainly possible that he will continue to weigh his options into the fall.

Senior season status: Wheaton’s first football action will come on Sept. 24 as Lakeview Centennial scrimmages Arlington Bowie. The regular season begins a week later — on Oct. 2 — in a contest versus Irving MacArthur.

Prediction: Oklahoma

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The latest: Foster sliced his list of suitors to five entering the spring. Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Oregon, Texas and LSU comprise the final five for the elite offensive lineman, who made consecutive trips up to Norman before the NCAA dead period set in. Foster has made a ton of visits to both Oklahoma and Texas A&M, which are at the top of the pecking order. He visited Oregon and LSU last summer and is holding out hope to return to both schools. Foster is also very familiar with Texas and his teammate and close friend, Hayden Conner, will be a big factor in his eventual decision.

Senior season status: Foster and Katy Taylor will kick things off on Sept. 24 against Cypress Springs.

Prediction: Oklahoma

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The latest: Adeleye provided some fireworks in April when he pledged to Ohio State over Florida, Alabama, Oklahoma and Texas A&M. Ohio State appeared to be a great fit, one the five-star defensive end had considered for months in advance. But Adeleye backed off that commitment last month. Florida, Texas A&M and Alabama are emerging as the favorites for Adeleye. His last visit was to The Swamp and he has family in the state. Alabama recently secured a commitment from Jalen Milroe, a teammate of Adeleye’s. Texas A&M offered Adeleye before he played a varsity down, and he has a strong bond with defensive line coach Terry Price.

Senior season status: After spending the spring at IMG Academy, Adeleye returned back home to Houston, but he has opted out of his senior season at Katy Tompkins. He will finish classes online.

Prediction: Alabama

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The latest: Ryan whittled his list of options to LSU, Alabama, Clemson, Florida State and Baylor, and he's hopeful to give a commitment sometime before his senior season kicks off at Lafayette Christian Academy. Ryan was on hand in Baton Rouge for the Tiger Turnout last weekend and was able to visit Alabama on March 9 before the dead period. Ryan has spent the offseason taking virtual tours of schools, but LSU and Alabama have emerged as the two favorites for the four-star defensive back. His uncle, Trevor, played for LSU, and his cousin, Kevin, is the running backs coach.

Senior season status: Lafayette Christian Academy opens the season Oct. 9 vs. defending class 5A state champion Acadiana.

Prediction: LSU

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The latest: Johnson is down to Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma and LSU after eliminating Georgia and Auburn as possible landing spots. The Rivals100 running back was hopeful to visit Athens and Auburn, but the NCAA dead period has opened the door for more regional programs that have hosted Johnson recently. Johnson was born in Franklin, La., and his father played for LSU. Texas and Texas A&M have both trended for the four-star prospect from Cy-Fair at different points in his recruitment, though the Longhorns have surfaced as the favorite as the fall arrives.

Senior season status: Johnson and Cy-Fair kick off the season on Sept. 25 vs. Cypress Ranch.

Prediction: Texas

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The latest: Byrd has maintained that Texas, SMU, Oklahoma and LSU were recruiting him hardest, dating back to the start of his junior year. The hometown Mustangs began to gain a ton of steam and perhaps established themselves as the favorites over the offseason, thanks to the proximity to home and a close bond with assistant coach Rashaad Samples.

However, recent unofficial trips to Oklahoma for the Sooner Summit and LSU for the Tiger Turnout have certainly given Byrd more to consider entering his senior campaign. There is no timetable for a decision, but SMU certainly faces lofty competition for the Rivals100 offensive tackle.

Senior season status: Duncanville opens the regular season against Fort Worth Nolan Catholic on Sept. 25.

Prediction: LSU

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The latest: Thomas, who often keeps things close to the vest, is down to LSU, Alabama, Georgia and Texas A&M. A decision was expected as early as this summer and at one point was expected to be revealed prior to Thomas’ senior year at Walker High. Those close to Thomas indicated that he was still hopeful to make visits to Athens and College Station. Thomas has gone back-and-forth from Alabama to LSU from the time he was a freshman, and he was on LSU’s campus as recently as the spring. While he did not attend the Tiger Turnout, Thomas has grown close with fellow Rivals100 wideout Chris Hilton, another Baton Rouge-area prospect who has committed to LSU.

Senior season status: Louisiana is on track to begin its regular season on Oct. 9 and play a reduced eight-game schedule before dipping into the playoffs in December.

Prediction: LSU

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The latest: Turner is down to Texas, Alabama, LSU, Georgia and Texas A&M. The Rivals250 defensive end was able to visit Alabama at the beginning of the spring and has taken multiple trips to Austin in the past, including on his own dime this off-season. It’s difficult to rule out the Aggies, especially given his close relationship with defensive ends coach Terry Price. Because of the dead period, it’s hard to see LSU or Georgia getting a fair shot with Turner. This could boil down to a head-to-head battle between Tom Herman and Nick Saban, and both coaches are in a strong position to land the coveted defensive lineman.

Senior season status: DeSoto will open the fall with a scrimmage against local Class 6A power Southlake Carroll on Sept. 24. The regular season gets underway on Oct. 2 vs. Converse Judson.

Prediction: Texas

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The latest: Pazon enjoyed an eventful few weeks at the top of the spring as he made visits to Florida, Florida State, Oklahoma and USC. He’s been to LSU and Alabama in the past and was slated to also make it to Georgia. Florida State was able to get the Rivals250 speedster on campus twice, and his relationship with area recruiter David Johnson and head coach Mike Norvell have the Seminoles as the team to beat. Pazon has kept quiet this offseason and other schools continue to push behind the scenes. A decision should come this fall, or by December at the latest.

Senior season status: Louisiana is on track to begin its regular season on Oct. 9 and play a reduced eight-game schedule before dipping into the playoffs in December.

Prediction: Florida State

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The latest: Valdez named Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Nebraska, Purdue, Arizona State and Utah as finalists in July. Previously, the Rivals250 all-purpose back was hopeful to have a decision in place before he kicked off his senior season at Rockdale High. Valdez has strong relationships in place at Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, which are the favorites to land the four-star speedster. Nebraska is making a dent in the Lone Star State again in 2021, and Utah is still in the mix.

Senior season status: Rockdale opened the 2020 season against La Grange on Aug. 28.

Prediction: Texas Tech

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