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Three-Point Stance: Defensive breakouts, in-state recruiting, musings

National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell’s Three-Point Stance is here with some breakout defenders you may not have heard of, programs struggling to keep in-state talent in the 2021 class and some random college football and recruiting musings.


PODCAST: Talking LSU, Georgia, Texas A&M and Ohio State recruiting

CLASS OF 2021 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

CLASS OF 2022 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

COVERAGE: Rivals Transfer Tracker | Rivals Camp Series




Jamin Davis
Jamin Davis (AP Images)

Yesterday I looked at 10 breakout offensive players you may not have heard much about and today it’s time to give some love to the defenders.

1. LB Jamin Davis, Kentucky — Davis is a tackling machine for Kentucky and is also excellent in pass defense. He is an All-SEC player.

2. DB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina — Horn was a big recruiting win out of Georgia and not only picks the ball but is one of the best at defending passes.

3. LB Nick Jackson, Virginia — Jackson makes solo tackles, can rush the passer and defend the pass. For some reason he gets zero national attention.

4. DT Tommy Togiai, Ohio State — He’s a pocket crusher and a gap shooter. Togiai has emerged as one of the best defensive tackles in the Big Ten.

5. DB Jamar Johnson, Indiana — He’s off to an amazing start this season and will double last year’s solid numbers.

6. DE Myjai Sanders, Cincinnati — Want to know one of the big reasons the Bearcats are in the national top 10? Sanders is elite at rushing the passer.

7. DB Trevon Flowers, Tennessee — He is an absolutely elite tackler at the safety position and the heartbeat of this Vols defense.

8. DT Keenan Stewart, UTEP — A little Group of Five love here as Stewart is in the backfield often.

0. LB Zakoby McClain, Auburn — He’s already surpassed last year's numbers. McClain is a sure tackler and can disrupt the passing game.

10. DB Chris Brown, Texas — For a defense that gives up points Brown is always around the ball and makes some key plays.


Jim Harbaugh
Jim Harbaugh (AP Images)

Keeping players in state is crucial for many power programs and with offensive lineman Rayshaun Benny expected to pick Michigan State over Michigan this week, he’s staying in-state but could be yet another state of Michigan standout to get away from Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines. Here are five programs struggling with in-state recruiting this year, led the maize and blue.

1. Michigan — This one surprises me quite a bit because we all knew how loaded the state of Michigan was in 2021 and Harbaugh hasn’t capitalized. Donovan Edwards is still out there, but losing Damon Payne, Rocco Spindler, and Garrett Dellinger doesn’t sit well and now they could lose Benny to the Spartans.

2. Penn State — Penn State has three of the top 10 prospects in the state of Michigan but only one of the top-10 in its own state. Safety Derrick Davis is a big one this weekend and he’s a toss up between Ohio State and the Nittany Lions. Penn State needs this win.

3. Florida State — This isn’t a huge surprise because Mike Norvell is new and rebuilding, but how about this stat? With the loss of Branden Jennings to Michigan, Florida State has only one player committed in the state’s top 30. The following programs have more commitments in the top 30: Florida, Alabama, Miami, Clemson and Michigan while teams like Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Georgia have just as many.

4. Texas — The Longhorns have only two commitments in the state’s top 20 which is as many as Alabama and Oklahoma and one fewer than Texas A&M.

5. Ole Miss — Things aren’t going great in-state for Lane Kiffin with the Rebels landing zero players in the top 20 of the Mississippi state rankings. Tulane has two.


Stetson Bennett
Stetson Bennett (AP Images)

And finally some random college football and college football recruiting thoughts.

Did anyone see this Georgia quarterback issue coming a few years back? What if JT Daniels didn’t transfer in? Kirby Smart went from Jacob Eason, Jake Fromm and Justin Fields in successive recruiting classes to having Stetson Bennett lead his team and it’s going to cost him a national title despite all of his recruiting titles.

Has anyone heard anything from Derek Stingley Jr.? Nope, because no one dares throw at him anymore and teams still put up easy points on the LSU defense. Should he have opted out of two seasons and just waited for the NFL Draft?

Remember when this was supposed to be the year of the running back with Travis Etinenne, Najee Harris, Chuba Hubbard and so many more? Well Kylin Hill is now done at Mississippi State and Pooka Williams opted out at Kansas and guess what? It doesn’t matter. Javian Hawkins, Khalil Herbert and others have stepped up and the big three have been excellent.

Carson Wentz stinks and Josh Allen is good, so who knows what will happen with Trey Lance from North Dakota State? He will likely be the third quarterback selected in next year's NFL Draft. I usually don’t trust the small school prospects that scouts fall in love with because I think many are trying to make themselves look smart but, after Trevor Lawrence and Fields, the 2021 quarterback draft class is an ugly group.

I can name at least five big-time 2021 recruits that I bet would have decommitted had visits been allowed. This is just a hunch, but receiver Mario Williams, linebacker Terrence Lewis, defensive backs James Williams, wide receiver Xavier Worthy and receiver Agiye Hall all strike me as guys who would have at least been very tempted on some official visits.

This is a strong QB class and it assures teams like Oklahoma, Georgia, Oregon, Washington, and USC will all be in good shape down the line but no one is in a better place at QB than Ohio State if Quinn Ewers does actually join the 2022 class. Jack Miller and CJ Stroud from 2020, Kyle McCord from 2021 and Ewers from 2022 is a ridiculous pull.