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Three-Point Stance: Trends, programs impressing, must-gets

National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell’s Three-Point Stance is here with a look at some key trends, a ranking of five programs doing the best in recruiting right now and a list of 10 recruiting must-gets.

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Damon Payne
Damon Payne (

There are some very interesting things occurring during this 2021 recruiting cycle that could change the landscape of conferences and perhaps college football overall. Here are five big things that I’m seeing.

Miami is killing it in South Florida — Have we seen this before? Here and there. Back in the day under Randy Shannon, it was thought Miami was back in South Florida and under Mark Richt the 'Canes did really well one year, but I haven’t seen anything close to this level in awhile. The commitment of James Williams has really helped Miami turn the corner and Leonard Taylor and others should follow. Around 85 percent of the Hurricanes' class is from South Florida and Manny Diaz is killing it.

Alabama is as strong as ever — Thanks Captain Obvious, right? No, I mean really as strong as ever. After a slow start, the Crimson Tide's 2021 class is now ranked fifth in the Team Recruiting Rankings. The month of July has been ridiculous for Alabama with seven commits: freaky hybrid Dallas Turner; athlete Kadarius Calloway who was an easy flip from Mississippi State; massive linebacker Kendrick Blackshire; James and Tommy Brockermeyer who spurned Texas despite their family's deep ties to the Longhorns; offensive lineman Terrence Ferguson who chose the Tide over the in-state Georgia Bulldogs; and defensive tackle Damon Payne who was coveted by everyone.

The Ducks might as well be located in California Oregon is doing an outstanding job recruiting Southern California and the surrounding area. You’d never know the Ducks played in a stadium 900 miles and 14 hours away from Los Angeles. Oregon has four pledges from SoCal and it's having success in Arizona, Utah and Nevada as well. Mario Cristobal can recruit nationally but let’s not forget that the West Coast is at least 75 percent of his recruiting focus.

The Buckeyes are setting the standard Ohio State is on track to sign the best class ever for a northern program. The Buckeyes continue to impress and dominate big-time programs in recruiting. The latest example is stealing Jordan Hancock away from Clemson and adding to the No. 1 class in the country. Ohio State has beaten Alabama, Clemson, LSU, Florida, Michigan, Notre Dame and others for elite recruits this year and Ryan Day's program doesn't appear to be slowing down.

USC is back — Last year the Trojans finished 65th in the Team Recruiting Rankings with only 13 commitments and an average star ranking of 3.08. I could probably recruit better than that, no joke. But things have changed thanks to the staff's ties to Texas and the addition of Donte Williams. The Trojans are winning battles they trailed in (e.g. Prophet Brown) and winning battles in Texas for prospects like Quay Davis and Brandon Campbell. Despite Oregon’s success and having to go head-to-head with programs that recruit Texas, things are going very well for Clay Helton.


Mack Brown
Mack Brown (AP Images)

We expect programs like Alabama, Ohio State and even USC to recruit well. They are major powers with great recruiting territories. But what about other programs that are recruiting well right now? Here’s my list.

1. Miami — The Hurricanes are rolling and certainly keeping prospects close to home during this pandemic. Can they hold onto them if visits are allowed during the season? That will be interesting but, for now, Miami is doing the best job.

2. North CarolinaMack Brown has dominated in-state recruiting and has been keeping prospects local. He did a great job of getting many of them on campus before the pandemic shut everything down and the Tar Heels are reaping the benefits. Let’s keep in mind there are in-state targets such as Evan Pryor, who are committed to out-of-state programs (Ohio State in this case) without having been able to take a visit.

3. Tennessee — At one point in the spring Jeremy Pruitt was the best shutdown recruiter in the nation. Pulling prospects like Dylan Brooks and Terrence Lewis out-of-state was huge.

4. Oregon — The Ducks are more successful on the field than Miami, North Carolina and Tennessee, at least under Cristobal, but remember that this was a program that national prospects often flirted with rarely pulled the trigger. That’s not happening now.

5. Oklahoma Mario Williams commits without visiting. Caleb Williams commits after initially being second-choice to Brock Vandagriff. No one scrambles better than Lincoln Riley and few land on their feet better.


Corey Collier
Corey Collier (Nick Lucero/

Elliot Donald, the nephew of NFL great and former Pitt star Aaron Donald, was a must-get for the Panthers. They had to land him and they did. Here are some more must-gets in the 2021 class.

S Corey Collier, Florida — Collier is an elite talent from South Florida who hasn’t been leaning to Miami or been swayed much by the local recruiting of the Hurricanes. He’s still a Gators lean and Florida needs this win.

RB Donovan Edwards, Michigan — It’s a loaded year in the state of Michigan. I could have gone with Rocco Spindler here, but an elite running back in the state is more rare these days and the Wolverines need skill position stars.

TE Thomas Fidone, Nebraska — Fidone might as well be a home-state prospect as he’s so close to Lincoln as a border recruit in Iowa. He’s become a huge name around the country and is a prospect that Husker fans want badly. His commitment would be a shot in the arm to Scott Frost and company.

WR Antonio Harmon, Ole MissLane Kiffin is struggling a bit in recruiting, so he needs to keep this big and talented receiver at home. The Rebels have the edge now and can’t lose it.

LB Yanni Karlaftis, Purdue — His brother George is already a star at Purdue and four-stars don’t roll into the program all that often. This is another legacy must.

OL Drew Kendall, Boston College — A legacy, Kendall is a must for the Eagles as they try to keep programs out of New England. Michigan likely leads but for an academic-minded prospect to leave the state after his father starred at BC, that would hurt.

DB Ga’Quincy McKinstry, Auburn — The top prospect in the state of Alabama rarely picks Auburn but the two-sport star appears torn between the Tigers and Alabama so a win here is a must.

OL Nolan Rucci, Penn State — Rucci was thought to be a lock for this Penn State class early and the program needs offensive linemen, but now the Penn State legacy is strongly considering Wisconsin. Penn State needs to lock him down.

DT Leonard Taylor, Miami — The momentum must keep rolling for Miami and Taylor was once a strong Gators lean. Keeping him home would continue to show recruits that Miami is the place to stay for South Florida prospects.

DE J.T. Tuimoloa, Washington — The talented defensive lineman is a rare five-star in the state. The Huskies need to keep him home and have a good shot at it.