ORLANDO — Four-star offensive tackle Savion Byrd is among Texas’ top targets in the 2021 cycle. The Duncanville product is a high-upside athlete who spent the New Year’s holiday in Orlando participating in the Under Armour Future 50 Camp. It was a return to the offensive line for Byrd, who spent his junior year playing defensive tackle for the Class 6A Division I state finalists.
Byrd views himself as a college offensive tackle and plans to move back to his natural position at left tackle as a senior.
“People see me as an athletic big man, and I’m a team player, so we needed a defensive lineman,” Byrd explained. “I stepped up because that is who I am as a player. I wanted to help the team.”
Tackle is where he started as a sophomore, blocking for Texas signee Ja’Quinden Jackson. The two are close, and Byrd is honest about the impact his former quarterback has on his own recruitment.
“Ja’Quinden is a big part,” he said. “He took me on a visit down there after he committed and I feel like if I went there we could continue what we’re doing at Duncanville.”
Byrd maintained that he’ll take all five of his official visits before he picks a school. There is no timetable for his decision. The 6-5, 265-pound prospect mentioned LSU, Oklahoma, Texas and SMU as schools that are beginning to separate from the pack.
“They’re constantly calling and checking on me. I want a good relationship with the coaches,” Byrd said. “I want to be a coach after my career is over, so I want to be around people I can learn from. Relationships will play as much of a factor as anything in my recruitment.”
The 2021 class is a great year in the state for offensive line talent. The Longhorns hold a commitment from one four-star prospect in Katy Taylor tackle Hayden Conner. Texas hopes to add five-star Tommy Brockermeyer, a Texas legacy from Fort Worth, and Byrd, who is considered a national top-100 recruit with incredible upside because of his rare combination of size and athleticism.
Texas hopes the combination of Jackson and offensive line coach Herb Hand can reel in the talented big man.
“I met coach Hand on an early morning before school last year, and he was the first recruiter to really sit down and talk to me,” Byrd said. “Most coaches stick to football, but coach Hand had a whole conversation with me about who I was as a person. That’s exactly what I’m looking for.”
Another Dallas-Fort Worth product the Longhorns hope to secure for 2021 is Aledo receiver JoJo Earle. The four-star slot was also in Orlando for the Future 50 Camp two weeks removed from winning a Class 5A Division II state championship. He did so with a separated shoulder in the final four games.
Earle wants to narrow his list to 10 schools this spring. He listed LSU, TCU, USC, Ohio State and Texas as programs likely to make the first round of cuts. Aledo is the same school that produced running back Johnathan Gray. The two are close.
“I’ve known him since I was little. His dad and my dad coached together in Pee-Wee football,” Earle said. “His advice to me is important because he’s been at this level and went through this process before.”
The criteria for Earle is simple.
“I’m looking at how each offense uses the slot receivers,” he said.