The 2021 Fabulous 55 is headlined by big men. The next recruiting cycle is loaded with talented offensive and defensive linemen.
The top five spots of the American-Statesman’s initial list of the state’s top recruits are occupied by players who project to play on the offensive line or defensive end, including our No. 1-ranked player, Houston Bellaire Episcopal offensive lineman Donovan Jackson.
The 6-4, 308-pound junior is the No. 1-ranked guard in the 2021 class and is already committed to Ohio State. His family is from Ohio.
“Ohio State was the right fit academically and athletically,” Jackson said. “I have strong ties to Ohio. My decision was a dream come true.”
Bellaire Episcopal is a private school in the heart of a state that glorifies public school football. Jackson thinks there are positives and negatives to playing outside of the stereotypical Friday night lights.
“One of the positives is that our playoffs aren’t as deep, and that means less damage on our bodies than a guy at a 6A school,” he said. “We still get recruited as those guys at the big programs. The negatives include how scouts and analysts perceive private school ball.”
Jackson put those perceptions to rest at the 2019 Opening Finals in Frisco. As a junior, he earned offensive line MVP honors despite being mixed in with the top 2020 senior offensive line prospects in the country. It was a confidence booster. And a statement.
“Going against the top guys in the nation and winning most of the reps only proved to me what other coaches saw in me,” he explained. “I am extremely grateful for the experience and hope to accomplish the same thing this year.”
Jackson is admired among his peers. He’s among a foursome of highly-rated linemen based in the Houston area. The group includes Jackson, Bryce Foster, Reuben Fatheree II and UT commit Hayden Conner. Each one made the Fabulous 55, and each knows Jackson is among the best in the country.
“He is such a hard worker and an amazing guy,” said Foster, who checks in at No. 5. “He has amazing feet as well.”
Tommy Brockermeyer, a five-star lineman from Fort Worth All Saints Episcopal, is another TAPPS player ready to shuck the perception of a private school player. Brockermeyer is a 6-6, 283-pound tackle with offers from every major program in America, including Texas, where his dad Blake starred. His older brother Luke is already a linebacker with the Longhorns. Brockermeyer missed his junior season with a shoulder injury.
Texas commit Ja’Tavion Sanders ranks third on the Fab 55. The Denton Ryan prospects starts at wide receiver and defensive end for the Class 5A powerhouse, but defensive end is his expected college position. Same with Landon Jackson, who secured the fourth spot on the list after a dominant junior season that ended with Texarkana Pleasant Grove claiming its second title in his three-year varsity career.
Foster, an interior lineman from Katy Taylor, takes the fifth spot.
Texas commits litter the first Fab 55. Sanders is the top-rated pledge at No. 3 followed by No. 6 Billy Bowman Jr., No. 10 Jalen Milroe, No. 26 Derrick Harris Jr., No. 31 Hayden Conner and No. 48 Lake McRee. Texas’ class already consists of seven members.
RANK PLAYER POS. HIGH SCHOOL COLLEGE
1. Donovan Jackson OG Bellaire Episcopal (TAPPS) Ohio State
2. Tommy Brockermeyer OT Fort Worth All Saints Episcopal (TAPPS) Alabama
3. Ja'Tavion Sanders ATH Denton Ryan (5A) Texas
4. Landon Jackson DE Texarkana Pleasant Grove (3A) LSU
5. Bryce Foster OG Katy Taylor (6A) Uncommitted
6. Billy Bowman ATH Denton Ryan (5A) Texas
7. Savion Byrd OT Duncanville (6A) Uncommitted
8. Preston Stone QB Parish Episcopal (TAPPS) SMU
9. Shadrach Banks WR Galena Park North Shore (6A) Texas A&M
10. Jalen Milroe QB Katy Tompkins (6A) Texas
11. Marcus Burris DT Texarkana Pleasant Grove (3A) Uncommitted
12. LJ Johnson RB Cy-Fair (6A) Uncommitted
13. Cody Jackson WR Richmond Foster (5A) Oklahoma
14. Quaydarius Davis WR Dallas Skyline (6A) USC
15. Camar Wheaton RB Garland Lakeview Centennial (6A) Uncommitted
16. Latrell McCutchin CB Austin LBJ (4A) Oklahoma
17. JoJo Earle WR Aledo (5A) LSU
18. Ishmael Ibraheem CB Dallas Kimball (5A) Texas
19. Dematrius Davis QB Galena Park North Shore (6A) Auburn
20. Reuben Fatheree OT Richmond Foster (5A) Texas A&M
21. Dametrious Crownover TE Grandview (3A) Uncommitted
22. Sawyer Robertson QB Lubbock Coronado (5A) Mississippi State
23. Clayton Smith OLB Texas High (6A) Oklahoma
24. Theodore Knox WR The Woodlands (6A) Mississippi State
25. Jordon Thomas DE Port Arthur Memorial (5A) Texas
26. Derrick Harris Jr. OLB New Caney (5A) Texas
27. Kendall Blackshire ILB Duncanville (6A) Alabama
28. Ketron Jackson WR Royse City (5A) Uncommitted
29. Landyn Watson DE Hutto (5A) Uncommitted
30. Eli Stowers QB Denton Guyer (6A) Texas A&M
31. Hayden Conner OT Katy Taylor (6A) Texas
32. JD Coffey S Kennedale (4A) Texas
33. Brandon Campbell RB Lamar Consolidated (5A) USC
34. Cullen Montgomery OT Bellaire Episcopal (TAPPS) Oklahoma
35. Behren Morton QB Eastland (3A) Texas Tech
36. Hunter Washington CB Katy (6A) Florida State
37. KJ Liggins WR Denton Guyer (6A) Uncommitted
38. Shemar Turner DE DeSoto (6A) Uncommitted
39. Jaeden Roberts OG Galena Park North Shore (6A) Auburn
40. James Brockermeyer OC Fort Worth All Saints (TAPPS) Alabama
41. Cisco Catson S Weatherford (6A) Baylor
42. Bryson Green WR Allen (6A) Oklahoma State
43. Latrell Neville WR Fort Bend Hightower (6A) Nebraska
44. Kyron Drones QB Alvin Shadow Creek (6A) Baylor
45. Erick Cade OT Braswell (5A) Uncommitted
46. Deuce Harmon CB Denton Guyer (6A) Texas A&M
47. Terrence Cooks OLB Alvin Shadow Creek (6A) Uncommitted
48. Lake McRee TE Lake Travis (6A) USC
49. Cam'Ron Valdez RB Rockdale (4A) Uncommitted
50. Matthew Wykoff OT Magnolia (5A) Texas A&M
51. Jordan Jenkins RB Lindale (5A) Baylor
52. David Abiara DE Mansfield Legacy (5A) Notre Dame
53. E'maurion Banks DE Wichita Falls Rider (5A) Texas Tech
54. Shedeur Sanders QB Cedar Hill Trinity Christian (TAPPS) Florida Atlantic
55. Byron Murphy II DT DeSoto (6A) Baylor