The updated version of the 2021 Fabulous 55 will be published Wednesday as the high school football season — hopefully — inches closer to fruition after an uncharted offseason thanks to COVID-19 restrictions. Five new names are set to appear on our list, including a Texas pledge and an Austin-area safety.
The state is headlined by Tommy Brockermeyer and Donovan Jackson, a pair of five-star offensive linemen. Brockermeyer is pledged to Alabama, while Jackson is committed to Ohio State. The state’s third-best player is five-star athlete Ja’Tavion Sanders, who is committed to Texas.
The new prospects who’ll make our list:
Garrett Nussmeier, QB, Flower Mound Marcus
FYI: 6-1, 182; four stars; No. 8-ranked pro-style quarterback
Top schools: Committed to LSU
— Garrett Nussmeier (@Garrettnuss13) July 29, 2020
Nussmeier became a hot commodity in the spring as colleges across the country began jockeying for quarterbacks. Texas offered despite holding a pledge from Katy Tompkins’ Jalen Milroe, but it was LSU that won Nussmeier’s pledge on May 4. He’s the 107th-ranked overall prospect in the country, per 247Sports’ composite ratings. He picked LSU over 29 other offers.
Nussmeier earned District 6-6A overall MVP honors as a junior, leading Marcus to an 11-2 record. He threw for 3,788 yards and 38 touchdowns to only 10 interceptions. Nussmeier possesses a strong, accurate arm. He’s also a strong decision maker at his position. His dad, Doug, is the quarterbacks coach for the Dallas Cowboys.
Andrew Mukuba, S, Austin LBJ
FYI: 6-0, 185; four stars; No. 12-ranked safety
Top schools: Texas, Clemson, Oklahoma, Alabama
One of the nation’s most coveted safeties lives in Austin. Mukuba, along with Oklahoma commit and fellow Fab 55 member Latrell McCutchin, help LBJ form the best defensive back duo in the state. Mukuba wasn’t as highly rated as McCutchin despite a strong junior year in 2019, which McCutchin missed with an injury. That allowed Mukuba to take hold of the team and contribute on both sides of the ball. Mukuba now owns 35 offers.
The four-star is ranked in the top 250 nationally after earning District 12-5A Division I offensive newcomer of the year honors as a junior for his work at wide receiver. Mukuba also earned all-district honors as a safety. He’ll likely play defensive back in college, and he possesses an offer from three of the four teams from last season’s College Football Playoff. Texas is currently the favorite.
Kaidon Salter, QB, Cedar Hill
FYI: 6-1, 185; four stars; No. 8-ranked dual-threat quarterback
Top schools: Committed to Tennessee
Salter is an athletic quarterback who continues to improve as a passer at Cedar Hill, one of the state’s premier programs. The two-year starter passed for 2,550 yards and 28 touchdowns to just six interceptions as a junior, adding 616 rushing yards and another 10 touchdowns on the ground. He played his sophomore season at Dallas Bishop Lynch. He was District 7-6A’s MVP as a junior in his first year at Cedar Hill, helping the Longhorns to a 9-3 record and a trip to the playoffs. Salter also competes in the 300-meters and as a jumper for his track team. He picked Tennessee over 25 other offers on May 10.
Elijah Arroyo, TE, Frisco Independence
FYI: 6-4, 210; four stars; No. 9-ranked tight end
Top schools: Committed to Miami
Arroyo is a national top 250 prospect who picked Miami over 23 other offers, including Alabama and Texas. He was born in Florida. He was a first-team all-district selection as a junior after catching 47 passes for 648 yards and five touchdowns. He helped Independence reach the Class 5A playoffs for the first time in school history. Arroyo is arguably the best pass catching tight end prospect in the state. He’s a wide receiver with a tight end’s frame, a player who can become a real weapon for Miami if he grows into his frame and becomes an adequate in-line blocker. Tight ends are increasingly harder to find in recruiting as more prep programs eliminate the position in favor of an extra wide receiver.
Morice Blackwell, OLB, Arlington Bowie
FYI: 6-1, 196; four stars; No. 21-ranked outside linebacker
Top schools: Committed to Texas
Texas beat out Alabama and Georgia for the talented outside linebacker. Blackwell is a tackling machine. He was District 4-6A’s defensive sophomore of the year in 2018 and its overall MVP as a junior. He picked Texas on May 10. Blackwell recorded 240 tackles combined over the past two seasons, adding six forced fumbles and three interceptions. He’s among the most productive defensive players in the state. He’s the only linebacker currently pledged to the Longhorns.